Is it true that some people experience God in his wrath before and in order for them to experience God in his grace? Oh God, spare us from that order of events. May we pursue you with reverence and desire to follow you so that we might always live in your grace…
1 How the Lord has covered Daughter Zion
with the cloud of his anger!
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.
3 He has withdrawn his right hand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.
6 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;
9 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.
14 The visions of your prophets
were false and worthless;
they did not expose your sin
to ward off your captivity.
The prophecies they gave you
were false and misleading.
20 “Look, Lord, and consider:
Whom have you ever treated like this?”
Lamentations 2:1-3, 6-7, 9-10, 14, 20
Whether we look at the Lamentations of Jeremiah with a view of what could happen to us, or we use them to consider how valuable God’s hand and love and presence are, there are deep learnings here.
It is deeply saddening for Jeremiah the prophet to have to write these words. The job of a prophet is not one we ought to covet in life. The things they have to say and see and do would likely push ‘prophet’ into that modern-day list of jobs that make people commit suicide. It seems the news is more ominous and negative that it ever is jubilant and joyful.
Today we see Jeremiah write the truth that in the time that God was removing his right hand of protection and blessing, even prophets were excluded from receiving words and visions from the Lord. They were separated from the very function in the people of God for which they existed.
God’s own altar and sanctuary were cut off and rejected by him. The law was no more. The pillars and foundation of relationship with God were suspended and forsaken by the God who introduced them to his people.
I don’t want to ever need a lesson from God bad enough that he would cut through my life and my relationship with him to this degree. We think this is not characteristic of the God we believe in, and make no mistake, that was Jeremiah’s own view also. He said,
“Look, Lord, and consider: Whom have you ever treated like this?”
We often ignore the fear of God – the awesome reverence – we ought to have toward our Maker. Lamentations are a reminder to us of the full nature and character of God. I heard one of my elders say the other day that sometimes people experience God in his wrath before and in order for them to experience God in his grace.
Oh God, spare us from that order of events. May we pursue you with reverence and desire to serve and follow you so that we might never lose your presence and always live in your grace…