October 29, 2021

Lamentations 1:1–2:22

The author of the book of Lamentation is Jeremiah, who wrote it sometime after the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.. 

Pastor Chuck Smith, “The book of Lamentation is a series of five elegies written by Jeremiah as he mourned the burning of Jerusalem after the Babylonians ransacked the city.”

An elegy is a poem of serious reflection, typically a lament for the dead.

The NKJV introduction to the book shares the following words, “Lamentations describes the funeral of a city. It is a tearstained portrait of the once proud Jerusalem, now reduced to rubble by the invading Babylonian hordes. In a five-poem dirge, Jeremiah exposes his emotions. A death has occurred; Jerusalem lies barren.

Jeremiah writes his lament in acrostic or alphabetical fashion. Beginning each chapter with the first letter aleph, he progresses verse by verse through the Hebrew alphabet (every three verses in chapter three). In the midst of this terrible holocaust, Jeremiah triumphantly cries out, ‘Great is thy faithfulness’ (3:23). In the face of death and destruction, with life seemingly coming apart, Jeremiah turns tragedy into a triumph of faith. God has never failed him in the past. God has promised to remain faithful in the future. In the light of the God he knows and loves, Jeremiah finds hope and comfort.”

In the meantime, however, the once thriving city of Jerusalem, has been thrown “down” (Lamentations 2:1, 2, 17). Jeremiah doesn’t blame it on the Babylonians, he gives full credit to God.

Speaking of the LORD Jeremiah writes:

Lamentations 2:2b, (NKJV) “He cast down from heaven to the  earth, the beauty of Israel…”

Lamentations 2:4b, (NKJV) “He has poured out His fury like fire…”

Lamentations 2:6 a, (NKJV) “He has done violence to His tabernacle…He has destroyed His place of assembly…”

Lamentations 2:7b, (NKJV) “He has abandoned His sanctuary…”

Lamentations 2:8b, (NKJV) “He has stretched out a line; He has not withdrawn His hand from destroying…”

There was to be no mistake about it, we mustn’t be sidetracked or miss the message, this judgment was from the LORD! And this judgment was because of their persistent, resistant, consistent, and insistent…sin.

Lamentations 1:5b (NKJV) “…for the LORD has afflicted her because of the multitude of her transgressions.”

Lamentations 1:8a (NKJV) “Jerusalem has sinned gravely, therefore she has become vile.”

Lamentations 1:18a (NKJV) “The LORD is righteous, for I rebelled against His commandment.”

Lamentations 1:20 (NKJV) “See, O LORD, that I am in distress; My soul is troubled; My heart is overturned within me, for I have been very rebellious.”

When I first read about Jerusalem’s “lovers” in Lamentations 1:2, 19, I wondered what it meant. the Bible Knowledge Commentary had this to say, “She needed the comfort of her lovers and friends, but it did not come. She had forsaken her true Lover and Friend Yahweh, for false gods and foreign alliances. But in her hour of need her fickle friends were not to be found. They had become her enemies. She had no one to help ease her misery.”

The other day I was sent out on a Chaplain call for EMPD. A man’s wife had passed and asked for a chaplain. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone mourn as this man did. He was completely distraught, he asked for prayer, he had a VERY difficult time letting the body go, blocking the exit, he shouted and pounded his fist on the vehicle taking the body away. It was heartbreaking to see. In some ways his depth of grief reminds me of what I’m reading in Lamentations. The difference, however, is this all could have been avoided…if only Jerusalem, if only Judah had stayed true to the Lord their God.

Jeremiah summed it up aptly:

Lamentations 1:9 (NKJV) “…she did not consider her destiny.”

Philemon 1:1-25

While Paul was in a Roman prison, he met a young man named Onesimus, who was a runaway slave. Paul led him to the Lord.

It turns out that this young man had run away from a Christian in Colossae by the name of Philemon. Paul knew Philemon because he had also led him to the Lord.

Under Roman law Onesimus could be executed for running away, but Paul would fight for his life because subsequent to salvation, Onesimus had manifested a servant’s heart under the leadership and ministry of the great Apostle…hence the letter.

Paul knew it was the right thing to do, to send Onesimus back and let his owner, Philemon, make the decision. Paul could have forced him or twisted his arm to let the young man go, but he humbly appealed to Philemon just as Jesus appeals to the Father for us; to receive us, as He would Himself…He loves us as if we were His own heart (Philemon 1:12).

Since God had genuinely worked in the heart of Philemon (v. 5 mentions the evidence of faith and love) he was confident that Philemon would let Onesimus go free, and that he would do so generously so that he could serve alongside Paul in the ministry.

What a beautiful account of the sovereign grace of God, not only then in the first generation of Christianity, but for all of us, in every generation that has followed.

Psalm 101:1-8

This Psalm seems to describe the rule of David in his home, and also in his palace. This Psalm reveals David’s heart in ruling, and in many ways reveals God’s heart as well

What a great goal, to walk within our homes with a perfect (right/mature) heart (Psalm 101:2).

I also love the declaration in:

Psalm 101:3, “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes.” 

Although the scope is much broader and deeper, this passage would be good to put in the vicinity of our televisions. What are we watching? What we letting into our hearts through our eyes?

David was deeply grieved over the backsliders, the perverse in heart, the slanderers, the prideful liars – these types would not be a part of his “house,” his administration. David knew all too well that the land of Israel, and the city of Jerusalem, would be influenced by the administration he chose…he also would be influenced, so he needed to choose wisely (Proverbs 12:26).

Psalm 101:6 (NLT) “I will search for faithful people to be my companions. Only those who are above reproach will be allowed to serve me.”

Proverbs 26:20

Proverbs 26:20, “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.”

What a difference in the family, in the ministry, in society…it would make, if only we’d stop telling tales, and ganging up on others with gossip and strife!

If only we would…get rid of that “wood!”

If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.

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