Therefore I will hope — The book of Lamentations

Today will be a two-fur — a combined blog comment for both Sunday and Monday. Lamentations really is best read as a whole anyway.

A Summary of the book

Lamentations was written by a broken hearted Jeremiah. From the things that are written here, we can safely assume, I believe, that Jeremiah was writing this after the final destruction of the city and the Temple. The first two chapters are written as if it were the destroyed Jerusalem herself that is lamenting her destruction, her people’s destruction and exile, and the destruction and desecration of her Temple. The third chapter is clearly Jeremiah speaking, then, for himself — at first is deep grief, then in a glimmer of hope, and then in a cry to the LORD for justice against those who had so foolishly oppressed him for telling them the truth. Chapter four recounts the horrors of the siege — almost a post-traumatic-stress flashback to the stricken prophet. The fifth chapter then wraps it all up by asking for mercy — LORD, please give us some hope.

Getting fooled doesn’t make us innocent

How many in Jerusalem died believing that things would be alright? Lamentations 2:14 “Your prophets have seen for you False and foolish visions; And they have not exposed your iniquity So as to restore you from captivity, But they have seen for you false and misleading oracles.” Being ignorant was no protection. Following deceived leaders didn’t help them evade the final outcome of death and destruction. Listening to and obeying God would have. That’s the reason that teachers and leaders are so accountable before God — they are the influencers and they can lead us to salvation or off a cliff. Of course, followers have responsibility — not to merely listen to what we’d like to believe, but to listen to God. That’s why Bible reading is so important. It’s a source of the truth that has proven itself unimpeachable over the ages.

It is new every morning

Lamentations 3:22-24 is the foundation of a great spiritual song, but maybe you’d never known the context of this uplifting song — profound grief and lamentation. Maybe that’s what makes it so uplifting — to know that no matter how bad things may be, the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning. Yes, they are new every morning; things could turn on a dime tomorrow, if God has a hand in it. Have hope!!!

Does anyone have the right to complain?

Jeremiah, of course, is full of messages that we really don’t want to hear, and here’s one more: Lamentations 3:39, 40 “Why should any living mortal, or any man, Offer complaint in view of his sins? Let us examine and probe our ways, And let us return to the LORD.” All that bad stuff that happens to me, do I really have any ground to complain? It reminds me of what parents will sometimes say to their kids, when they find out that they punished them unjustly: “Well that was just for all that times I didn’t catch you and didn’t punish you.” Do bad things sometimes happen to us when we did do anything wrong? Did good things happen to us when we really deserved punishment?

See you tomorrow, Lord willing.

 

 

 

 

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About parklinscomb

I'm a minister for the church of Christ in Manchester NH where I've worked since the 1970's. I'm a big fan of my family, archaeology, the Bible, the Lord's church, and Gander Brook Christian Camp.
This entry was posted in Bible commentary, Christianity, Old Testament and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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