TODAY’S READING: LAMENTATIONS 1-5

 

OVERVIEW:

Jeremiah’s lamentation over Jerusalem’s destruction (1:1-22); God’s justifiable wrath (2:1-22); God’s incredible mercy (3:1-66); God’s anger against Jerusalem (4:1-22); a plea for restoration (5:1-22).

 

HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:

“The Lamentations of Jeremiah” as the title states, is the expression of Jeremiah’s incredible sorrow over the sins of God’s people that had resulted in the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, and the entire kingdom of Judah.  These five chapters are kind of like a postscript to the Book of Jeremiah.  They are obviously a separate Book in our English Bible, but are contained in the third section (called “the Writings”) in the Hebrew Bible.  Like we saw in Psalm 119, this Book employs acrostic poetry.  In chapters 1, 2, and 4, each succeeding verse begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet.  Chapter 3 actually has three acrostic poems.

 

>From an historical standpoint, the Book deals with the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. From a doctrinal (or prophetic) standpoint, the Book deals with the events during and surrounding the Tribulation Period.

 

In chapter one, Jeremiah likens the city of Jerusalem to a grieving widow.  She once was a “princess,” but now has become a slave (“tributary” – 1:1).  At one time she was surrounded by “friends” (1:2) and “lovers” (1:2), but now everyone has forsaken her, leaving her to grieve and weep alone.  In verse 4 of chapter 1, Jeremiah even gives human attributes to the roads leading to Jerusalem, saying, “the ways of Zion do mourn.”  Whereas at one time, they had been filled with incoming worshippers, now they are totally desolate. The picture Jeremiah describes in this chapter is heartbreaking and pitiful.  Having to actually put the reality of Jerusalem’s condition into words becomes more than Jeremiah can handle by the time he gets to verse 16: “For these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water.”  Oh, that our hearts would break and our eyes would leak as did Jeremiah’s for the condition of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Laodicean church period (Rev!

. 3:14-22).

 

When God called His son, Israel, out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1), He led them with the cloud of His glory.  Chapter 2 begins by explaining that at this point in their history, the Lord likewise covered them with a cloud.  Sadly, however, it was the “cloud of his anger.”  Whereas in times past, the Lord fought on Israel’s behalf against their enemies, now the Lord, Himself fought against Israel like one of their enemies (2:2-5). Again, Jeremiah “laments” as he is forced to describe Israel’s awful condition: “Mine eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people” (2:11).  Jeremiah recognized, however, that they had gotten exactly what they deserved (2:19), because they listened to their false prophets (2:14), and stubbornly refused to repent of their idolatry. Verse 15 is perhaps the saddest of all the tremendously sad verses in this Book: “All that pass by clap their hands at thee; they hiss and wag!

 their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth?” While Christians all over our country are “whooping it up” about all of the so-called “wonderful” and “spiritual” things that are taking place in the world, does the world not look at Christianity and say, “Is this the glorious church of the Lord Jesus Christ, the beautiful, chaste virgin Bride that is without spot or blemish or any such thing?” (Eph. 5:27; II Cor. 11:2)  God give us Jeremiahs in Laodicea who will lament our grievous condition.

 

After two and a half chapters of simply focusing on the pitiful condition of the land, in the middle of chapter 3, Jeremiah lifts his eyes to the Lord.  In the midst of sorrow and ruin, he is reminded of the mercy and compassion of the Lord, and the incredible fact that “His compassions fail not” (3:22), and “they are new every morning” (3:23).  It brings Jeremiah to declare “Great is Thy faithfulness”!  In other words, “We have certainly failed Him, but He will not fail us!” Praise the Lord for His marvelous, infinite matchless mercy and grace!

 

In the remainder of chapter 3, Jeremiah calls upon the people to stop their whining, to search their hearts, confess their sin, and get right with God!  He then calls upon God to bring punishment upon those He used as the instrument of His wrath against Jerusalem.

 

Chapter 4 lets us know just how horrendous the situation in Jerusalem actually had gotten. Children were being mistreated and abused by their parents, and believe it or not, some mothers were actually eating their own children!  God says that His punishment against this city would even be greater than His punishment of Sodom!

 

Chapter 5 continues the description of the deplorable situation in Zion, and ends with Jeremiah crying out to God, “Turn thou us unto thee, O Lord, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old” (5:21). The good news is, in the very near future, God is going to answer Jeremiah’s prayer!

 

SPECIFIC REFERENCES TO “THE DAY OF THE LORD”:

2:1 – “In the day of his anger.”

2:22 – “In the day of the LORD’s anger.”

 

CHRIST IS REVEALED:

Through JEREMIAH’S SORROW OVER JERUSALEM – Lam. 1:12-22 (Matt. 23:37; Luke 13:34)

 

As the MERCIFUL SAVIOUR – Lam. 3:22 (Jude 1:21)