What does it mean to lament? To lament means to feel sorrow, to mourn, to have a passionate expression of intense grief.
Jeremiah authored the book of Lamentations sometime after the fall of Jerusalem. His first book, Jeremiah, predicted Jerusalem’s destruction. Jeremiah was known as the “weeping prophet” and the “prophet of a broken heart,” for he cried for Jerusalem. What caused his grief? The people had rejected God. God had made them, loved them, and continually looked after them and blessed them, yet they still turned their backs on Him. This broke Jeremiah’s heart. He knew that the people’s selfish and sinful ways would bring suffering and exile. Jeremiah had compassion and he understood why God’s heart was broken.
In chapter 1, tells why Jeremiah mourns for Jerusalem. In chapter two, discusses the angriness of God toward sin. In chapter three, speaks on the hope during times of sorrow. In chapter four, states that God has satisfied His anger. And finally, in chapter five, Jeremiah prays for reconditioning.
But today we will look at a few passages of Scripture in the book of Lamentations.
Jerusalem had sinned against God and the Lord is righteous. Here Jerusalem justifies its punishment from the Lord by admitting its sin. It also mentions how its young people were taken into slavery by the conquering nation, Babylon.
Man does not want to hear about God’s anger to sin. Humanity only wants to hear about the love of God. The question should be, how do we feel about our sin and God being angry with us for our sin? Is it right for believers to sit and cry out for justice when the believer is the one that caused the punishment? Too often tele-evangelist and ministers of today all want to profess about the good and the bounty and the prosperity of God but do any of them preach on and against sin? (Deuteronomy 28:32 & 41; 1 Samuel 12:14-15; Psalm 119:75; Jeremiah 12:1)
Undoubtedly Jeremiah cried so much that he could not see. He probably had a headache. His insides churned from the stress. His whole body was wrecked. Jeremiah was sincere and sympathetic. His intense grief was due to the agony and desolation that he saw his people go through. The ‘bowels’ is thought to be the center of emotion, which is probably due to watching the children starve on the city streets.
What sinfulness have we witnessed that has caused us to have similar compassion and sorrow that Jeremiah felt for Jerusalem? Does it grieve us to see sin running rampant through our communities, our state, our nation, or our world? How do you think God feels knowing that He has provided and given so much and yet the world still turns its back on Him? (Job 16:13; Jeremiah 4:19; Lamentations 2:19)
Here we see that Jeremiah saw a ray of hope amongst all the turmoil, God’s compassions fail not. If we ask, God will respond with help. If we ask for forgiveness with a true penitent heart, He will forgive us. There is no sin too great for God’s compassion. God is also faithful. He promised judgment for disobedience, and that is what happened. But God also promises to restore and to bless.
Jeremiah saw the mercies of God because Jerusalem was not totally expended. If Jerusalem had received what they truly deserved, Jerusalem would be no more. Remember Sodom and Gomorrah? Where are they now? The prophets had all said that God would judge them for their sin, to which He has done so but has not destroyed them. A remnant of the faithful have remained.
What about our nation? Will God judge America? Has God judged America? Has God judged us for our sins as a people? (Psalm 78:38; Jeremiah 3:12; Malachi 3:6; Psalm 73:26)
To enter the Temple or to worship God, one could not be unclean or polluted. The priests and prophets were to be careful in maintaining their ceremonial purity. That way they would be clean to perform their duties in the Temple. Unfortunately, many of them had succumbed to sin and evil. They had given the wrong example to the people and had led them into sin, which caused Jerusalem’s collapse. The Priest and prophets did not tell the truth to the people. They were guilty. If we do not present the Word of God today, we are also guilty.
There were some prophets, like Jeremiah, who spoke the truth. But some people paid no attention and were judged. Have we presented the Truth of the Word? (Jeremiah 2:30, 26:8-9, 45:5, 52:24-27; Deuteronomy 28:28-29; Isaiah 9:14-16, 29:10, 56:10, 59:9-10; Leviticus 13:45-46)
Although we have sinned and deserve punishment, God is still the same God. Jeremiah prayed for mercy and grace. He prayed for forgiveness. He asks God to revive renew and revive the people spiritually so that God would be with them. God had rejected them, and God had been angry with them. But God has provided forgiveness, all we need to do is ask. (Psalm 13:1, 44:24, 45:6; Jeremiah 31:18)
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