Lamentations A Case Study in Sorrow & Grief

Lamentations of Prophet Jeremiah

Lamentations of Prophet Jeremiah

~   Lamentations   ~   A case study in Sorrow & Grief

 

The book of Lamentations is a riveting historical narrative of the prophet Jeremiah’s agonizing heartfelt disconsolate melancholic despondency.  Jeremiah scribes in detail an impressive account on the fall of Jerusalem.  He candidly expresses his cavernous emotions and sorrowful laments of his soul. The Holy City has died!   He is overwrought with pain from the tremendous losses not just for himself but for his people and the nation at large.  Jeremiah is known as “the weeping prophet.”  No doubt he was despondent over the devastation of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Temple as well as the disaster that was upon his people for their disobedience.

 

These Old Testament Laments are analogously written in the same rhythmic cadence of the ancient Jewish funeral songs. There are five dirges in Lamentations.  Four of the five chapters contain 22 verses except chapter three that contains 66 verses.  Here in Lamentations you will discover laments of wisdom, ritual and prophecy.  Jeremiah reflects back on what has been. This elegy is laden with a plethora of   depressive moments that takes us into the darkness of emotional pain.  It is a definite funeral “dirge” reflective of the mournful end of what was.   God’s people have rejected His will and His way and forsaken His principles to the point of utter pandemonium!   Many of Jeremiah’s prophecies have fallen on deaf ear!   He stands alone, sorrowful, isolated, misunderstood and rejected, his tears plenteous and bountiful due to his genuine care and concerns.  It is only because of God’s mercy they have not been completely annihilated, yet carried away into Babylonian captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar.

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This Old Testament treasure contains a wealth of spiritual wisdom that can help us better navigate through “the valley of the shadow of death” today.  It provokes us to introspectively examine our own emotions and sins under the spiritual microscope via the Word of God.  We must become cognizant of the things that are happening all around us, within our homes, our nation, the world at large and especially within God’s Church!   We today can relate to what has happened here in Lamentations to degree right now. The calamities that we see happening today around us are a reflection of aberrant rebelliousness and the abandoning of God’s intended purpose for His Creation.

 

Sin separates us from God!   To sin means that we have missed the mark.   Let this passage of   Scripture marinate in your mind as you ponder this narrative on Lamentations if you will.  The Word of God teaches us “for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God, and are justified freely by His Grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through Faith in His Blood.  He did this to demonstrate His justice, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand   unpunished – He did it to demonstrate His justice at the present time, so as to be just and the One who justifies those who have FAITH in Jesus…”  Romans 3

 

We can delve into the pain and extreme sorrow projected here in Lamentations emphatically.   We can use this as a marvelous life lesson of what has been to help us now!  We can learn much as we peer beyond the broken walls of Jerusalem.  The Temple is gone, the king is gone the people are in exile and the city of Jerusalem has been destroyed and chaos abounds!   The elders and religious leaders are also gone. The obliteration   is humongous.   Jeremiah’s tears are not for himself but for what was, what has been and what could be?   This prophet of God was sorrowful most importantly because God has been grieved as well, thus Jeremiah laments.    This is what Jeremiah says when he mourns about Jerusalem:  “How deserted lies the city, once was so full of people!  How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was a queen among the provinces has now become a slave!”   Lamentations 1

 

Truly God is faithful and His compassion and wisdom infinite!  Confession and repentance are necessary for restoration.  Only God can cleanse us from the wages of sin.   Sin entices us away from what God has said not to do.

 

We have freedom in the Lord to choose but there are consequences for those choices.  If we say that we have not sinned the Word of God unveils us as liars.   All of us need Jesus Christ as Savior & Lord! It is His Blood by which we can be cleansed from our sins. As we embrace and apply His Word to our lives we should begin to “sin less!”   We are the saints of God!  Yes indeed!  There‘s POWER in the BLOOD!  This is why it is important for us to know firsthand His Word! “The Lord is righteous, yet I rebelled against His command. Listen, all you peoples; look upon my suffering. My young men and maidens have gone into exile.  My priests and my elders perished in the city while they searched for food to keep themselves alive. See, O Lord, how distressed I am!  I am in torment within, and in my heart I am disturbed, for I have been most rebellious.  Outside, the sword bereaves; inside, there is only death. People have heard my groaning but there is no one to comfort me.” Lamentations 1 God used the Babylonians to punish His people for their rebelliousness.   Today; Lord help us!

 

Here in Lamentations we learn that there is always Hope in the Lord!  Jeremiah encourages the people to pour their hearts out to the Lord!  Worship had become stale and ritualistic, false prophets and misleading oracles were given to the people.  They embraced what they wanted to hear opposed to what God wanted them hear.  No doubt Jeremiah’s prophecies where thought to be negative.  We often shriek at the thought of what we perceive to be negative.  Listen closely “The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The oracles they gave you were false and misleading.”    Lamentations 2.   Oh my!  Perhaps some of this could have been avoided only if they had listened?

 

The streets of Jerusalem were laden with orphaned children and infants.   The prophet Jeremiah’s heart was broken as he walked through the ruins of the city.  He knew that God was faithful but they were yet experiencing the consequences for their choice to not listen.  The few that remained faithful had to also experience the judgment brought on by the wrath of God.  Jeremiah has a glimmer of hope; he too remained faithful to share God’s Word in the midst of much adversity.   He was confident and knew that the prophecies given to him by God was true.   Even though Jeremiah was thrown into the depths of a cistern and left there to die the Lord had favor upon him.   He knew at some point he could count on the future restoration of Jerusalem.  “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 on Him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him.  To the one who seeks HIM; it is good to wait patiently for the Salvation of the Lord.”   Lamentations 3

 

While Jeremiah laments he is reminded of the fuming sulfur that destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah!  Now the sins of the false prophets were apparent.  All Jerusalem’s material goods that had not been taken for spoils lay before them marred or destroyed within the ruins of this collapsed wasteland.   Many of the priests and prophets became defiled rather than maintain their dignity and duties of the Lord.  They neglected their responsibility to be role models and examples to the people causing Jerusalem’s ultimate downfall; they conformed to the ways of the world!   Before the elders, priests, judges, magistrates and leaders would sit at the gates and articulately discuss religion, politics, current issues and their business affairs.  “Now desolate the jackals   were prowling all over it”    Lamentations 5.  Here in this marvelous narrative Jeremiah captures the bitter, astringent longsuffering that this nation experienced all because they got caught up in sin and turned their back on God! We who confess to be God’s people must be willing to succumb to a Holy sadness of remorse whenever we are found to be in err.  We must pray fervently and weep whenever necessary if we have sinned and then sincerely repent.

We must also PRAY for The United States of America & this world at large to REPENT… ONLY once Refreshed and refueled we can gracefully rise once again and obediently embrace the marvelous principles for life and living within the oracles of God through the Power of His Holy Spirit!  As we walk in the principles of Your Divine & Holy Word;  May Your Favor rest upon us Lord in Jesus Name! “To God Be The Glory!”

 

Lamentations concludes: “You, O LORD reign forever; Your throne endures from generation to generation.  Why do You forsake us so long? 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!”   Lamentations   5

 

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Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People

Fall Mountains

Life is Not FAIR but GOD IS!

Habakkuk is a wonderful short, sweet, powerful Book in the Old Testament that is packed with wisdom. The prophet Habakkuk asks God, “Why are things not fair? And why does God not do something? He prophecies during the final reign of the Assyrian Empire and right when the Babylonians began to increasingly grow in power to control and dominate the world. The Chaldeans were being sent to judge Judah. The key scripture is: “Lord I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.”

This miniature book illustrates just how powerful God is, consisting of only three chapters! God can use any situation to demonstrate His mighty power! God eventually answers Habakkuk; this is why this book is so valuable. God tells him to “Look among the nations and watch~ Be utterly astounded!” For a season God allowed the cruel treatment to take place. It is here He uses the unbelieving decadent Babylonian pagan nation to reprimand His rebellious nation of people! The Babylonians in time would also suffer punishment for their wickedness…

The Book of Habakkuk boldly demonstrates that our complete Faith and Trust must be in God! We can have complete confidence in Him! When there is much pain, sickness, trouble and distress one must turn first to God and not man! Allow Him to direct you! Remember “Trust in the Lord with ALL thine heart and lean not to your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He WILL direct your path.” Proverbs 3 Although we can study and learn intellectually what actually opens the door to our spiritual wisdom and understanding is our relationship with the Lord. It is so important to know God’s Word! It is here through the Divine power of His Holy Spirit; The Comforter and Teacher where learning the essential keys of life resides! Despite everything that goes on in the world it is important to keep in mind “God is STILL in CONTROL!” God alone deserves to be worshipped, honored and PRAISED!

Habakkuk cries out to the Lord for help! There is very little known about Habakkuk, there is less personal information recorded on him than any other prophet. There was much going on about him. Just like it is in the 21st century today! Like Habakkuk we too can turn to the Lord in times of distress. He tells us “Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem the righteous, so that justice is perverted. Look at the nations and watch and be utterly amazed.” Look how applicable this is today! Remember, although “bad things are happening to good people” God has not forgotten us! When you know that things are not right, when you know that there have been injustices against you it is important to know God in His time will vindicate you! Sometimes you just have to be patient and humbly wait! Knowing that what is important is that “God Knows,” in the meantime draw close to the Lord! You must learn to put things in their proper perspective!

How often have you heard someone say; “That’s not fair!” What does it mean to be fair? According to Webster’s’; pleasing to the eye or mind a flawless quality; clear legible, unbiased or impartial. What makes anyone think that life is fair? Life is not fair, but God is! God is ALWAYS right! As Habakkuk says; “The righteous will live by Faith!” The Apostle Paul also says this in Romans and again in Galatians! It is also once again confirmed in Hebrews! The question is often asked; “Why does bad things happen to good people?” Really, in essence the TRUTH is only God is good!

Judah, God’s people had a series of wicked kings that did not subscribe to God’s way, they rejected Him and His principles they adopted the ways of the world. Judah had a young King Josiah, he believed and trusted in God but his successors did not. King Josiah tried to turn their hearts back to the Lord but it only lasted for a season. He had instituted significant spiritual reforms in Judah! Eventually they were finally invaded and taken into Babylonian captivity under King Nebuchadnezzar. During captivity they were oppressed, persecuted and their possessions were taken away. The Babylonians were a strong military force they were a nation that plundered the goods of many. Does any of this sound familiar? Habakkuk was aware that the Babylonians were being used to punish Judah. He realized that there were some things that they would experience that did not seem fair…

Habakkuk realized that the people were actually being disciplined. He prays to God on their behalf and asks for mercy. He did not quite understand why this was happening but He trusted God anyway! “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in your day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.” Regardless how things look or appear and no matter what happens God always does what is right! There are many things in our little finite minds that we will never quite understand. But we can surely always lean and Trust on an all knowing Infinite God who knows exactly what is going on! Habakkuk knew that God would triumph. We too can be reassured He will in His time vindicate us when we are sincere and faithful to Him! We must learn how to patiently wait for Him. We must focus on God and not the circumstance. Our strength and Joy comes from the Lord! Even though it may appear that the wicked prosper at your expense sometimes, in the long run they really don’t !

Today when many are turning away from God’s principles, When right is yoking up with what is wrong, When the world is saying this is right and the scriptures is saying that is wrong… When nothing seems to make sense; “wait on the Lord!” We never get to the point that we are not susceptible to spiritual attacks and oppression no matter how much we plan or grow spiritually. This is why we have to continuously pray and daily seek God’s face. This is why we need a Savior! Praise God! Hallelujah anyhow!!!

One can be encouraged as Habakkuk reminds us how “the sun and moon stood still in their habitation!” This happened when Israel gained victory over the Amorites at Gibeon the Lord made the sun stand still, during a battle for Joshua! (See Joshua 10) Although we cannot see what God is doing we have to learn to trust Him! We should always consult God and let Him know how we are feeling even though He already knows! God will take us through the test and trials designed by man and over the landmines put in our path. Look around today and see there are many economic difficulties, families in crisis, marriages resulting in divorces, sickness, diseases and natural disasters! Know God is Able! God is here to help us endure any hardships that may arise in life! It is to Him we must look to, He is Sovereign and greater than any situation! Habakkuk concludes with an illustration of a deer! Notice how a deer can manage to scale and climb up the rugged terrain of seemingly impossible mountain and doesn’t slip! As Habakkuk says: “Yet I will REJOICE in the Lord, I will be JOYFUL in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my STRENGTH; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.” Keep looking to the Lord! It is here in Habakkuk we find “The Lord is in His Holy Temple. Let all the earth keep silent before Him” Praise God!

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