In the past couple of days God has directed my attention to the book of Lamentations. The only time I have ever read or even acknowledged this book is when I read through my Bible in 1 year with the checklist. A book I have been reading referred to Lamentations 3 and a devotional (this one I rarely pick up, like 5 times in the past year), referred to Lamentations 5. Today, I picked up my Bible, opened it and...Lamentations! Ok God, you have my attention. What is it that you want to share from Lamentations?
The book is difficult to get through because of the horrific and painful detail. The book is called Lamentations for that very reason. The word Lamentations is defined as “the passionate expression of grief or sorrow; weeping.” (Google dictionary) The fall of Jerusalem has happened and the poet of Lamentations (possibly Jeremiah) is expressing his sorrow because of this event. Has God forgotten his people? Will he restore them back to Himself? These are God’s chosen people and He has brought destruction.
“For the chastisement of the daughter of my people has been greater than the punishment of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment, and no hands were wrung for her.” (Lamentations 4:6)
Their loss and suffering is worse than Sodom! When Sodom was destroyed, people were taken in a moment; they died. The fall of Jerusalem is so painful because people aren’t dying right away, they are suffering and facing great tragedy and loss.
With all the Christmas preparation going on around me, my focus goes to advent. Why advent? Lamentations talks of horrific loss, punishment, grief, pain, and suffering. My heart is drawn to advent because of the hope that comes with the birth of Jesus. The prophets spent many years talking about and writing of His coming. God’s chosen people were left wondering how and when this would happen especially because their great city had fallen. They were being punished for their sin and were left questioning God’s goodness and faithfulness. Would they be forgotten forever? Would God remain angry with them? Then, I remember - Jesus didn’t come because things were going well and He wanted to come hang out with us in all of our goodness. No, He came to deliver us from all the darkness, brokenness and evil. Jesus had to come.
Next week I will continue on with the hope of His coming and what the birth of Jesus means for us.
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)