Lamentations

 

Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

 

Today we turn to the Book of Lamentations.  Most scholars attribute this book to Jeremiah. We will address this book from that point of view.

We can consider Lamentations as an addendum to the Book of Jeremiah. Through the use of five funeral laments, Jeremiah is grieving, lamenting over the fate of Jerusalem, because of her sin.

Lamentations would have been written after the actual fall of Jerusalem, a desperate time following the long siege the people of Jerusalem had experienced.

After breaching the city, the armies of Babylon burned the temple, the king’s palace, and all the other major buildings in the city; and they tore down the walls of the city, which provided her protection.

Jeremiah would have witnessed these events (cf. Jeremiah 39:1-14; 52:12-14).

The once-proud capital had been destroyed. Her people were now under the harsh hand of a cruel taskmaster – the Babylonians. With this on his mind, Jeremiah sat down to compose his series of laments.

Lamentations both mourns the fall of the city and offers reproof, instruction, and hope to its survivors.

When you read Lamentations you should lay it side by side with Deuteronomy 28.

Read together, you see the sovereignty and mercy of God  – Moses had predicted all of this 900 years earlier.

God had warned of the fearful consequences of disobedience and, as Jeremiah carefully noted, God faithfully carried out those curses. Israel was punished for disobedience, but she was not consumed because God’s covenant was still in force.

Throughout the Bible we see God faithfully working with His remnant, the people of God.

Jeremiah’s message to the Israelites in captivity was to learn the lessons of Deuteronomy 28 and turn back to their Lord.

The prayer of Lamentations 5:21-22 was not a doubting cry from a discouraged remnant. Rather it was the response of faith from those captives who had mastered the lessons of Deuteronomy 28 and the Book of Lamentations. They were calling on God to fulfill the final part of His covenant and to restore them as a nation from captivity.

The book of Lamentations shows that God is a fierce enemy to those who trample on His Word and despise His grace. But He is also rich in mercy and unfailingly faithful to His covenant promises.

Lamentations is a confronting book, showing us the seriousness of rebellion against God. It spares no detail in revealing the radical sinfulness of sin and its awful consequences.

But it also points beyond itself to the mercy of the God of the new covenant in Christ who, despite everything, fulfills God’s covenant promises to His people, wayward though they are.

Until next time…  keep reading!

Jim

Excerpts for this blog were taken extensively from: The Bible Knowledge Commentary and The Gospel Transformation Bible Study notes.

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