Let’s read that interesting verse: “It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth” (NKJV). You asked if it was good; well, here is your answer…it is good! To understand exactly what this means we need to know exactly what was happening to Jeremiah (the inspired writer of Lamentation) at this time. Jeremiah had predicted for years the coming judgment of God upon Jerusalem for their many sins and now the judgment has come, along with the sufferings of affliction that it brings. This is brought out clearly in verse 1, “I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath.” Jeremiah is often called “The weeping prophet” because his heart was moved to tears by his people’s sins and how they would have to suffer God’s righteous wrath because of those sins. The word “lamentation” means “the passionate expression of grief or sorrow; weeping” and in this short book Jeremiah breaks out in countless “expressions of sorrow and weeping.”

Of course, Jeremiah wasn’t the only one suffering affliction and expressing his sorrow, for all the people living in Jerusalem were affected by God’s judgment and many of them had been humbled to the dust and were filled with grief. So, Jeremiah’s “expressions of sorrow” were the reflection of many, INCLUDING YOUNG PEOPLE. To all the young people he offered them words of wisdom in saying, “It is good for man to bear the yoke in his youth.” In essence, he is saying, “It is profitable for one to submit to God’s discipline early in life, for it is a necessary part of SERVING GOD.” A “yoke” speaks of “service” and if we are going to be yoked with God in service, we should be prepared to suffer the discipline of God that He allows in the lives of His servants. Jeremiah was no doubt thinking back to the days of his youth in giving them this exhortation, for he was no stranger to God’s disciplinary ways and he knew they were meant for good; they had taught him to be humble and holy. We see this principle brought out in Hebrews 12:11, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterwards it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

Before we close this meditation, it is good to see that along with Jeremiah’s “expressions of sorrow,” he also “expressed HOPE.” After the first 19 verses of painful lamentations, Jeremiah was made to say, “My soul still remembers and sinks within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I HAVE HOPE. Through the LORD’S mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I HOPE IN HIM!’ The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that ONE SHOULD HOPE and wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD” (verses 20-26). In this precious passage Jeremiah takes his eyes off from himself and his dire circumstances and looks onto the Lord and His mercies. Hope then springs up in his soul and he is able to look expectantly for God’s faithful deliverance. Even after exhorting the youth of his day in verse 27 he continues to speak to them of the HOPE we have because of God’s mercies. Thus we read in verses 28-32, “Let him sit alone and keep silent, because God has laid it on him; let him put his mouth in the dust—there may yet BE HOPE. Let him give his cheek to the one who strikes him, and be full of reproach. For the Lord will not cast off forever. Though He causes grief, yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.”  (375.3)  (DO)