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.
The wise men came searching from afar. They had discovered that magnificent new star in the night sky and determined it was a sign…a sign of royalty. And so they began their journey of discovery. So what are you searching for today? Peace, truth, comfort, hope? There is only one place to find what you’re looking for, and it’s in the Name of Jesus Christ…for He’s what you’re ultimately looking for. Nothing in the world will ever compare to Jesus and the love He has for you. And just like the Magi, your quest can conclude by bowing down and worshipping the Messiah.
The Israelites had gathered together and asked Ezra to read the Law. Many had never heard the reading of the Word, for they had been born and raised in Babylonian captivity. The Lord had been faithful in rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem…He had miraculously aided them in rebuilding the crumbled walls…but now it was time to rebuild His people. The Lord is wanting to rebuild His people again…to reclaim, restore, and re-establish Believers for His glory. Now is the time for you to break off the chains of captivity and allow God to begin a new rebuilding project in you.
In only 52 days the wall around Jerusalem was rebuilt, securing it from enemy attack. Despite everything their enemies attempted to do to dissuade and intimidate them, the wall was made strong. In less than 2 months time, the people of Jerusalem had done something of super-human ability… and their enemies realized this. Nothing will ever stand in the way of God’s plan…not people…not circumstances…not anything. And this will render the enemy fearful and in awe of God’s great power.
Nehemiah’s tears were for the ruined city of Jerusalem. His burden for it was immense, for the Lord had laid on him the obligation and passion to rebuild the walls. A burden is a faithful focus of prayer over a long length of time…personal burdens being for family and children. But God also burdens us with other outside issues…things that when we hear about them, we react and ask, “What can I do God?” But the problem arises when we react to everything…and our efforts become scattered and ineffective. We try to do it all, and instead become frustrated, and discouraged. We can’t do everything for everyone…but we can do something. And the wisdom lies in discerning the burden from the emotion.
The book of Ezra recounts the efforts of the Jewish exiles who returned from Babylon to rebuild the Temple. Sixteen years would pass between the laying of the foundation and when work would take up again. God gave them the vision for the Temple…it was started…but then suspended. Just like the exiles, we too hear from God and plunge forward only to be sometimes detained. Sadly, it’s usually at that stoppage we throw in the towel and claim failure. But just because there’s a delay doesn’t mean it’s a defeat. The Lord never goes back on His promises, and any vision He’s given you…even if it’s been years…is still viable in His eyes. Remember, a delay doesn’t mean a defeat.
Jesus had been predicting His death to His Disciples… and they were fearful of traveling to Jerusalem for what they saw as imminent death of their beloved Leader. Jesus didn’t shrink back or go into hiding…rather He had set off resolutely on the road to Jerusalem knowing full well what awaited Him. Isaiah prophesied of this in 50:7, “…therefore I have set My face like flint…” Jesus lead the way, going before the twelve Disciples…completely in control of the situation…not controlled by it.
She could have been down in the street with the rest of the people singing and praising God…for the Ark of the Covenant was finally coming back to Jerusalem. But instead, the bitter Michal watched from afar. And when she saw her husband, King David, acting quite unbecoming for royalty , she publicly mocked him. Her contempt continued to fester, blinding her from the true jubilation of the people and their sincere thankfulness to God. King David attempted to explain this gratitude and joy to her in II Samuel 6: 16-23, when he told her, “I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.” When the masks come off…when the pretentiousness is dropped…when we get real before the Lord and worship with all our might… Heaven moves – hearts are changed- the Lord is pleased.
We all have the same goal as Paul…to complete the calling God has charged us with. Whether that be small or large, in the public eye or in the background – everyone has a ministry to fulfill. And even when forewarned by the Holy Spirit of what was to come, Paul resolutely set his eyes on Jerusalem and the finish line…knowing he had accomplished everything the Lord had mandated for him.
Instead of being astride a fiery stallion, coming to make war…He came to Jerusalem riding a donkey, a sign of desiring peace. Instead of being surrounded by multitudes of troops, He came with a rag-tag group of twelve men, who didn’t have a clue what was happening. Yes, Jesus could have rode into Jerusalem with all the pomp and glory befitting the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but He didn’t. However, He did ride in victorious, as signified by the symbol of the palm branches… victory was already His.