Express Yourself

Express Yourself

Jeremiah 31:4

Again I will build you, and you shall be built,
    O virgin Israel!
Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines
    and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.

Jeremiah 31:12-13

They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion,
    and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord,
over the grain, the wine, and the oil,
    and over the young of the flock and the herd;
their life shall be like a watered garden,
    and they shall languish no more.
 Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance,
    and the young men and the old shall be merry.
I will turn their mourning into joy;
    I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

This post isn’t very long.  All I want to do is site some more examples of how making and listening to music is referenced in the Bible for expressing emotions, mainly joy and celebration. Continue reading

Just A Feel Good Word

Just A Feel Good Word

Lamentations 3:34-39

To crush underfoot
all the prisoners of the earth,
to deny a man justice
in the presence of the Most High,
to subvert a man in his lawsuit,
the Lord does not approve.

Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?
Why should a living man complain,
a man, about the punishment of his sins?

When I read these verses, I am reminded of the arrogance of man and so is Jeremiah who wrote these lamentations for Israel.  I am reminded of the arrogance of people who assume that all justice is defined as they see it.  I am talking about the arrogance of  those who think that punishment is to be doled out to their own sense of revenge.  The assumption that they are the sole proprietors of making the determination of the punishment to fit the crime.  People believe they are the center of the universe and therefore the balance is of their doing and it is to be to their satisfaction.  But we are only a mere sub atomic particle in the infinity of space.

Justice is very subjective.  Continue reading

We Abandon God

We Abandon God

Lamentations 3:31-33

For the Lord will not
    cast off forever,
but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
    according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
for he does not afflict from his heart
    or grieve the children of men.

I have previously written about Lamentations, Chapter 3, verses 25 through 27.  In that post I wrote about seeking God and the consequences of your actions.  I then followed that post by writing about verses 28 through 30, which was about taking the responsibility for the consequences of your actions and then learning from those consequences.

Now today I want to write about the three verses at the beginning of this post, Lamentations, Chapter 3, verses 31 through 33. Continue reading

Bear The Yoke

Bear The Yoke

Lamentations 3:28-30

Let him sit alone in silence,
    for the Lord has laid it on him.
Let him bury his face in the dust—
    there may yet be hope.
Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,

    and let him be filled with disgrace.

This post is a follow-up to my post, Waiting For You.  In that post I wrote about verses 25 through 27 which precede the above verses.  I wrote about the long, never-ending journey of seeking the Lord, and how you find the Lord bit by bit each day.  The Lord is always there waiting for us to find God.  The post also referenced, “bearing the yoke” of consequences of your decisions, particularly your bad decisions.  It is better to suffer and learn in your youth when you have time to recover.

In these next three verses, 28 through 30, Jeremiah talks about how bearing the consequences of our actions, we must look inward, take our share of blame and learn.

Let him sit alone in silence,
    for the Lord has laid it on him.

God has given us a conscience and we know what is right and what is wrong.  We have the inherent ability to distinguish between good and evil.  Some of us just choose to ignore it, or allow our hearts to be filled with worldly desires, and ignore the yoke of the consequences.  But those who bear the yoke realized they have wronged and sinned, hurting others and themselves.

To seek righteousness and improve as human beings we must sit alone and place the blame on our shoulders, just as a yoke is placed on an oxen.

Circumstances vary and are outside of our control, but how we react, what we do, is our responsibility.  We can share with others our mistake and seek solace, but the consequences are ours to sit alone in silence and ponder.

Let him bury his face in the dust—
    there may yet be hope.

When we take on this responsibility for our actions and sins, we feel hurt and sorrow that causes us to double over on the inside.  When we let the pain of our sins sink in that deep, we then realize we must correct ourselves and take control of our actions. We must seek God in our heart, find righteousness, and try not to sin again.

We will sin again, but as we learn from the suffering of the consequences there is hope.  We will recover and learn.  We will learn how to avoid sin.  The more you live your life, the more you seek God and righteousness, the better you become at finding God and righteousness.

Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
    and let him be filled with disgrace.

Again Jeremiah is lamenting to us to take responsibility for our sins.  Do not shift the blame.  You are responsible for your actions and must learn that the only person who can bring disgrace upon you is you.  No one else can force you to sin. You control you and are responsible for you.  This is the yoke that God has placed on each of us.  Your mistakes and sin are your burden, placed there by you and only you can lift them.

Sit alone in silence, bury your face in the dust, and realize the one who strikes your cheek in disgrace is you.  Then you will begin to learn.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Waiting For You

Waiting For You

Lamentations 3:25-27

The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man that he bear
    the yoke in his youth.

The Book of Lamentations was written by the prophet Jeremiah.  He is lamenting, or mourning the destruction of Israel.

In these verses, Jeremiah talks about patience and diligence. Continue reading

Mad Over Idols

Mad Over Idols

Jeremiah 50:38

A drought against her waters,
    that they may be dried up!
For it is a land of images,
    and they are mad over idols.

If you read the verses before and after this one (35 through 40), you’ll realize that Jeremiah is prophesying about the fall of Babylon because of their oppression of Israel.  But that’s not why I wrote down this verse.  I wrote it down because of the second half of the verse and how it is still relevant today. Continue reading

Vessel Of Comfort

Vessel Of Comfort

Jeremiah 48:10-12

“Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord with slackness, and cursed is he who keeps back his sword from bloodshed.

“Moab has been at ease from his youth
    and has settled on his dregs;
he has not been emptied from vessel to vessel,
    nor has he gone into exile;
so his taste remains in him,
    and his scent is not changed.

“Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I shall send to him pourers who will pour him, and empty his vessels and break his jars in pieces.

When I first read these verses I jotted down the word, “stagnant”.  I wasn’t sure why that word came to mind, it was just my gut instinct.  So I thought I do some research about these verses and see what others had to say.  By others, I mean biblical scholars, and of all the ones I read, I most understood the commentaries of John Gill. Continue reading