Lamentations 3; Lamentations 4; Lamentations 5; Hebrews 10:19-39

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Lamentations 3

1 I am a man who has suffered greatly. The LORD has used the Babylonians to punish our people.
2 He has driven me away. He has made me walk in darkness instead of light.
3 He has turned his powerful hand against me. He has done it again and again, all day long.
4 He has worn my body out. He has broken my bones.
5 He has surrounded me and attacked me. He has made me suffer bitterly. He has made things hard for me.
6 He has made me live in darkness like those who are dead and gone.
7 He has built walls around me. I can't escape. He has put heavy chains on me.
8 I call out and cry for help. But he won't listen to me when I pray.
9 He has put up a stone wall to block my way. He has made my paths crooked.
10 He has been like a bear waiting to attack me. He has been like a lion hiding in the bushes.
11 He has dragged me off the path. He has torn me to pieces. And he has left me helpless.
12 He has gotten his bow ready to use. He has shot his arrows at me.
13 The arrows from his bag have gone through my heart.
14 My people laugh at me all the time. They sing and make fun of me all day long.
15 The LORD has made my life bitter. He has made me suffer bitterly.
16 He made me chew stones that broke my teeth. He has walked all over me in the dust.
17 I have lost all hope of ever having any peace. I've forgotten what good times are like.
18 So I say, "My glory has faded away. My hope in the LORD is gone."
19 I remember how I suffered and wandered. I remember how bitter my life was.
20 I remember it very well. My spirit is very sad deep down inside me.
21 But here is something else I remember. And it gives me hope.
22 The LORD loves us very much. So we haven't been completely destroyed. His loving concern never fails.
23 His great love is new every morning. Lord, how faithful you are!
24 I say to myself, "The LORD is everything I will ever need. So I will put my hope in him."
25 The LORD is good to those who put their hope in him. He is good to those who look to him.
26 It is good when people wait quietly for the LORD to save them.
27 It is good for a man to carry a heavy load of suffering while he is young.
28 Let him sit alone and not say anything. The LORD has placed that load on him.
29 Let him bury his face in the dust. There might still be hope for him.
30 Let him turn his cheek toward those who would slap him. Let him be filled with shame.
31 The Lord doesn't turn his back on people forever.
32 He might bring suffering. But he will also show loving concern. How great his faithful love is!
33 He doesn't want to bring pain or suffering to people.
34 Every time people crush prisoners under their feet, the Lord knows all about it.
35 When people refuse to give a man his rights, the Most High God knows it.
36 When people don't treat a man fairly, the Lord knows it.
37 Suppose people order something to happen. It won't happen unless the Lord has planned it.
38 Troubles and good things alike come to people because the Most High God has commanded them to come.
39 A man who is still alive shouldn't blame God when God punishes him for his sins.
40 Let's take a good look at the way we're living. Let's return to the Lord.
41 Let's lift up our hands to God in heaven. Let's pray to him with all our hearts.
42 Let's say, "We have sinned. We've refused to obey you. And you haven't forgiven us.
43 "You have covered yourself with the cloud of your anger. You have chased us. You have killed our people without pity.
44 You have covered yourself with the cloud of your anger. Our prayers can't get through to you.
45 You have made us become like trash and garbage among the nations.
46 "All of our enemies have opened their mouths wide to swallow us up.
47 We are terrified and trapped. We are broken and destroyed."
48 Streams of tears flow from my eyes. That's because my people are destroyed.
49 Tears will never stop flowing from my eyes. My eyes can't get any rest.
50 I'll sob until the LORD looks down from heaven. I'll cry until he notices my tears.
51 What I see brings pain to my spirit. All of the people in my city are suffering so much.
52 Those who were my enemies for no reason at all hunted me down as if I were a bird.
53 They tried to end my life by throwing me into a deep pit. They threw stones down at me.
54 The water rose and covered my head. I thought I was going to die.
55 Lord, I called out to you. I called out from the bottom of the pit.
56 I prayed, "Please don't close your ears to my cry for help." And you heard my appeal.
57 You came near when I called out to you. You said, "Do not be afraid."
58 Lord, you stood up for me in court. You saved my life and set me free.
59 Lord, you have seen the wrong things people have done to me. Stand up for me again!
60 You have seen how my enemies have tried to get even with me. You know all about their plans against me.
61 Lord, you have heard them laugh at me. You know all about their plans against me.
62 You have heard my enemies whispering among themselves. They speak against me all day long.
63 Just look at them sitting and standing there! They sing and make fun of me.
64 Lord, pay them back. Punish them for what their hands have done.
65 Cover their minds with a veil. Put a curse on them!
66 Lord, get angry with them and hunt them down. Wipe them off the face of the earth.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Lamentations 4

1 Look at how the gold has lost its brightness! See how dull the fine gold has become! The sacred jewels are scattered at every street corner.
2 The priceless children of Zion were worth their weight in gold. But now they are thought of as clay pots made by the hands of a potter.
3 Even wild dogs nurse their young pups. But my people are as mean as ostriches in the desert.
4 When our babies get thirsty, their tongues stick to the roofs of their mouths. When our children beg for bread, no one gives them any.
5 Those who once ate fine food are dying in the streets. Those who wore fancy clothes are now lying on piles of trash.
6 My people have been punished more than Sodom was. It was destroyed in a moment. No one offered it a helping hand.
7 Jerusalem's princes were brighter than snow. They were whiter than milk. Their bodies were redder than rubies. They looked like sapphires.
8 But now they are blacker than coal. No one even recognizes them in the streets. Their skin is wrinkled on their bones. It has become as dry as a stick.
9 Those who have been killed with swords are better off than those who have to die of hunger. Those who are hungry waste away to nothing. They don't have any food from the fields.
10 With their own hands, loving mothers have had to cook even their own children. They ate their children when my people were destroyed.
11 The LORD has become very angry. He has poured out his burning anger. He started a fire in Zion. It burned up the very foundations.
12 The kings of the earth couldn't believe what was happening. Neither could any of the world's people. Enemies actually attacked and entered the gates of Jerusalem.
13 It happened because Jerusalem's prophets had sinned. Its priests had done evil things. All of them spilled the blood of those who did what was right.
14 Now those prophets and priests have to feel their way along the streets like people who are blind. The blood of those they killed has made them "unclean." So no one dares even to touch their clothes.
15 "Go away! You are 'unclean'!" people cry out to them. "Go away! Get out of here! Don't touch us!" So they run away and wander around. Then people among the nations say, "They can't stay here anymore."
16 The LORD himself has scattered them. He doesn't watch over them anymore. No one shows the priests any respect. No one honors the elders.
17 And that's not all. Our eyes grew tired. We looked for help that never came. We watched from our towers. We kept looking for a nation that couldn't save us.
18 People hunted us down no matter where we went. We couldn't even walk in our streets. Our end was near. We only had a few days to live. Our end had come.
19 Those who were hunting us down were faster than eagles in the sky. They chased us over the mountains. They hid and waited for us in the desert.
20 Zedekiah, the LORD's anointed king, was our last hope. But he was caught in their traps. We thought he would keep us safe. We expected to continue living among the nations.
21 People of Edom, be joyful. You who live in the land of Uz, be glad. But the cup of the LORD's anger will also be passed to you. Then you will become drunk. Your clothes will be stripped off.
22 People of Zion, the time for you to be punished will come to an end. The LORD won't keep you away from your land any longer. But he will punish your sin, people of Edom. He will show you the evil things you have done.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Lamentations 5

1 Lord, think about what has happened to us. Look at the shame our enemies have brought on us.
2 The land you gave us has been turned over to outsiders. Our homes have been given to strangers.
3 Our fathers have been killed. Our mothers don't have husbands.
4 We have to buy the water we drink. We have to pay for the wood we use.
5 Those who chase us are right behind us. We're tired. We can't get any rest.
6 We put ourselves under the control of Egypt and Assyria just to get enough bread.
7 Our people before us sinned. And they are now dead. We are being punished because of their sins.
8 Slaves rule over us. No one can set us free from their powerful hands.
9 We put our lives in danger just to get some bread to eat. Robbers in the desert might kill us with their swords.
10 Our skin is as hot as an oven. We are so hungry we're burning up with fever.
11 Our women have been raped in Zion. Our virgins have been raped in the towns of Judah.
12 Our princes have been hung up by their hands. No one shows our elders any respect.
13 Our young men are forced to grind grain at the mill. Our boys almost fall down as they carry heavy loads of wood.
14 Our elders don't go to the city gate anymore. Our young men have stopped playing their music.
15 There isn't any joy in our hearts. Our dancing has turned into sobbing.
16 All of our honor is gone. How terrible it is for us! We have sinned.
17 So our hearts are weak. Our eyes can't see very clearly.
18 Mount Zion has been deserted. Wild dogs are prowling all around on it.
19 Lord, you rule forever. Your throne will last for all time to come.
20 Why do you always forget us? Why have you deserted us for so long?
21 Lord, please bring us back to you. Then we can return. Make our lives like new again.
22 Or have you completely turned away from us? Are you really that angry with us?
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Hebrews 10:19-39

19 Brothers and sisters, we are not afraid to enter the Most Holy Room. We enter boldly because of the blood of Jesus.
20 His way is new because he lives. It has been opened for us through the curtain. I'm talking about his body.
21 We also have a great priest over the house of God.
22 So let us come near to God with an honest and true heart. Let us come near with a faith that is sure and strong. Our hearts have been sprinkled. Our minds have been cleansed from a sense of guilt. Our bodies have been washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold firmly to the hope we claim to have. The One who promised is faithful.
24 Let us consider how we can stir up one another to love. Let us help one another to do good works.
25 Let us not give up meeting together. Some are in the habit of doing this. Instead, let us cheer each other up with words of hope. Let us do it all the more as you see the day coming when Christ will return.
26 What if we keep sinning on purpose? What if we do it even after we know the truth? Then there is no offering for our sins.
27 All we can do is to wait in fear for God to judge. His blazing fire will burn up his enemies.
28 Anyone who did not obey the law of Moses died without mercy if there were two or three witnesses.
29 What should be done to anyone who has hated the Son of God or has said no to him? What should be done to a person who treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that makes him holy? What should be done to someone who has made fun of the Holy Spirit who brings God's grace? Don't you think people like that should be punished more than anyone else?
30 We know the One who said, "I am the One who judges people. I will pay them back."(Deuteronomy 32:35) Scripture also says, "The Lord will judge his people."(Deuteronomy 32:36; Psalm 135:14)
31 It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 Remember those earlier days after you received the light. At that time you stood firm in a great struggle. You did it even in the face of suffering.
33 Sometimes you were made fun of in front of others. You were treated badly. At other times you stood side by side with people who were being treated like that.
34 You suffered together with people in prison. When your property was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew that God had given you better and more lasting things.
35 So don't throw away your bold faith. It will bring you rich rewards.
36 You need to be faithful. Then you will do what God wants. You will receive what he has promised.
37 In just a very little while, "The one who is coming will come. He will not wait.
38 The one who is in the right will live by faith. If he pulls back, I will not be pleased with him." (Habakkuk 2:3,4)
39 But we aren't people who pull back and are destroyed. We are people who believe and are saved.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.