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Jeremiah and Lamentations: From Sorrow to Hope - Preaching the Word (Ryken)

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The “Weeping Prophet,” the rabbis said, began wailing the moment he was born. Jeremiah had reason to weep—he witnessed the devastating consequences of life without God.

Sadly, the relativism Jeremiah saw in ancient Israel predominates in America today. That’s why his words are so relevant for our lives. Better than anyone else, Jeremiah exemplifies—through his courage, passion, even his sufferings—how believers can live for God in a society that has turned against Him.

While the book of Jeremiah shared the last, desperate days of the Jerusalem he loved, Lamentations expresses the cries of his heart. Yet they reveal more than the prophet’s grief—they are an attempt to reflect on the meaning of human suffering. Lamentations gives voice to the deepest agonies, with the hope that some comfort may come from crying out to God for mercy. Together the two books illustrate the eternal principle that man reaps what he sows.

It is a lesson the world—and the church—needs to learn. With the heart of a pastor and the knowledge of a scholar, Philip Graham Ryken applies these words of life to us today. His commentary will not only help you understand and teach from these spiritually relevant books, but also it will inspire you with the courage and passion of God’s personal call for you to live in these times.

Table of Contents:


  1. A Prophet to the Nations (1:1-10)
  2. When the Almond Tree Blossoms (1:11-19)
  3. God Files for Divorce (2:1-37)
  4. The Way Back Home (3:1-18)
  5. True Repentance (3:19-4:4)
  6. Lament for a City (4:5-31)
  7. A Good Man Is Hard to Find (5:1-19)
  8. What Will You Do in the End? (5:20-6:15)
  9. At the Crossroads (6:16-30)
  10. What the Church Needs Now Is Reformation! (7:1-15)
  11. The Family That Worships Together (7:16-29)
  12. The Valley of Slaughter (7:30-8:3)
  13. Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth (8:4-17)
  14. There Is a Balm in Gilead (8:18-9:11)
  15. Something to Boast About (9:12-24)
  16. The Scarecrow in the Melon Patch (9:25-10:16)
  17. This Is (Not) Your Life (10:17-25)
  18. Amen, Lord! (11:1-17)
  19. How Can You Run with Horses? (11:18-12:6)
  20. Paradise Regained (12:7-17)
  21. Corruptio Optimi Pessima (13:1-27)
  22. For God’s Sake, Do Something! (14:1-22)
  23. When God Lets You Down (15:1-21)
  24. Jeremiah, the Pariah (16:1-17:4)
  25. Like a Tree (17:5-18)
  26. Keep the Lord’s Day Holy (17:19-27)
  27. In the Potter’s Hands (18:1-23)
  28. Vessels of Wrath (19:1-15)
  29. Dark Night of the Soul (20:1-18)
  30. No King but Christ (21:1-22:30)
  31. Music for the Messiah (23:1-8)
  32. I Had a Dream! (23:9-40)
  33. Two Baskets of Figs (24:1-25:14)
  34. Take from My Hand This Cup (25:15-38)
  35. Delivered from Death (26:1-24)
  36. Under the Yoke (27:1-22)
  37. A Yoke of Iron (28:1-17)
  38. Seek the Welfare of the City (29:1-9, 24-32)
  39. The Best-laid Plans (29:10-23)
  40. ‘And Ransom Captive Israel’ (30:1-17)
  41. Messiah in the City (30:18-31:6)
  42. Rachel, Dry Your Tears (31:7-26)
  43. The New Covenant (31:27-40)
  44. Buyer’s Market (32:1-25)
  45. Is Anything Too Hard for God? (32:26-44)
  46. Pardon for Sin and a Peace That Endureth (33:1-9)
  47. While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks (33:10-16)
  48. God Never Fails (33:17-26)
  49. The Emancipation Revocation (34:1-22)
  50. Promise Keepers (35:1-19)
  51. Book Burning (36:1-32)
  52. Benedict Jeremiah? (37:1-21)
  53. In and Out of the Cistern (38:1-13)
  54. A Private Audience (38:14-28)
  55. Brands from the Burning (39:1-18)
  56. A Remnant Chosen by Grace (40:1-41:15)
  57. A Fatal Mistake (41:16-43:13)
  58. The King or the Queen? (44:1-30)
  59. Attempt Small Things for God (45:1-5)
  60. God of All Nations (46:1-47:7)
  61. The Pride of Life (48:1-47)
  62. Most High over All the Earth (49:1-39)
  63. Full Atonement! Can It Be? (50:1-46)
  64. Fallen! Fallen Is Babylon the Great! (51:1-64)
  65. How Deserted Lies the City (52:1-34)


     66. Five Laments: An Epilogue (1-5)



Philip Graham Ryken (DPhil, University of Oxford) is the eighth president of Wheaton College. Formerly, he served as senior minister of Philadelphia’s historic Tenth Presbyterian Church. He has written or edited more than 40 books, including the popular title Loving the Way Jesus Loves, and has lectured and preached at universities and seminaries worldwide.