The writer of Lamentations is Jeremiah who spent most of his life warning the Jewish people about their blatant sin against God. So as he observes the utter destruction and desolation of Jerusalem, he can hardly take it all in. So aptly named, Lamentations is his lament…his grief at what once was…to what now lies before him. Jeremiah was known as the “weeping prophet”…a man crying out to his countrymen to repent and turn from their sins…only to now witness the consequences of their rebellion first hand. But this horrific scene didn’t stop Jeremiah from continuing to intercede on behalf of his people…confessing their great sinfulness and appealing to God for mercy.
Jeremiah was not popular among the people of Judah! His message from the Lord was primarily one of judgment, which lead to his life often being threatened. During his over 40 years of ministry Jeremiah often implored God to protect him…”Remember me, O Lord; remember me and care for me.” (Jeremiah 15:15) and “Let my persecutors be put to shame, but keep me from shame; let them be terrified, but keep me from terror.” (Jeremiah 17:18) Jeremiah had learned to put his absolute trust in God regardless of what the circumstances looked like around him…for he had discovered there’s no safer place to be than in the very center of God’s Will.
Earlier in this Book of the Old Testament Job had battled with his feelings of abandonment when he said that God was letting loose of his hand and cutting him off. (Job 6:9) Now Job’s feelings of confusion and sorrow were real…as real as the loss of all his children and property. But this feeling of being cut off from the Lord was incorrect…as was his feelings of hopelessness. For there will be many times in our lives that what we pray for and expect God to take care of won’t happen. The young child will still die an untimely death…the diagnosis of cancer will still take our dear friend…and our years-long prayer for a baby will go unanswered. But that doesn’t mean that God has turned His back on us or that He has banished all hope. In the 3rd chapter of Lamentations, Jeremiah’s overwhelming sorrow and hopelessness is overshadowed by this statement, “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.” God is still there…still loving us…still in control. The question is, can you be ok with that?
In these verses, Jeremiah is looking over the utter destruction of Jerusalem…overwhelmed by the suffering of the people…and realizing it was because of their sin that God had allowed it. But Jeremiah also knew of God’s tremendous capacity for compassion towards His people. For in Isaiah 54: 7-8 God says, ” For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you, says the Lord your Redeemer.” Never underestimate God’s compassion to change any situation from dire to miraculous.
It’s part of life here on earth…trials, illness, and loss are inevitable. Jeremiah 8:15 sums it up very well how we can feel at these times, ” We hoped for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there was only terror.” In these fearful, confusing times we long for the light at the end of the tunnel…but all we see is darkness. “He has blocked my way so I cannot pass…” In this verse, the Hebrew word for blocked is gadar – which means to build or heap up stones to make a wall. We sometimes do feel walled in or blocked off… but know God may be also protecting you from unseen evil you know nothing about. In those dark times, we need to put all our trust in the Lord and wait for the storm to pass.
Isaiah gives a vivid picture of this knowledge of the Lord in Chapter 11, verse 9 when he says, “For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” All mankind has the opportunity to experience the Lord in a personal way…to have intimate fellowship with the Creator of the universe. For you can be “told” about God all your life, but it’s not until you fully grasp what Jesus did for you on that Cross…dying so you may live…that you can really “know” Him. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8
Why do you persist in rebellion? Great question, right? We stubbornly continue down paths of disobedience and willful defiance against God…knowing full well, it’s only hurting ourselves. And if we think about it…most of the injuries we receive are self-inflicted because of the foolish choices we make. Jeremiah 30:17 says, “I will restore you to health and heal your wounds declares the Lord.” Disobedience causes unsoundness within us. But God wants to come and restore us back to health…returning us to wholeness and peace.