Today’s Reading: Lamentations 4-5; Ezekiel 1-4
Today’s Reflection: Lamentations 4:12
The kings of the earth did not believe, nor any of the inhabitants of the world, that foe or enemy could enter the gates of Jerusalem.
Lamentations chapter 5 begins with a detailed description of everything the people of Judah suffered as their last fortified cities, including Jerusalem, fell:
1) Remember, O LORD, what has befallen us; look, and see our disgrace! 2) Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to foreigners. 3) We have become orphans, fatherless; our mothers are like widows. 4) We must pay for the water we drink; the wood we get must be bought. 5) Our pursuers are at our necks; we are weary; we are given no rest.
And on and on it goes. Suffering, oppression, indignities suffered by men and women, old and young. All because of the sins of Judah, as verse 7 tells us:
Our fathers sinned, and are no more; and we bear their iniquities.
So this suffering is because of the sins of their forefathers and the judgment God has brought upon Judah. But why did their forefathers break the covenant of God, disregard His laws, and turn away from walking with Him? Lamentations 4:12 gives a significant part of the answer: because they thought they could get away with it.
Judah’s elders never thought Jerusalem would or could ever fall—perhaps because in their arrogance they believed God needed them as His chosen people, perhaps because they trusted in the strength of their own arms not recognizing that strength had always been bolstered by God’s provision, protection and power. This is why so many of them believed the report of false prophets who said the Chaldeans and Babylonians threatening their borders would not succeed, and disregarded the oracles of Jeremiah warning them of Judah and Jerusalem’s soon coming destruction.
We are always in a dangerous place when we think we can sin without consequence, that the destruction of God’s displeasure may touch other people but won’t find us, and when we fail to understand that destruction will even reach those who may be innocent within our circles our influence.
Thankfully the end of Lamentations 5 gives hope for the possibility of restoration for those who learn from their mistakes and turn back to God—before it is too late.
Lamentations 5:21 – Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old.