1: "How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations. She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave." - Jeremiah writes a funeral song for Jerusalem, the city he once loved and which is now lost and destroyed.
2: "Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are upon her cheeks. Among all her lovers there is none to comfort her. All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies." - The Israelites in Jerusalem had been turning to other countries such as Egypt for allegiance instead of turning to God. Now help from those countries was no where to be found.
5: "Her foes have become her masters; her enemies are at ease. The LORD has brought her grief because of her many sins. Her children have gone into exile, captive before the foe." - Still personifying the city of Jerusalem as a weeping widow, Jeremiah illustrates her plight, the worse plight a woman can face - the loss of her children, as a direct punishment from God for the sins she committed.
Points to Contemplate:
Do you ever feel isolated from God?
If so, what do you do? When life has dealt you all of its cruelest blows and everywhere you turn you see and experience fear, destruction, death, and weeping, what does your heart feel like doing? Is it a time to sing joyful praise? Are you supposed to feel happy regardless of your situation? Jeremiah grieved heavily at the loss of his people. Jerusalem had been completely and utterly destroyed. Death ruled the day. And Jeremiah wept. In his songs from the Book of Lamentations, Jeremiah pours out his pain and love to God. Can you pour out your heart to God? Can you turn over all your pain to His loving care?
What have you learned about God from the pain in your life? Have these been opportunities to grow closer to God? Have they strengthened your relationship with Him? Have they revealed more of His love and provided you with a larger image of who He is and what He can do for you? Through the destruction of Jerusalem and the resulting exile and captivity at the hands of the Babylonians, the Israelites grew stronger in their faith in God. Are there things you can do in the midst of your struggles that will help your faith grow stronger? Will you be able to rely more heavily on Him in every aspect of your life? Will you turn to Him more readily and rely on His Spirit more fully?
Are your sins the cause of your pain? Do you blame others for the pain you suffer? Was your divorce the fault of your spouse? Is the separation from a family member due their stubbornness or lack of understanding? Are your struggles at work caused by an uncaring boss or pesky co-worker? Is your anger as you drive in congested traffic directed at the "idiot" in front of you? When will you look inward and accept your role in these problems? When will you turn to God, ask for His forgiveness, and seek His guidance? When will you open yourself to His transforming love and begin the pathway to true healing in your life? Promises of the Gospel:
Lamentations is not an easy book to read. Jeremiah pours out his grief in the form of a funeral dirge. Grief, pain, and lamenting fill the pages. Generally when we read the Bible, we seek the "Good News." We want to be uplifted with songs of praise and thanksgiving. However, there are times in our lives when grief is all we feel. There are times when we just want God hear our woes and feel the pain we feel. Lamentations shows us that it is okay to grieve. That turning our suffering over to God is exactly what He wants us to do. Times of struggle, pain, suffering, and anguish can be and should be times that we grow closer to God. It may not seem like it in the midst of the darkness that surrounds us but as time passes, as the struggles diminish, and as healing occurs, we can look back and see that God was always there, loving and supporting us so that we could eventually grow closer to Him. Lamenting begins the healing process and pain reveals more of God's glory than we could ever have imagined.
Gary, right on! Very well done. Deep thoughts which lead to introspection and a thirsting for God. I think this one is the best of yours that I've read.
By the way, one of my favorite scriptures of refreshing is from Lamentations!
"This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:21-23 (NKJV). Bobbi