~ 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