|Jeremiah | John | LAMENTATIONS | Ezekiel | Acts ||
|Date||Scriptures||Daily devotional commentary|
Oct 29-Nov 5: John |
|November 6:||Lamentations 1-5||* When the Loss is Too Much, Too Hard, Too Impossible, N Sween|
Nov 7- 22: Ezekiel |
When The Loss Is Too Much, Too Hard, Too Impossible
Nov 6 reading
Dictionary and Books
* Lamentations, MyJewishLearning.com|
* Thanks for Nothing, Sween
|PROMISE: "Why should any living man complain when punished for his sins? Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say: 'We have sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven.'" (3:39-42)|
Jeremiah wrote Lamentations as a group of poems which describe the suffering, destruction, and loss he had experienced firsthand in the time leading up to Judah and Jerusalem's exile to the Babylonian Empire for many Hebrews. No one would have thought Jerusalem would fall, but the city had sinned so much the Lord turned away from them in disgusted rejection. One-time allies betrayed Jerusalem. Even the comfort from false prophets disappeared. Jeremiah prayed for his enemies early on, but now he had suffered so much for all his own sins that Jeremiah asks the Lord to deal with the wickedness of his enemies.
The Lord covered Zion with the cloud of his anger and is like an enemy, swallowing up Israel. The temple of the Lord is gone. The place of meeting Him is gone. The feasts and Sabbaths? Gone. Gentiles entered the abandoned sanctuary and looted the palace. They tore down the wall and removed the king and princes. The law is no more. Prophets find no visions from the Lord. Dust, sackcloth, weeping, torment, starvation, and death have become the lifestyle of Jerusalem. The prophets' visions were false and worthless - not exposing the sin that would have warded off captivity. "Is this the city that was called the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth?" people passing by ask. Once again, "the Lord has done what he planned; he has fulfilled his word which he decreed long ago."
Jeremiah, the faithful prophet, hasn't been spared from broken bones, bitterness, hardship, dwelling in darkness, being walled in, weighted down with chains, his prayers ignored by the Lord, his path going places he never dreamed of going. After Jeremiah's heart was pierced by the Lord, people laughed and mocked him. Bitter herbs and gall became his life, with broken teeth and trampling. There is no peace, and who remembers prosperity? But Jeremiah remembered the Lord's great love, compassions, and faithfulness. So his hope was to quietly wait for the Lord. If someone struck him, he would take it and the disgrace. "For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men." (3:31-33) Both calamities and good things come from what the Most High decrees.
So Jeremiah shows how to see hard times and how the punished can return to the Lord even as the "impossible" is still happening. Not just those to blame are being punished and scattered away, but all associated with them as well.
The old familiar life is gone, shaken up and poured out. The drastic changes of circumstances makes it necessary to buy food and water wherever survivors can find it. And still the punishment continues. "Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure." (5:21-22)
NOTE: Back in Isaiah 66:5, enemies of Israel would ask for the LORD to be glorified so they could sit back and watch God's people demonstrate their joy. Even this was lost in the exile.
| Tomorrow's reading (November 7)