Lamentations 3 is one of my favorite chapters. As the NIV footnote says, “This chapter is an acrostic poem; the verses of each stanza begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and the verses within each stanza begin with the same letter.” The NET Bible translation makes that clearer in English:
א ( Alef )
1 I am the man who has experienced affliction
from the rod of his wrath.
2 He drove me into captivity and made me walk
in darkness and not light.
3 He repeatedly attacks me,
he turns his hand against me all day long.
Recall that Jeremiah wrote the poem as the people were taken into exile in Babylon. Naturally, the prophet is bitter, but as Shawn says, there is still hope, and even in the midst of despair, Jeremiah writes the words that will inspire one of my favorite hymns, “Great is Thy Faithfulness”.
ו ( Vav )
16 He ground my teeth in gravel;
he trampled me in the dust.
17 I am deprived of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is.
18 So I said, “My endurance has expired;
I have lost all hope of deliverance from the Lord.”
ז ( Zayin )
19 Remember my impoverished and homeless condition,
which is a bitter poison.
20 I continually think about this,
and I am depressed.
21 But this I call to mind;
therefore I have hope:
ח ( Khet )
22 The Lord’s loyal kindness never ceases;
his compassions never end.
23 They are fresh every morning;
your faithfulness is abundant!
24 “My portion is the Lord,” I have said to myself,
so I will put my hope in him.