October 31, 2021

Lamentations 4:1–5:22

Gold  was considered valuable back then, just as it is nowadays, close to $1,700 per ounce. But one day we’ll realize, it’s not that valuable after all – people are. But what happens when people are no longer valued? That’s what happened in Jerusalem. They treated their children as ostriches do:

Pastor Chuck Smith, “The Bible speaks of this unnatural characteristic of the ostrich. The ostrich lays its eggs in the sand and never goes back to see if the little chicks have hatched. They just forsake them. The siege on Jerusalem had lasted for eighteen months and the people had run out of food and were starving to death. It was so bad that it caused God’s people to become unnatural.”

I hesitate to ask, but imagine withholding bread from your children to the point of their death. Imagine eating your children! (Lamentations 4:4).

Lamentations 4:10 (NKJV) “The hands of the compassionate women have cooked their own children; they became food for them in the destruction of the daughter of my people.”

I can’t fathom the depth of such devastation. It was so bad that Jeremiah tells us that it was worse than the punishment Sodom experienced! How can that be? Because Sodom’s destruction was sudden, overthrown in a moment, but Jerusalem’s suffering was unparalleled pain that was prolonged.

O the danger of disobedience!

Lamentations 4:13 (NKJV) “Because of the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests, who shed in her midst the blood of the just.”

Those who at one time ate delicacies, wandered the streets for food. Those who had the finest clothes, were now searching through the garbage. Those who at one time had skin that glowed, healthy and vibrant were now covered with soot. The Babylonians surrounded them in their suffering and eventually captured, conquered, and killed them, their pursuers were swifter than eagles.

Jeremiah closes the chapter by warning that Edom was next. We can’t just read about this, or hear about these things and not take it to heart. What about me? Am I right with the Lord? What about my nation? 

Lamentations 5 is a prayer for restoration, God’s people were in dire need. Jeremiah shares the extent of their oppression. 

Their poverty was unparalleled and yet they were forced to pay for water and wood. They worked without rest, ruled over by servants with none to deliver. When they ventured out for bread, it was at the risk of their lives. The famine continued, the women, and young women were raped, the men were hung and humiliated, the music was not played and absent was the joy and dancing that would accompany that music.

So Jeremiah prayed.

Lamentations 5:1 (NKJV) “Remember, O LORD, what has come upon us; look, and behold our reproach!

Lamentations 5:21 (NKJV) “Turn us back to You, O LORD, and we will be restored; renew our days as of old.”

The crown had fallen from the head of the king of Judah, but God still sat on the throne (Lamentations 5:19). Jeremiah knew that, found comfort in that, and approached that throne.

Let’s close therefore, with a couple of applications:

Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV) “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Pastor Chuck Smith, “This black period of history could have been avoided if only the people listened to the voice of God. God was faithful, and He did that which He declared He would do.” Friend, let’s do our best, to obey God from the heart, and avoid unnecessary heartache.

Hebrews 2:1-18

Since this Word (the New Testament) is the final Word, spoken through God’s only Son, we must give even more earnest heed…lest we drift away. That’s what this letter is ALL about, trying to prevent these believers from drawing back (Hebrews 10:38). The Hebrews were drifting away, they were going back to Judaism because they were experiencing persecution.

Over the past 30 + years I’ve seen so many who used to attend church service, they used to serve faithfully, even preach and teach – who are no longer walking with God. This can happen if we neglect our salvation (Hebrews 2:3). Drifting usually happens gradually – not suddenly.

Like the Galatians, these Hebrews were turning away from Jesus (Galatians 1:6) and it’s for that reason the writer goes on to present Jesus and His absolute superiority.

Jesus humbled Himself (Philippians 2:6-8) and was made a little lower than the angels while here on earth, to be tempted as we are and to die for our sins. But don’t let that mask His glory and greatness as God, and future reign as the King of kings. One day all things will be in subjection to Him, we don’t see it yet, but the day is coming.

In Hebrews 2:10 we even see that Jesus becomes the perfect Savior through suffering, and when we’re born-again we become His brothers and sisters. All this was prophesied in the Old Testament.

As our brother, He came to die and in doing so He has defeated the devil and even death itself. As Christians we don’t have to be afraid to die, for us, death is simply a departure into the glory of heaven where we will forever be with God Himself.

Jesus was made like us in all things, in order to experience temptation, defeat it, and then help us to overcome. What are you being tempted in? Whatever it is, look to Jesus, He can help you because He’s been there, He really has.

Psalm 103:1-22

David makes no requests in this Psalm, he simply praises the Lord.

May we praise our God with all that is within us, may we never forget the benefits of being a Christian.

God forgives, He heals, He redeems, He crowns, He satisfies us with good things. He executes righteousness and justice on our behalf – we see His mercy and grace in the way He’s dealt with Israel and even with us. I am eternally grateful for who and how God is!

Psalm 103:8 (NKJV) “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.”

Almost every time I pray I consider the fact that I deserve hell, that I don’t deserve my family, or to be in the ministry…and always I’m cognizant of that, but I’m also aware of:

Psalm 103:10–12 (NKJV) “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

David goes on to speak of the fact that life on earth is frail and fleeting, but then there’s life in heaven – and there the LORD has established His throne forever. There the angels are, now, and we will be one day – because in Christ He has washed away our sins.

What more can we ask for?

Proverbs 26:23

Proverbs 26:23 (NKJV) “Fervent lips with a wicked heart are like earthenware covered with silver dross.”

They speak so nice, even look so nice, but they’re not – it’s more like jars made of mud, cracked clay, and covered with the impurities of the silver. That would not be a good “vessel.”

Jesus dealt first-hand with some of these fools.

Luke 11:39 (NKJV) “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness.’”

Matthew 23:27 (NKJV) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”

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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