November 11, 2020

Behold my Sorrow
Lamentations 1:12
It is nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.
We think first of the primary application of these words. They were spoken by Jeremiah, the weeping prophet of the Old Testament. All about him was a desolate, depopulated, and devastated city, The Babylonians had torn it to pieces, destroyed its glorious temple, deported its people, and defied its God. So much for all Jeremiah’s preaching! He had been reviled and afflicted by his own people, and now he roamed the corpsestrewn ruins of Jerusalem, abandoned to his grief. So great were his sorrows that a special book of the Bible was set apart to record them, the book of Lamentations. Truly Jeremiah was a man of sorrows.
We think, next, of the peripheral application of these words. Indeed, there are others whose stories are treasured up within the bounds of God’s book, people who learned through sufferings. There was Joseph, for instance. Doubtless, by the time of his mothet’s death, Joseph had learned to be afraid of his older brothers. They hated him and could not speak peaceably to him. As cautious as he had become, however, it is doubtful that he was prepared for their final, united onslaught on him. He never thought he would be flung into a pit, his princely mantle torn from his shoulders, and his fate fiercely debated by his brothers; and with murder on his brothers’ minds, the prospect of being hauled from the pit and sold into slavery in a foreign land never occurred to him. And then, once in that faraway land, he was falsely accused and flung into prison and left there to rot! Such were the sufferings of Joseph.
Then there was Jonah. True, he brought his suffering on himself; but it was nonetheless real and terrible. We can scarcely imagine the horror of his situation, to be swallowed alive and lost in the vast interior of a great fish, to be in the dark, awash with the debris of a great sea creature’s meals, to be scorched by its gastric juices, to be overwhelmed by the heat, and to be suffocated by the smell. No wonder he called it “the belly of hell” (Jonah 2:2). And the torment went on for three days and three nights. Certainly Jonah came very near to death. Such were the sutferings of Jonah.
And what about Job? Sorrow after sorrow surged in upon his soul, until—wealth gone, health gone, family gone, friends gone—he felt that God Himself had become his enemy. And all this for no apparent reason and, it seemed, with no foreseeable end. His friends hotly debated the cause of Job’s suffering and concluded that they could only be explained in terms of some horrendous secret sin in Job’s life—a conclusion he vehemently denied. Nobody divined the true cause of Job’s torment, or the triumphant conclusion that would be his. Such were the sufferings of Job.
This brings us to the prophetic application of these words: “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger. The sufferings of Jeremiah, the sufferings of Joseph, the sufferings of Jonah, and the sufferings of Job all pale before the sufferings of Jesus. Like Jeremiah, Jesus wept over Jerusalem. Like Joseph, He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. Like Jonah, all God’s waves and billows passed over Him, and He cried in utter desperation and desolation in total darkness, And, like Job, His sufferings were all undeserved. There was no sorrow like His.
Who can even begin to imagine the sufferings of Jesus when He, who Knew no sin, was made sin for us? Only God can know the full measure of that. Well might we borrow the language of the old hymn:
Oh, make me understand it, me to take it in; What it meant for Thee, the Holy One To take away my sin.

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