~ 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.
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
If you listen closely to the prophets in the Bible they often forewarn the people about things that are going to happen as well as proclaim God’s Word. The word prophet in Hebrew means; spokesperson. God’s people were quite deep into sin, disobedience, civic confusion and rebellion. Isaiah reminds us that our actions have consequences!
More often than not the people did not want to hear what God had to say. Right now in this 21st century things really are Not TOO much different from what was going on then!
Whenever I read Isaiah, I can feel the anguish and heart wrenching despair that intensively emits forth from his soul as the Prophet Isaiah speaks forth an oracle! Isaiah had a difficult mission. Quite often when you speak Truth you can expect to be labeled as “negative” or the bearer of “bad news.” Along with a lot of other flavorful words that I do not subscribe to. Isaiah was a visionary! He had the arduous task of speaking to a group of despondent people. Isaiah passionately shares of the purity of God, how powerful and loving God is and that God is a Holy God! Isaiah exalts God! He vehemently proclaims to the community at large the pitfalls of evil. Yet in return he is called everything but a child of God. He told them that the land was becoming a wasteland! He pleaded with them to turn Back to GOD!
Isaiah did not have some morbid desire to make anyone unhappy. He did not try to tell them anything just for the sake of making them feel bad! He was not a lunatic, neurotic, uncaring, self centered or mentally challenged in any way! It was because he was obedient to the call God had placed on his life. Although hurtful at times he did it to bring about good. To promote change and encourage the people to move towards God’s Way of life.
Today our country is slowly recovering from a recession! Our government even “SHUT DOWN” because President Obama and Congress were not able to agree! LORD HELP US!
We are always on alert for terrorists both foreign and domestic, properties values fell drastically and are now on the rise, homes have been lost, corporations have closed, careers lost, unemployment rates at an all time high, stock devalued, pensions lost, divorce at an all time high, families being pulled and torn apart, murder, crime you name it. I will not even begin to talk about the manipulation and underhanded, orchestrated schemes to undermine people’s integrity and misconstrue their character! Racial discrimination; no wonder the many protests! The moral decline is unspeakable as well. Everybody knows it and no one wants to say it! GOD IS SPEAKING! You can only ignore Him as The Creator for so long! Pandemonium and mayhem have really set in! But wait there is Hope! And yes there is still Joy! “Those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles….” Isaiah 40
This is Prime time for the Word of God to be shouted from the roof tops. It was never meant to just be confined to a brick and mortar building anyway. Please don’t misinterpret what I am saying. There are some beautiful fabulous cathedrals, temples, worships centers and meeting places for the Church! But God never intended that they be full of people who are unhappy, hopeless and full of despair. He never intended for us to just go to church and go right back to another way of life! Nor did He want us to live legalistically unhappy! He intended for His Church to be an international universal family! Jesus came to fulfill the law. He sacrificed His life so we could be Free. FREE to WORSHIP HIM! “In Spirit and in TRUTH! ” To Praise Him through whatever trials, tests, obstacles or land mines the enemy tries to put in your path.
There is nothing I enjoy more than a marvelous Spirit filled Worship service! I Thank & Praise God for His Word Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit! Truly God is the Most High God!
At some time we all are going to experience anxiety, conflict, disappointment, grief or turmoil at some point in our lifetime. As followers of Jesus Christ we are going to have tribulations while in this world. Knowing this in advance will help you to prepare ahead. To acquire some preventative coping skills so you can be better prepared as you go through and not become stagnated and stay in. God has promised to be with us always!
Once the enemy knows and realizes that you “GET IT” that you are aware of his many entrapments, he will do all he can to harness and undermine your good intentions! He will use those who are weak but close to you, to try and pull you down! Remember he loves darkness. Therefore he slips around behind you in the dark lurking to undermine your sincere efforts to shed LIGHT to a world that is ignorant of his many devices. But get this; he can not do anymore than the Lord allows! HALLELUJAH!!! So if you are going through; You have to TRUST GOD! He may try to take everything that you have. But TRUST GOD! He may try to take your health or take the health of your love ones, But TRUST GOD! He may try to divide your home, your marriage and your family, to uproot your children, But TRUST GOD! He may even try to take your life, But TRUST GOD! Always remember he can not do anymore than God allows! But know this when you are God’s child know that when its all said and done in the end WE WIN! PRAISE GOD!
Think about this the enemy wants to steal your JOY! He will use any and everything to do just that! He wants to pull you down emotionally, physically and to lower your standard of living by compromising your principles! Your godly principles are the most INVALUABLE thing you possess! While going through you must open your spiritual eyes and ears!Those you have helped will often get selective amnesia. I often wondered where were all those people that Jesus helped when they crucified Him! It truly is much spiritual warfare about us. Our world and our country is in trouble! But our weapons are not carnal. Is your armor together?
Know God intimately! Pray daily for His Precious Holy Spirit to fill you with His Presence. Then what ever comes your way as it gets too heavy. Do all you can do, then give it to Him and then STAND! TRUST GOD! Regardless of what happens the enemy can’t take your JOY! He will try so do not give it to him! When you know God intimately His Word becomes woven and deeply embedded into the fabric of who you are! “Your WORD have I hidden in my heart so I may not sin against YOU.” If you have let the shade be pulled down over your life and the enemy has inserted, regrets, depression, anxiety, stress, eating disorders, compulsive behaviors, addictions, manipulation, and anything else in as your daily companions that are not of Him. Let it or them go! You have the authority! Use it! Tell them they are not welcomed. Praise GOD!
God is the Ultimate Father, readily accessible to ALL who call upon Him sincerely, believe that His Son Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior, then begin implementing His principles in their life. His gift to you is His Precious Holy Spirit and His gift of Eternal life! No one or nobody can change that. Don’t try to be like someone else! Be the best you, you can be! Everywhere you are He is. So if you have let your JOY go because…. Take it back. “Though you have not seen Him, you LOVE Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious JOY, for you are receiving the goal of your FAITH, the SALVATION of your souls.” I PETER 1
One thing that you can always count on is God is everywhere you are. The question is do you invite His presence? Did you know that it really is “in Him we move and live and have our being.” To better understand this it is important to begin building an ongoing relationship with Him. Just think when something happens; don’t you prefer to talk to someone you know? God is not far away. He in fact is so close that you do not even have to say a Word for Him to hear you. He even knows your every thought! Our little finite minds cannot really conceive of God and all His fullness. But through FAITH we can develop our TRUST in Him.
When a trial comes you are still able to experience that Joy! As a matter of fact Isaiah says; “God will keep you in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on HIM.” In order for this to be so you must learn to Trust Him. This trust grows as you develop an intimate personal relationship with Him! As you begin to think about God as the ultimate Father your possibilities are limitless. This is why it is so important to have the Lord in your life. As you focus on Him while going through God will then give you His peace to go through the conflict. God is a God of Peace and JOY!
There is a song that I want to share with you. If you are ever down and need a pick up! The Words are so profound and I am sure that wherever you are you will find the words helpful.This is one of the worship songs from the “Gospel Music Workshop of America”
I GOT MY JOY BACK
“I got my Joy back. I got a new lease on life. I got my Joy back, down in my soul. Since I let Him have full control. I’ll will let nothing separate me from His Love again. He restored my Joy and revived my soul again! Just like the prodigal son. I found myself in the hog pen. Oh, you know how satan can dress up sin, satan will make wrong seem right. That’s why we’ve got to stay Prayed up, and Focused, and keep looking to the LIGHT
God has been so good to me. I thought I was exempted from trials and tests. From a little child I’ve been abundantly blessed. Every materialistic thing, I wanted, My Mother had it for me there. But I Thank God she NEVER forgot to lead me to the House of Prayer. But when my test came, I stumbled, but I did not fall, I had the Holy Ghost, embedded within me. In God I did REJOICE. That He would lead me, and guide me, when I couldn’t see my way. Yes, He restored my JOY, and He revived my soul again!”
God can give you the “PEACE that surpasses understanding!” Patience is not a hallmark of our society! Sometimes we have to wait; Then Like an eagle we can soar high above the clouds! Its time to move towards getting your JOY BACK!