The Sorrow of Sorrows
Jeremiah 5:3
O LORD, are not your eyes on the truth? you have stricken them, but they have not grieved; you have consumed them…

Thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved, etc.


1. To teach the servant of God how to sympathize with and succor other troubled ones.

2. To loosen them from the clinging bands of this world.

3. Because such sorrow is the inevitable pain and distress attendant upon that glorious contest for "the prize of our high calling," for which contest our Father, out of love to us and because of his joy in us, and knowing that we shall win it, has entered us. Still, notwithstanding these facts and others like them, the afflictions of the righteous are painful indeed.

II. BUT SORROW IS YET MORE SORROWFUL WHEN IT IS SELF-CAUSED. Such was the sorrow of many of those whose tears and lamentations we read of in Scripture - David, Peter, Esau. "It was my own fault:" this is the reflection which calls into dread life and activity "the worm that dieth not." But still, when, as with the contrite hearts, Manasseh, David, Peter, etc., of whom Scripture tells, their sorrow is of a godly sort, then, sad as it is, its result makes it blessed.

III. BUT THERE IS A SORROW OF SORROWS, AND IT IS TOLD OF HERE. It is when, as this verse tells, God sends his corrections and sore afflictions upon men, and yet they are none the better for them, but even worse. Pharaoh is the great illustration of this deepest sorrow. It is not all who can say, "Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy Word." But of too many that word is true which says, "Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar... yet will not his foolishness depart from him" (cf. Revelation 16:10; Acts 26:14).

1. But what is the cause of these failures on the part of God's chastisements? They are such as these:

(1) Sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily.

(2) The fearful force of the desire after the evil object overwhelms and bears down all thought of the punishment that must follow.

(3) The assigning of the affliction that comes to other causes than the true one. To this day the Jews do not see that their rejection of the Lord Jesus was the reason of God's rejection of them, nor that it is his Mood which is upon them and their children.

2. But without question such sorrows are the most lamentable of all; for:

(1) they reveal the virulence, the deep-seated character, and the dread hold which sin has gained;

(2) they necessitate and foretell yet more severe judgments from God;

(3) they cast most sad doubt on the question whether such persons will ever be saved at all. CONCLUSION. Is sorrow resting upon us? Then:

1. Rest not until you have found out its cause. "Show me wherefore thou contendst with me" should be our appeal.

2. Let the possibility that your sorrows may leave you unblessed, that God's purpose and intent may be lost upon you, send you to the throne of grace with importunate prayer that so it may not be with you. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.

WEB: O Yahweh, don't your eyes look on truth? You have stricken them, but they were not grieved. You have consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction. They have made their faces harder than a rock. They have refused to return.

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