From trouble to hope
3:1In this chapter, Jeremiah is speaking.
1 I am the man who has seen trouble.
God punished me because he was angry with me.
2 He has led me into the dark.
There is no light, so I cannot see the right way.
3 He is completely against me;
so again and again, he causes me trouble all day long.
4 God has caused my skin and my whole body to become old.
He has broken my bones.
3:4God may be angry with his people and he may punish them. He punishes them so that they learn from him. But they must not think that he has also stopped loving them. God is not against them, but he is against their sin.
5 He has fought against me from every side.
He caused much trouble for me,
so that I am very sad.
6 He has brought me to this dark place.
So I am like a person who has been dead for a long time.
7 It is as if God has built high walls round me, and I cannot go out.
My troubles are very bad.
They hold me down like heavy chains.
8 I shout and I pray for help, but God does not listen.
9 On every road that I go along, he has put big rocks in my way.
I cannot go past them.
10 God is like a strong wild animal.
He hides and he waits for me by the path.
11 He is like an animal that catches me and pulls me off the path.
He tears me in pieces and then he leaves me without any help.
12 God is like a soldier with a bow and arrows.
He bent his bow and he shot at me.
13 It was as if he shot me in the heart with his arrows.
14 All the people see me and laugh.
They even sing silly songs about me all day long.
15 God has caused my life to become a thing of pain.
It is as if he filled a cup with a very bitter drink for me.
16 It is as if he caused me to eat small stones, so that the stones broke my teeth.
Then he put me on the ground, and he pushed me down in the dirt.
17 He has taken peace away from my mind.
I cannot remember the happy days that I had before.
18 I tell myself, ‘Everything good has finished for me!
The things that I hoped for from the Lord have not come!’
19 Lord, please remember all my troubles, because I am sad.
Remember that I am very lonely.
My troubles are like poison for me.
20 I think about all those things,
and I feel small and alone.
21 But then I choose to remember God,
and this is my hope:
3:21Jeremiah begins to hope again. God's people think that God has forgotten to be kind.
22 The Lord's love never comes to an end.
He never stops being kind to us.
3:22Now Jeremiah is telling them true things about God. It is always good to believe God. We must remember what he has promised. And we should believe him even more when bad things happen to us.
23 Every day, we can trust him to be kind again.
We know that he will do what he has promised to do.
24 ‘He is my Lord,’ I say to myself.
‘He is the reason why I can hope for good things.’
25 The Lord does good things for people who wait for him.
He is kind to everyone who looks for him.
26 It is good when people continue to hope.
It is good when they quietly wait for the Lord,
because he will save them.
27 It is also good for people to obey God when they are young.
They should work well for him.
28 Also, when the Lord causes them to be in trouble.
they should sit alone quietly.
3:28God does not speak to us when we are talking all the time.
29 They should be humble in front of God.
3:29When people felt small or ashamed in front of God, they often lay down on the ground.
Then hope may come again.
30 If somebody hits them or insults them, they should accept it.
3:30Jesus spoke about this too in Matthew 5:39.
31 The Lord does not turn against people for ever.
32 He does cause people to feel sad sometimes,
but he is sorry for us.
He is also very kind to us, because he loves us very much.
33 He does not enjoy seeing people who are in pain.
He does not enjoy causing trouble for them.
3:33God only wants people to learn from him. Then they can be happy.
34 Bad people may be cruel to those who are in prison.
35 They may turn against the great God and cheat people.
36 They may tell lies in court.
The Lord is not happy when he sees any of those bad things.
37 The Lord causes things to happen.
Nobody can cause things to happen without him.
38 God is the greatest of all and he causes things to happen.
He causes good things and bad things when he speaks.
39 He only punishes us when we do wrong things.
We are still alive, so we should not be angry with God.
40 Instead, we should think a lot about what we do,
and we should turn back to the Lord again.
41 We should lift up our hands and pray to God in heaven.
3:41Heaven is the name of God's home.
We should be honest with God and say to him,
42 ‘We have done wrong things,
and we have turned against you.
You have not forgiven us.
43 You have hidden yourself from us because you are angry.
You have followed us so that you could kill us.
You were not sorry about it.
44 You have hidden from us in a cloud.
So you do not listen to us when we talk to you.
45 You let people from other countries think bad things about us.
They think that we have no value.
We are like things that nobody can use any longer.
46 All our enemies have insulted us.
47 We have become afraid of them.
They have caught us and they have destroyed us and our things.’
3:47Jeremiah has suggested an honest way for the people to speak to God.
48 I weep, and my eyes are red with all my tears.
It is because the enemy has killed my people.
49 Tears come like a river from my eyes and they will not stop,
50 until the Lord looks down on us from heaven.
He will see us and he will help us.
51 I see what has happened to all the people in my city.
And so I am very sad.
52 My enemies had no reason to follow me.
But they caught me as they would catch a bird.
53 They put me alive into the well,
and they threw stones down on me.
54 The water covered my head.
Then I said, ‘I shall die.’
55 I shouted your name, Lord,
when I was in the well.
56 ‘Please listen to me, Lord,’ I shouted.
‘Help me! Save me!’ I shouted,
and you heard me.
57 You came near to me when I prayed to you.
‘Do not be afraid,’ you said.
58 Lord, you have given me help.
You have paid the price to keep me alive.
59 You saw the bad things that they did to me.
So please agree with me that they were not fair!
60 You know all the bad things that they did to me.
And you know about all the bad things that they want to do to me.
61 You have heard their cruel words against me, Lord.
Yes, you know about all the bad things that they want to do to me.
62 These people have been cruel to me.
They attack me with cruel words every hour of the day.
63 Look at them as they sing cruel things about me.
They sing when they are sitting, and they sing when they are standing.
64 Punish them for what they have done, Lord.
65 Cause them to think that they cannot hope for anything good.
Cause bad things to happen to them.
66 Run after them angrily.
Kill them all because you are angry with them.
Let nobody on earth remember them any longer.