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Apr 30, 2023

Scripture Reading: Lamentations 3:31-39

In Lamentations 3, Jeremiah pulls back the curtain of divine mystery slightly so we can see, at least a little, into the mind of God.  The context of this passage is Jeremiah's description of the judgment of God on Jerusalem, with all the horror that was associated with that great destruction in 586 B.C. 

It is clear, from Lamentations 3, that the invasion of Judah by the Babylonians was the result of a divine plan.  Representing the people of Jerusalem, Jeremiah describes the anguish of soul at the fall of Judah.  But in almost every verse of the first section of chapter 3, God is presented as having brought the devastation and misery.

Lamentations 3:32,33 poses an interesting and profound contrast.  Though God does "cause grief" (Lam 3:32), He does not "afflict from his heart" (Lam 3:33).  To reconcile these two statements, we must conclude that the will of God is layered.  God does, on one level, what He does not desire to do, on another level. 

We must look at the will of God in more than simply one sense.  New Testament scholar I. Howard Marshall said, "We must certainly distinguish between what God would like to see happen and what he actually does will to happen, and both of these can be spoken of as God's will."

In a narrow sense, God has no pleasure in the suffering and death of human beings (Ezek 18:32; 33:11) … but in a broader sense, God decrees suffering and death (Exod 4:11; Deut 32:39; Lam 3:37,38).  Let us learn to trust God in His wisdom and righteousness for, after all, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?" (Gen 18:25).