I actually said to my friend Ginger this week who is behind ‘”skip Lamentations to catchup…who wants to hear someone lamenting”.
Was I wrong.
I read this yesterday in the car while Elliot had Softball practie. As I read I heard sirens and honking in the distance and I could not shake the reality that these prophecies all have 2 time frames in mind. First, Jeremiah is speaking about His people and their sin and the situations they have brought themselves to. Second the parallel prophecy of NOW. You can read this book and KNOW that God is speaking to us today too.
The two sections of the reading that grabbed me the most were the beginning and the end.
Why should any living man complain
when punished for his sins? Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the LORD.
Let us lift up our hearts and our hands
to God in heaven, and say:
“We have sinned and rebelled
and you have not forgiven.
In the Middle of the text you see the symbolism of the cistern. (Verse 52-53) I feel like that at times.
But what do need to do at this point in 2012?? We need to ask is our willingness to repent as a nation too late? Are we in the birthing pains of the Wrath and the second coming of the Lord? Chapter 5 verse 21 says:
Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may return;
renew our days as of old unless you have utterly rejected us
and are angry with us beyond measure.
When you see people Sin, and God discipline them, how do you feel?
- Do you say “that is none of my business” and turn the other way?
- Do you say “Well, we all get what we deserve”?
- Do you hurt? Does it hurt you because you know it hurts God?
Jeremiah saw the Captivity and all that was promised occur, and it was awful to watch. Have a pen in your hand when you read these 3 Chapters, for I know you will underline a lot. One of the Scriptures I had to stop and meditate on was 2:3 He has withdrawn his right hand. Wow. How do I feel when I see God take his loving hand and protection off a human and allow them to live out their own choices with the consequences that will ultimately occur?
Jerusalem is spoken about as a woman. To read this is very sad, the one scripture that really bolded out for me was
Her filthiness clung to her skirts;
she did not consider her future. (1:9)
The chapter emphasizes that His people brought all of this on themselves.
Chapter 3! We all have those handful of scriptures that just make us melt! Well I know when you read this chapter you KNEW I was going to comment on it. And you are right:
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD. (3:22-26)
If there was ever a Scripture to memorize today, this would be a good choice.
Lamentations, Ekha in Hebrew, is a book or wailing and weeping. Lamentations was written in the time between the fall of Judah and the return of the remnant people after 70 years of captivity,
There are 5 poems in this book, each begin at a new chapter. Judah is personified as a woman in this book, but it is important to remember WHY all this is happening to her. An avoidable tragedy, all this is, all caused by sin and lack of repenting. Always read the Bible from God’s character, His Covenant and His Love. God is Holy, God is Just, God Perfect, and God punishes sin and disobedience in His timing.
In the Bible, Lamentations follows Jeremiah, who is most likely the author, and which gave Jeremiah the name the “weeping prophet”. You could read the past chapter of Jeremiah as the introduction to Lamentations. However the Hebrew Old Testament puts Lamentations with a group of books called the Ketubin or “writings”. The group includes Song of Songs, Ruth, Ecclesiastes, Esther and Lamentations. They are in their own category (our Bible is grouped by category too, that is why we are jumping around a lot) because these books are read at separate Feasts. To this day, this book is read in Synagogues throughout the world on the ninth day of the fourth month, a day of fasting, to remember the fall of Jerusalem.
Jeremiah’s grief ran deep in his heart for God’s people. Jeremiah wept for the Jews not just because of the suffering and the exile they would endure, but because they had rejected the word of the Lord. This saddened Jeremiah to a level of tears and sympathy.
I read once somewhere this question…and it really should make us all think…
What makes a person cry says a lot about that person whether they are self-centered or God-centered.