God's People May Apprehend Themselves Stripped of All Cause of Joy
Lamentations 5:12-18
Princes are hanged up by their hand: the faces of elders were not honored.…

This is the condition of these distressed creatures in the land of Babylon; whilst they were in Judea, they used to rejoice in their harvest, and to shout at their vintage (Isaiah 16:10). They had the mirth of tabrets and their harps melodiously sounding in their streets (Isaiah 24:8). But now there is a crying for wine in all quarters, their joy is darkened, and the mirth of the land is gone (Isaiah 24:11). All causes of joy are sometimes taken from God's: precious saints; thus it fared with Israel upon the pursuit of Pharaoh, when she was passing out of Egypt into the land of Canaan (Exodus 14:10). Neither was it better with Job in the time of his affliction (Job 30:17, 18, 31). Do but look upon the sweet singer of Israel, and you shall find him in as bad a condition; for the sorrows of death encompassed him, the pains of hell got hold upon him, and he found nothing but trouble and sorrow (Psalm 116). The Lord takes away all cause of rejoicing from, that He may the more deeply humble them for the evil of their ways. Great afflictions effect the like submissions, with strong cries to the God of heaven (Judges 6:6; Judges 10:13-15). God's great design in thus dealing with them, is to purge them from their dross (Isaiah 27:9), to make them cast off the sin of their souls; you know gold, that it may be refined, must as it were be encompassed with flames (Zechariah 13:8, 9). The best are prone to rest upon the reeds of Egypt, to rely too much upon worldly vanities, therefore God makes the joy of their hearts to cease, that He may take them off from dependency upon creature comforts (Jeremiah 3:22, 23; Hosea 14:2, 3). Beware of sin, it will cause both sad looks and heavy hearts (Genesis 4:7; Amos 8:8-10). Keep your eye upon heaven (2 Chronicles 20:12), it is only a ray of His favour that can cheer your hearts (Psalm 9:9, 10). Disclaim help from others, trust not to yourselves (Isaiah 30:1-3; Isaiah 31:1; Psalm 20:7; 2 Corinthians 1:9). Created substances are but vanities.

I. The precious sons of Zion may be much discouraged in their sufferings. And when Zion was in affliction, did she not as one in despair cry out, My strength and my hope is perished from the Lord (Lamentations 3:17, 18)?

(1) Sudden and boisterous storms sometimes make stout-hearted seamen to give up all for gone (Psalm 88:3-8; Isaiah 54:11; Matthew 27:46).

(2) Feeble things are soon thrown down, they want strength, it is weakness of faith that dejects their spirits (Matthew 8:24-26). Give a check to the heaviness, to the sadness of your souls, when you are in afflictions (Psalm 43:5). The apostles carried themselves gallantly with much cheerfulness in the worst of times (Romans 5:3; Acts 21:13).Now that you may come near them in the same spirit, consider —

(1) That the sorrows of our Saviour were very dolorous (Matthew 26:38; Luke 22:42).

(2) That what befalls you is incident to the best of saints (1 Corinthians 10:13; Song of Solomon 2:2).

(3) That death will put a period to all your troubles.

(4) That God hath promised to deliver His chosen ones (Psalm 126:5, 6; Job 16:33). Brag not of what spirit you will be when you come to suffer; you have but a little strength in yourselves, your hearts may come to deceive you, to fail you when troubles come with a strong current upon you; thus did Peter, yet denied his Master (Mark 14:29, 31, 68, etc).

2. Keep up your heads, your hearts above the waters of sorrow, let them not sink your spirits, but under the worst of evils, retain your joy, and in patience possess your souls (Lamentations 3:26; Psalm 27:13, 14).

(D. Swift.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Princes are hanged up by their hand: the faces of elders were not honoured.

WEB: Princes were hanged up by their hand: The faces of elders were not honored.

None to Deliver
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