In the Book of Lamentations, Jeremiah gives a first-hand, eye witness account of the destruction of Jerusalem. And as the days wear on in chaos and ruin…Jeremiah becomes more and more despondent at the horrific sights, sounds, and smells of his much-loved city. The deep sorrow within him is overwhelming as he watches Jerusalem brought to its knees. But somehow Jeremiah is able to look beyond all the death and devastation around him and put his eyes on God. He centers himself on the things he knows about God…that His love never fails, that God is merciful and kind, and that his hope only comes from Him. Today, take your focus off the disruption and conflict around you and focus instead on God…or as Psalm 130:7 tells us, “Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love…”
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.
The Lord calls you to do His work and instead, you balk. You feel incapable, inept, and unfit for the job. Wonderful! You’re in great company! Here King David, a man after God’s own heart, lamented…”Who am I Lord to be used by You?” When God called Moses, all he could do was make excuses and ask, “Who am I?” (Exodus 3:11) Isaiah, when called, could only fixate on his own sinfulness and unclean lips, not on what God was commissioning him to do.(Isaiah 6:5) Jeremiah tried to justify not obeying the Lord by claiming he was too young to preach. (Jeremiah 1:6) And Ezekiel when called, just got angry. (Ezekiel 3:14) Realize that you are not alone when you feel unworthy and unqualified for the plan God has laid out before you. He would not have called you if He wasn’t absolutely certain you were the best one for the job. Please understand that the Lord isn’t asking you to do it alone…He’ll be with you every step of the way…He’s only asking for your obedience.
In this world of immediate gratification… where there seems to be no control or limits placed on decency or morality anymore…should we be surprised when young people aimlessly wander through life without goals, plans, and purpose? Their whole life has been centered around the next selfie…the next Social Media post…the next momentary pleasure. For when you ask them what they want to be doing in five years and how they’re going about achieving that right now…they give you a blank stare. Without direction, we flounder. Without limits, we lose inhibitions. Without a plan and purpose, our life is truly meaningless and empty. God has a plan and purpose for everyone…a wonderful life full of joy, self-discovery, and most of all peace.
It’s easy to trust the Lord when everything is going great in our lives. When we’re happy and healthy and all around us is peaceful…it’s almost effortless to put our faith in God. But it’s what happens when the unexpected and the unanticipated crash into our lives that really shows how rooted and grounded we are in Him. Droughts are long dry spells when rain doesn’t fall…the plants wither and the ground cracks. There are times when all of us can go through “spiritual” dry spells. Times when our soul seems parched, our body is withering, and our mind cracking under the stress… and we feel God is so far away. But if we’re firmly rooted in the streams of living water, regardless of the trial, we can still flourish and grow.
The Apostle Paul is quoting Deuteronomy 32:35 urging others not to seek justice themselves out of anger or spite. For Proverbs 20:22 tells us, “Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong!’ Wait for the Lord, and He will deliver you.” But when we’re angry and frustrated, and think no one has our back…we tend to react badly. It’s at that point that we need to take a deep breath and remember that the Lord tells us that He will defend us. (Jeremiah 51:36)
God is mighty and strong on our behalf. There is nothing that God can’t do. In addressing the Lord, Jeremiah stated, “Nothing is too hard for You.” (Jeremiah 32:17) The Creator of heaven and earth is not confined to time, place or our limited reasoning. For our mighty God can attain the unattainable…make the impossible possible, and take the out of the question and answer it with a miracle.
The Lord is a just and fair God. To the Believer and the unbeliever He is the same. To one there is reward, to the other punishment. To one there is requital, to the other, retaliation. Measure for measure it’s the same…paying back in full, in all righteousness… we all will stand before Him to be judged one day.
In God’s perfect plan, not one human-being would experience Hell and eternal death. But He’s also not sitting up in heaven with a big sledge hammer, relishing the thought of punishing sinners. Quite the opposite, for in II Peter 3:9 it says, “The Lord is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Our Lord is graciously waiting for all to turn to Him…but we have to make the first move…not only admitting our sin, but accepting responsibility and confessing… we need You, Lord.