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 will suffer for being unwanted, rejected, misunderstood or not liked by some. 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. “I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of his wrath. He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than the light; indeed, he has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long.” (Lam 3)
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. (Lam 3:22)
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 of slavery. Then 587 years before the Messiah walked the streets of Jerusalem, because of disobedience, God’s people were slaves once again in Babylon. LESSON: Listen and obey.
His children cried out from the depth of the pit and God came near. Comfort came when they realized that God knows all, all the time. He knew of the insults, the plots against them. The riches of Jerusalem had lost its luster. While mourning they realized that they were not made of gold, but of pots of clay, molded by the loving hands of the Potter. They became compassion filled parents to the fatherless as 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)
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. Jesus enters as peace to the brokenhearted. His Light breaks through to show a rainbow of relief “to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” (Is 61:3)
Reading this tear filled account of how our ancestors suffered, we also remember how Jesus had to suffer many things and be rejected by His generation in order to secure our salvation.
Copyright © 2019 by Barbara Alley Hoyle.
All rights reserved.
“It is finished” 4/18/19