Jeremiah 39:11-18; Jeremiah 40:1-6; 2 Kings 25:8-21; Jeremiah 52:12-27; 2 Chronicles 36:15-21; Lamentations 1:1-22
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Today we begin the book of Lamentations! Lamentations is a short 5 chapter book. It's essentially a post-script to the book of Jeremiah, and was likely written by the prophet Jeremiah. It is a book that surveys and laments Jerusalem and the Temple after the destruction of both by the Babylonians in about 586 B.C. A wonderful commentary on the book of Lamentations by Donald Curtis titled “The Fall of Jerusalem” is at this link - surf about 2/3rds the way down this page to get a good chapter by chapter overview of Lamentations - and to dive into info on the acrostics, etc.
~ Lamentations ~
Date: Sixth century B.C.
Content: The book of Lamentations is a funeral song, written for the fallen city of Jerusalem. It was composed by Jeremiah, who was an eye-witness of all he describes in such vivid detail. He shows the destruction in all its horror so that it could never again be asked, “Why did no one ever tell us the awful price we would have to pay for disobeying God?” There is very little of comfort, but Jeremiah’s prayer in chapter 5 does look beyond the desolate ashes of the once glorious Jerusalem to God whose throne endures forever. Only there can Jeremiah find any solace.
Theme: Lamentations is a declaration of the wrath of God. It portrays the bitter truth that God had promised judgment upon sin, and Judah had been foolish enough to put God to the test. Bad as that was, the deeper tragedy was that it did not have to be. God’s faithfulness is great, being renewed every morning, and his compassion never fails. Had Judah only obeyed, it all could have been avoided. The warning and the promise found in this book should be emblazoned in the skies for all to see. (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” pp. 13-14) Below is an engraving by Gustaf Dore of these Lamentations of Jeremiah...
Lamentations chapter 1 verse 1 sets the tone & stage for this book - "Jerusalem's streets, once bustling with people, are now silent. Like a widow broken with grief, she sits alone in her mourning. Once the queen of nations, she is now a slave." Why is this so? Well, we just read the book of the prophet Jeremiah, so we know why... One thing to keep in mind when reading Lamentations - it provides a glimpse at the devastating affects of unchecked & unrepentant sin. Per this verse above, do you think our sin change our position in life from being a "queen" to a "slave"?
I think it is important to realize that God did provide so much grace and compassion toward Jerusalem and Judah in the book of Jeremiah before everything got to the devastating point that it is in the book of Lamentations. God sent the prophet Jeremiah to warn Judah over and over and over again.... However, there was no repentance of sin and things got worse and worse - until it got to the point that God had no choice but to discipline Judah through Babylon's taking Judah captive. We do need to know that unrepentant, unsorrowful, unchecked sin in our lives can lead to horrifically sorrowful things happening in our lives. And perhaps, by us hitting a rock bottom, like Jerusalem clearly is here in Lamentations, there will be an opportunity for discipline and ultimate redemption...
Today in Lamentations 1:14 we read: "My sins have been bound into a yoke; by his hands they were woven together. They have come upon my neck and the Lord has sapped my strength. He has handed me over to those I cannot withstand.” Do you believe that sin can become a “yoke” around your neck? Can sin sap your strength? Can sin hand you over to those you cannot withstand? How can you be freed from this yoke of sin? Perhaps these words from Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30 will give us some ideas - “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” If there is a yoke of sin around your neck, will you allow Jesus to remove that yoke? Will you exchange the yoke of sin for the yoke of rest that Christ offers you today?
Worship God: Today's readings in Jeremiah 40 reminded me of The After's wonderful song called "Light Up the Sky." Here's a great live version of this song:
Has God lit up the sky for you? Click here for Light!
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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