Verse of the Day Devotion: Lamentations 3:40
“Let us test and examine our ways and return to the LORD!” – Lamentations 3:40
Let us start this with the verse just before our focus verse in order to understand what is being said. “Why should a living man complain, a man, about the punishment of his sins?” Lamentations 3:39. What he is saying is, if a man sins why should He gripe and complain about what happens to him. The writer of Proverbs put it this way. “When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the LORD.” Proverbs 19:3. The writer is basically saying that when a man gives into the sinful ways and desires of his heart, it causes him to go astray from the ways God has called him to go. And when things do not go well for him, he places all the blame upon God and not on the one who actually caused this to happen, himself. Thus, the writer of Lamentations is saying, why should someone complain about what God allows to happen because of their sins? I like the way Theologian Adam Clarke put it. “He who has his life still lent to him has small cause of complaint. How great soever his affliction may be, he is still alive; therefore, he may seek and find mercy unto eternal life. Of this, death would deprive him; therefore let not a living man complain.”
So, going back to verse 39, why should a man complain about the outcome of his own behavior? At least he is still alive and can make adjustments in his ways. And if he still lives, what should he do rather than sit around and complain? The answer lies in our focus verse. “Let us test and examine our ways and return to the LORD! “ Lamentations 3:40. This is a more reasonable and profitable thing to do rather than complaining to and about God. We should look within ourselves and see whether our ways have been good or bad. Do we have things we do which are not good? Do we think badly about others who may be more happy and content than we are? When we look inside, do we see areas which we know God is not happy with?
The main idea here is that God is calling us to look inside ourselves and look deep within and see if there is anything we need to ask forgiveness for and repent of. And ask God to help us see these things. David called out to God and asked Him to assist in seeing what was in his heart. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalm 139:23-24.
This should be our desire as we walk on the earth in the Lord. We should want to see any wrong thing we do or desire and work toward wiping them out. We should, with the Lord’s help, examine our heart and our ways, looking deep into what drives us and what our focus is on. And we should pray that God will take these desires away and lead us back to Him.
This can be a difficult endeavor. We may not want to know where our hearts are, what we desire in our lives, and where our thoughts lead us. However, God wants us to do this and more, for He wants a great and loving relationship with us. He has amazing grace for us and will forgive us when we repent of these things and give our all to Him. So, take some time to make the same requests David made. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalm 139:23-24. In doing this, we will test and examine our ways, and by making the necessary changes, we can return to the Lord and have a much more wonderful relationship with God than we ever had.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.