August 30

Lamentations 1-2

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord, remind us that you are very near to the brokenhearted. May we also be of your heart and be people who comfort the disturbed and the suffering.  Amen

This really is the epilogue or a continuation of the Book of Jeremiah (who wrote Lamentations). Jeremiah could not have been more heartbroken as he sat in the ashes of his beloved city that had had its fingers in its ears; refusing to listen to God for centuries. He wrote Lamentations after the dust had cleared and its residents had been led away in shackles to exile in Babylon. The 70 A.D. translation of the Bible actually adds an introduction to Lamentations that reads, “And it came to pass, after Israel was led into captivity and Jerusalem was laid waste, that Jeremiah sat weeping and lamented this lamentation over Jerusalem and said”: … (and chptr. 1 commences)
1 – This starts the doleful ballad – the city is empty.  The distant crying of just a few poor people left in Jerusalem is all that is heard. Virtually “everyone” living is gone. The siege has been horrible, the place is in ruins, still smoking from being burnt, it is desolate.  And Jeremiah is not wailing “whyyyy God, whyyy?” — because he knows why.  Jeremiah had tried his entire adult life to turn Jerusalem from her rampant sinning,  and to no avail.  He knew this judgment; this dismal situation would be coming, but it didn’t make its arrival any easier to bear.  He is stunned, dazed, the “chest pain” (as we might call it) was gnawing at him desperately. There was no consoling Jeremiah as he sat in this city that looked destined to be an archaeological dig for historians – that’s how it looked at this point to Jeremiah’s eyes.  He may have known better but that doesn’t change his feelings as he saw the last of the Judeans marched out at the tip of Babylonian spears and disappear.
2 – Remember getting punished as a child? Soon after that, the rump is stinging like a fleet of hornets just swooped in and stung, then comes “the talk” from parents who have been dismayed – even angry that your behavior led to this paddling.  Well, Lamentations ch. 2 is … you guessed it; it’s “the talk!”  God has been angry with them. They were ebullient, calloused, disobedient and worse; diabolical, sadistic, and thirsty for darkness.  And lest anyone feel pathetic sympathy for this situation remember that Jerusalem spent decades and decades sacrificing young Jewish children on altars of fire like the Satanic cult Molech was doing in the neighboring countries!  They made voodoo witchdoctors look like dizzy kids in the school yard.  This judgment had to happen; the faith needed to be rectified or Judaism would have ended and Christianity would not have been birthed.  It’s a sad day in Jerusalem as the desolate remnant are covered in ashes and children are starving.  Generations of liars had been their guides and this is where it led them.  Did it have to come to this? God had warned them so much that they were sick of being warned and had jeered at the prophets. What was God to do but punish? There WERE no other options but to bring it to this chaotic state, where Jerusalem looked like a warzone in a battle did not go well, and there was cannibalism.  It’s quadruple bad folks!  It does resolve a bit in ch. 3 next week, but for now the attentive can almost hear God saying (from beyond a cloud) “are you weary of your disobedience yet, like I am?!”

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