November 18, 2013
Morning – Psalm 107, Lam. 1:15, 1 Pt. 4:1-6
Evening – Psalm 104, 2 Thess. 1
Commentary, Lamentations 1:15-22
In these verses
presented as a person speaking and lamenting her fate. She says, “For these things I weep; mine eye,
mine eye runneth down with water because the comforter that should relieve my
soul is far from me: my children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed.” Her
comforter is God. But she has become His
enemy. Therefore He does not comfort
her. Instead her children are desolate
and here enemy, the Babylonians prevailed.
For centuries God has blessed and comforted
Israel. And. For centuries, Israel has gone
astray from God. He sent the prophets to
call her back to Him, back to the covenant He had made with Abraham and his
descendants. There were brief periods of
revival, but the general direction on Israel was away from God rather
than toward Him. Often God allowed
Gentile nations to oppress Israel. We remember the Philistines and Assyrians,
for example. In 586 B.C. the most
devastating conquest to date took place when the Babylonian Empire, led by its
king Nebuchadnezzar, invaded Israel
and nearly exterminated the Jewish people.
Lamentations was written after the Babylonian conquest and describes the
sorrow of the Jewish people following the massive death and destruction of
their people and home, and their captivity in the . land of Babylon
Verse 17 says God has made
unclean, unable to participate in the life of the covenant, as a woman is
temporarily unable to participate during her issue of blood.
In verse 18
Jerusalem confesses that
God has dealt justly with her because “I have rebelled against his
commandment.” Israel often forsook God to follow
pagan idols. The idolatrous religions
were self-indulgent and blessed wickedness while God demands self-discipline
and holiness. The pagan religions were
more “fun” and the Hebrews people often gladly flocked to them. Many did not outwardly desert God, but
incorporated pagan ideas and practices into the Old Testament faith and
worship. They believed they were
faithful to God and the new ideas and practices were compatible with His will. But to add or delete anything to the will of
God in doctrine or practice angered God, who often punished Israel for this
The pagan religions, and the practices adopted from them, deceived even the priests of
Israel. Their participation in them left them dead in
the streets of Jerusalem
(1:19). This should serve as a constant
reminder of the danger of attempting to attract people to the Church by
adopting the ideas and practices of ungodly people. Because of sin, “abroad the sword bereaveth,
at home there is as death” (1:20).
Though God allowed
to fall, the Babylonians are not absolved of the terrible evil of conquest and
had sinned wickedly against God, but had done no wrong to Babylon.
Therefore the attack on Israel
was unprovoked and unjustifiable. It was
nothing short of murder on a massive scale.
Therefore Jerusalem prays for justice
Morning – Psalm111,112, Lam. 2, 1 Pt. 4:7-11
Evening – Psalm 105, Lam. 3, 2 Thess. 2:1-12
Commentary, Lamentations 2
Chapter two continues to describe the death and devastation of
Jerusalem at the hands of the
Babylonians. Yet, it is recognized that
someone far more powerful than the Babylonians has allowed this to happen. It is God who has become as an enemy to Israel
(2:5). He has swallowed up all her
palaces, destroyed the strongholds, and increased her mourning and
lamentations. The Babylonians are but
His instrument. He has raised them up
for this purpose
Not all prophets speak the truth. There are false prophets, self-proclaimed prophets who are neither called of God nor speak God’s word. They say what people want to hear, and they speak to make themselves popular, for popularity means money and money means power. Thus we read in verse 14, “Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things.” Vain means empty and meaningless. Here it refers to faked visions and soothing words which do not convey the truth. Foolish refers to things that are not of God. Since the false words of false prophets cannot give real comfort, the perceived comfort they give is false. The felt peace they give is a false peace. No matter how good people feel about the message they bring, their feelings are based on falsehood, therefore the good feelings are vain. Trust in lies is foolishness.
Jeremiah knows well the deceit of false prophets. Read his words to them in Jeremiah 23:14-40. Nor are false teachers limited to the Old Testament era. 2 Timothy 4:3 and 4 tell us they will continue, even in the Church, and that people will gladly hear them. Certainly they abound today. Beware of such for they are dangers to your soul.
Chapter three finally begins to show some remorse for sin. We should see this as encouragement from Jeremiah, rather than repentance from the people. Yet, Jews in
Jerusalem and Babylon will read these words, and some will
find them expressing their heart’s desire in true repentance.
Verses 22 and 23 express the great foundation of the penitent’s heart; the compassion and mercy of the Lord. It is because He is merciful that He has not completely annihilated
Israel. “His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy
faithfulness.” What moving and
comfortable words. No wonder they form
the essence of one of the Church’s great hymns.
From the mercy of God, the prophet turns to the benefits of God’s chastisement. “But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies” (3:32). The chapter gives the hope that those who bear the chastisement of God, who do not grow angry at God for their chastisement, or allow it to drive them into unbelief, will see God’s mercy again, and very soon. Their chastisement will bring them to repentance, and repentance will bring them back to God. The chapter ends by recounting again the trouble
has brought on itself by her own sin, and a cry to deliver her from the enemies
who now control them.
Morning – Psalm115, Lam. 4:1-9, 1 Pt. 4:12
Evening – Psalm 114, 124, 2 Thess. 2:13-3:5
Commentary, Lamentations 4:1-9
“How is the gold become dim.”
Israel is that
gold. Once a brightly gleaming treasure
to God, it is now dim, ugly, refuse. Her
people, once more precious than gold to their God, lie dead in her
streets. Rather than fine gold, they are
like broken clay pots. Even though the
battle is over, hunger continues to ravage the people. Mothers have no milk for their children
(3-4). Those who were once wealthy now
search trash heaps for food (4:5). The Nazarites, a people supposedly
completely set apart for God’s service, once well fed and healthy, are
unrecognizable; their skin clings to their bones as though muscle and sinew are
completely absent (4:7-8). Those who
died in the war are better off than those who survived, who pine away for the
fruits of the field (4:9).