Sunday, September 9, 2012

And God Mourns





Scripture

How lonely sits the city That was full of people! She has become like a widow Who was once great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces Has become a forced laborer!
(Lamentations 1:1 NASB)
She weeps bitterly in the night And her tears are on her cheeks; She has none to comfort her Among all her lovers. All her friends have dealt treacherously with her; They have become her enemies.
(Lamentations 1:2 NASB)
Judah has gone into exile under affliction And under harsh servitude; She dwells among the nations, But she has found no rest; All her pursuers have overtaken her In the midst of distress.
(Lamentations 1:3 NASB)
The roads of Zion are in mourning Because no one comes to the appointed feasts. All her gates are desolate; Her priests are groaning, Her virgins are afflicted, And she herself is bitter.
(Lamentations 1:4 NASB)

 

Observation


Lamentations opens on a very sad note leading us, together with God, into a time of mourning. Jerusalem, the crown jewel is now desolate. The people have been taken away into exile and there is very little left. Those who are there cannot continue with the traditions of the past. They can barely survive. Daily the few left in the rubble of what was once a glorious city have to search for food and hope to make it another day. The people of this nation have become slaves. Why? Because the Israelites sold their souls to foreign gods. They were the unfaithful bride. They were willing to sleep around with the other nations but they were not loved by the other nations. God, the faithful one looked on as Israel time after time gave herself away to others who simply wanted to use her for their own benefit and then toss her away like the prostitute she had chosen to become. The result was not just a single life, but an entire citizenry who, when they had run out of resources to give to their pimps, were utterly destroyed so that every last ounce of money could be taken from them and then they were taken as slaves into captivity in a foreign land, no longer to function as the people of God. And God looked on it all and mourned. His heart was broken as he looked on the shell of the great city of Jerusalem.

 

Application


It's a beautiful Sunday morning and I am looking forward to heading out here shortly to go and worship the Lord. It's what I love to do on Sundays. But I'm imagining what it must have been like for Jeremiah as he walked the empty streets of Jerusalem. What would it be like to drive to church today and find that everything familiar to us had been destroyed? Smoke is pouring out of every building along the road as you dodge the piles of bricks and rubble. Eventually the roads are completely blocked and you get out of your car and begin to walk. You hear a handful of voices as a few others begin to pick they way to their destination. Along the way you see an elderly couple, too old to travel, out searching for something to eat. You give them your last granola bar and continue heading toward your church and when you finally arrive you discover that the building has been used for target practice. The enemy enjoyed mocking the Christians by using the church building for entertainment. The minister is gone. That morning a handful gather and try to go through the motions of worship....and in the midst wonder "where is God?"

In America we've had our 9/11 and a few other natural disasters but never anything on the scale that Jeremiah experienced. And yet, I wonder if we may be setting ourselves up for what happened there. This didn't just happen overnight, but was the result of years of infidelity. This was individual and corporate infidelity, and all the time God was mourning. I believe that God looks at us today and he mourns! There are individuals who are faithfully serving God, but as a whole, corporately, where are we? Have we given ourselves to others for a brief period of pleasure? Have we given ourselves over to the god of consumerism and been willing to sell our neighbors and our souls just to have a cheap toy? Has it all been so gradual that we have not discovered what is happening? We are challenged to love God and to love neighbor! These are to be the first priorities of our lives and when those priorities are no longer in alignment, we have to realize there will be tragic results.

We still have time to turn our hearts back to God, individually and corporately. We must seek him with all our hearts and pray for a genuine outpouring of his Holy Spirit among us today. I must be willing to listen to the still small voice of God each and every single day, being obedient to his leadings every moment of my life. It must begin with me and as I love my neighbor, and pray for my neighbor, may the spirit of God overflow and may we be a faithful people. May God look at us and rejoice, and not mourn. May God help us to be the faithful bride which he so desperately desires!

 

Prayer


Lord, please help me to serve you in obedience every moment of every day. Amen.

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