3:15-18 (selected) He has filled me with bitterness and given me a bitter cup of sorrow to drink. He has made me chew on gravel. He has rolled me in the dust. Peace has been stripped away...I cry out, "My splendor [NAS: strength] is gone! Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!" I don't know if you have ever been at such a place in your life, but I certainly have. It is indeed a bitter place, but I must say that without it, the following verses (and experiential realities of them) would not have been so comforting and so beautiful, which they were! They were my lifelines in my sorrow, grief, and lost dreams. Below is my testimony in 11 verses:
3:19-30 The thought of my suffering and homelessness [NAS: wandering] is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, "The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!"
The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of his discipline: Let them sit alone in silence beneath the Lord's demands. Let them lie face down in the dust, for there may be hope at last. Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them and accept the insults of their enemies.
3:31-33 For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love. For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow. What a novel thought! I wonder how many people actually believe this. YLT says: For the Lord doth not cast off to the age. The article can also mean "for" as in "for the age."
3:37-39 Who can command things to happen without the Lord's permission? Does not the Most High send both calamity and good? Then why should we, mere humans, complain when we are punished for our sins? Another great sovereignty passage (is our sovereignty collector getting all these into her collection?). Also another example of God taking responsibility for the goings-on of history, whether good or bad, in order to accomplish His ultimate purposes (which are all for good, see verses above).
3:58-66 A wonderful reminder that vengeance is the Lord's, and He will repay those who mock, curse, persecute, and treat us with contempt. He has not forgotten a single detail, but has recorded them all in His books. That is how I can forgive and forget what my enemies have done, knowing that it is not forgotten by the One who can make it right in the end. I do love the sovereignty slant on verse 65:
3:65 (NAS) You will give them hardness of heart, Your curse will be on them. The Lord will harden their hearts in order to hold them responsible for their sins. However, if we are truly forgiving (in my opinion), we should ultimately WANT these people to repent on this side so that they do not incur the horrors of God's wrath on the other side.
1:2 God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. What a cool, all—encompassing inheritance. Sort of a repeat theme of Colossians 1:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. Col. 1:15-20 For some reason, I never really read this passage. But it basically expounds on the everything in Hebrews 1:2.
1:10-12 (NAS) "YOU, LORD, IN THE BEGINNING LAID THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH, AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS; THEY WILL PERISH, BUT YOU REMAIN; AND THEY ALL WILL BECOME OLD LIKE A GARMENT, AND LIKE A MANTLE YOU WILL ROLL THEM UP; LIKE A GARMENT THEY WILL ALSO BE CHANGED. BUT YOU ARE THE SAME, AND YOUR YEARS WILL NOT COME TO AN END." Anybody notice that today's Hebrews quotes from today's Psalms (the all caps in NAS means it's quoting from OT)?
102:25-27 (NAS) "Of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. "Even they will perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed. "But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end.