Today’s reading is very heavy. I don’t know whether to be sad for Jerusalem, or say ‘you got what you deserved’. But then, I remember me. How many chances have I had? Too many to count! Nevertheless, my heart does break for them and wish that they didn’t always pick the hard way. I truly wish they had repented and avoided the wrath of God. Some of the things described in this book are horrible.
Lamentations 1:21b (MEV): All my enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that You have done it.
Lamentations 2:5-6 (MEV): The Lord has become like an enemy; He has swallowed up Israel, He has swallowed up all her palaces; he has destroyed her strongholds, and has increased mourning and lamentation in the daughter of Judah. He has violently taken away His tabernacle as if it were a garden; He has destroyed His place of assembly; the Lord has caused the solemn feasts and Sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion.
Lamentations 2:15 (MEV): All who pass by clap their hands at you; they hiss and shake their heads at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, “Is this the city that men call the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth?”
Lamentations 2:17 (MEV): The Lord has done what He planned; He has fulfilled His word that He had commanded in the days of old. He has thrown down and has not pitied, and He has caused the enemy to rejoice over you; He has exalted the power of your adversaries.
Lamentations 3:10-12 (MEV): He is to me a bear lying in wait, a lion in hiding. He has turned aside my ways and torn me in pieces; He has made me desolate. He has bent Hs bow and set me as a target for the arrow.
Lamentations 3:43-45 (MEV): You have covered Yourself with anger and pursued us; You have killed and not pitied. You have covered Yourself with a cloud, so that no prayer should pass through. You have made us filthy refuse in the midst of the peoples.
Can you imagine living through this? In one verse it said ‘it would be better to be killed by the sword than to die of hunger’. It reminds me of what may happen in the last days. It reminds me that the scriptures were given to us to teach us, to help us learn from other people’s mistakes. I never want to experience a “cloud” blocking my prayers. It makes me thankful for the blood of Jesus! As much as it grieves me that Christ had to die for my sins, it covers my life and gives me hope. It reminds me of the following verse:
Lamentations 3:26 (MEV): It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed; His compassions do not fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that a man should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
I am so thankful for the mercies of the Lord. I personally hate to wait. I don’t like to wait in line, wait for the mail or a package when it is something that I want. But now I see what a treasure it is to wait on the Lord. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him. I sure want the Lord to be good to me!
Psalm 137: 1-4 (MEV): By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion. We hung our harps upon the poplars. For there our captors made us sing and our tormentors made us entertain, saying “Sing us one of the songs of Zion” How shall we sing the song of the Lord in a foreign land?
The tormentor may have had ill motives to make them sing, but Oh, if your heart is right before the Lord, it could be the healing balm of Gideon flowing over your soul. It does not matter where you are, God is always nearby and can always touch a heart fixed on him, no matter the surroundings. Don’t let the captor win, sing with all your heart.
As is discussed in I Peter 4, We are no longer to live as those around us do. We are to look inward. We are to put down the flesh and pick up the will of God. I will give an account of all that I have done, not what you did, but what I did, so my focus should be on my deeds. I don’t want to have to hang my head in shame when I stand before the Lord. But thankfully, because of the blood that covers me, He will be the lifter of my head!
I Peter 4:7-11 (MEV): The end of all things is near. Therefore, be solemn and sober so you can pray. Above all things have unfailing love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without complaining. As everyone has received a gift, even so serve one another with it, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone serves, let him serve with the strength that God supplies, so that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ to whom be praise and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Can you imagine how life would be if we lived like this? It would be heaven on earth! I think that I should strive to treat everyone with love, no matter their station in life. And, I should do it and not complain. It should be an honor for me to do this, to glorify a God who has given me so much. Then why is it so hard?
My God, You are so gracious to us, yet You are a consuming fire as well! Help me to learn from the mistakes of the Israelites and others more currently in my life. Help me not to follow after them, but to follow you. Help me to serve without complaining. Sometimes it seems like the one I am serving is so ungrateful, but it is what I do that counts for me, not how they receive it. It is so hard, so Holy Spirit, I need your help to be gracious to all I encounter. God, I need your strength, I cannot do it alone. I need You in my life every day, all day long. Please Holy Father, I ask for your help, in Jesus’ name, Amen.