- Lam. 1:1-2:22
Today's reading is part 1 of 2 regarding the book of Lamentations. Although the writer is never identified, it is generally accepted that Jeremiah wrote the book. The name, Lamentations, is a composition of several sad songs, called laments, regarding the fall of Jerusalem and the pitiful state of the destroyed land. Jeremiah has been proven a true prophet of GOD as his prophesies have come to pass, but he finds no comfort in being right as he considers the state of his once-proud homeland in the wake of such disaster.
The book begins:
1 How lonely sits the city That was full of people! How like a widow is she, Who was great among the nations! The princess among the provinces Has become a slave! 2 She weeps bitterly in the night, Her tears are on her cheeks; Among all her lovers She has none to comfort her. All her friends have dealt treacherously with her; They have become her enemies. 3 Judah has gone into captivity, Under affliction and hard servitude; She dwells among the nations, She finds no rest; All her persecutors overtake her in dire straits. 4 The roads to Zion mourn Because no one comes to the set feasts. All her gates are desolate; Her priests sigh, Her virgins are afflicted, And she is in bitterness. 5 Her adversaries have become the master, Her enemies prosper; For the LORD has afflicted her Because of the multitude of her transgressions.
(Lam. 1:1-5 NKJV)
Jeremiah acknowledges that the punishment they now face was just and that it is of the LORD.
2 Without pity the Lord has swallowed up all the dwellings of Jacob; in his wrath he has torn down the strongholds of Daughter Judah. He has brought her kingdom and its princes down to the ground in dishonor. 3 In fierce anger he has cut off every horn of Israel. He has withdrawn his right hand at the approach of the enemy. He has burned in Jacob like a flaming fire that consumes everything around it.
(Lam. 2:2-3 NIV)
5 The Lord is like an enemy; he has swallowed up Israel. He has swallowed up all her palaces and destroyed her strongholds. He has multiplied mourning and lamentation for Daughter Judah. 6 He has laid waste his dwelling like a garden; he has destroyed his place of meeting. The LORD has made Zion forget her appointed festivals and her Sabbaths; in his fierce anger he has spurned both king and priest. 7 The Lord has rejected his altar and abandoned his sanctuary. He has given the walls of her palaces into the hands of the enemy; they have raised a shout in the house of the LORD as on the day of an appointed festival.
8 The LORD determined to tear down the wall around Daughter Zion. He stretched out a measuring line and did not withhold his hand from destroying. He made ramparts and walls lament; together they wasted away.9 Her gates have sunk into the ground; their bars he has broken and destroyed. Her king and her princes are exiled among the nations, the law is no more, and her prophets no longer find visions from the LORD.
10 The elders of Daughter Zion sit on the ground in silence; they have sprinkled dust on their heads and put on sackcloth. The young women of Jerusalem have bowed their heads to the ground. 11 My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within; my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city. (Lam. 2:5-11 NIV)
The situation was so bad in Jerusalem that parents were actually eating the flesh of their children. How incredibly awful and gross!
20 “Look, LORD, and consider: Whom have you ever treated like this? Should women eat their offspring, the children they have cared for? Should priest and prophet be killed in the sanctuary of the Lord? 21 “Young and old lie together in the dust of the streets; my young men and young women have fallen by the sword. You have slain them in the day of your anger; you have slaughtered them without pity.
(Lam. 2:20-21 NIV)
Let these sad words remind us how serious GOD is about us obeying His words and responding to His discipline. Don't let it come to this level of suffering in your own life as a result of your choices. And think, as bad as this is, it doesn't touch the suffering that people will see in hell on that last great day.