Lamentations is traditionally believed to be written by Jeremiah. Suffering was certainly his plight as he prophesied warnings of woe to a people who did not have a desire to hear. Like Jeremiah we too will suffer for being unwanted, rejected, misunderstood or not liked by a few. Not one person is exempt from feeling sorrow. Jesus knew that part of the human condition was suffering, and yet He chose to suffer for our souls. We are as wise as Solomon when we praise God in all things, and choose to suffer well. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself; ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him. (3:22)
The book of Lamentations was written while the children of God suffered for seventy years in Babylon. As the gates and walls of the Holy City were set on fire, they also watched the horror of cannibalism, the murder of Priests, the slaying of innocent children and the sacrilege of the Temple of God being destroyed. The body and spirit of God’s people suffered the greatest of agony. Lamentations gives dignity to suffering.
The Word of God hides nothing from us. God tells how He delivered His people from Egyptian slavery 1,200 years before Christ was born. There was much singing and dancing in celebration of their freedom from slavery. Then only 587 years before the Messiah walked the streets of Jerusalem, because of disobedience, God’s people were slaves once again in Babylon.
As we cry out today, and as the Israelites sincerely prayed, God’s comfort encircles us. Adoration of our just and holy God transforms the atmosphere of all those who spend time in the glory of His Presence. Our Father in heaven knows the insults, and the evil plots against us.
While they mourned how Jerusalem had lost its finery, and as we complain about how Mexico City, California, or Guadalajara has lost its alluring glamour, we must pray that God brings us back to our senses. We are wise to realize that a country or a city is not made of a substance that lasts; it is made up of people that perish. We are all pots of clay, molded by the loving hands of the Potter. Returning to our sense of justice, we stand firmly on God’s Word. The Israelites became compassion filled rather than angry when they were forced to turn over their homes and belongings to aliens. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5)
Reading this tear filled account of how our ancestors suffered, let us remember how Jesus had to suffer many things. He was rejected by His generation, and yet He was filled with compassion and laid down His life in order to secure our salvation.
LESSON: Stop, and praise God in all things.
Copyright © 2019 by Barbara Alley Hoyle.
All rights reserved.
“It is finished” 5/18/19