May 4, 2014.
I have recently read through the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations, and I have to say that there is some pretty heart wrenching things in these them. Maybe they aren’t as bad for us when we read them since we are so far removed from the time and culture, but I think if we look deeply, we can see the true sorrow that Jeremiah had for his people who were transgressing the commandments of The Lord. Jeremiah, as you can recall, was a prophet that was called by God at a young age to deliver a displeasing message. A message of judgement on the people. A message that no one wanted to hear. But even when he tried to seal it up, it burned in his bones until he preached the truth. Sometime during his life, he wrote a lament for his people and it is preserved in the book aptly named Lamentations.
Lamentations can be a difficult book to get through. If you think that the entire bible is happy and peaceful, then you are in for a surprise (though you can indeed see the love of God throughout the bible). Jeremiah is crying out to The Lord, releasing his frustrations and burdens, expressing it in the form of poetry/prophecy. I can relate to the prophet in this way as I often express my burdens and sorrows through poetry. Jeremiah was holding a heavy burden, and he chose to express it through a lament.
But there is one part of the book that l like a lot. I referred to it yesterday as was expressing a plea of my own, through the suggested reading and quote from Scripture. In the middle of Jeremiah’s lament, there is a shimmer of hope, a small moment of praise and even the words that are now used in at least one specific worship song I know. The words of the prophet:
“He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.” Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers itand is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
What these words say to me is just beautiful. Even in the darkest times, even in the midst of turmoil, there is still hope in The Lord. He is still there wanting us to come home. He is calling out, pleading for us. The steadfast love of The Lord never ceases. It is a constant in the midst of uncertainty. It is interesting to me that even in the middle of one of the saddest books in the bible, you can find this renewal of hope. Isn’t that great?
What can we take from this today? Though Jeremiah was specifically addressing the people of Israel in his writings, I think we can still today get to the place that a lament could very well be written for us or by us. I think the Almighty wants us to remember that he is still here. His love doesn’t stop. He wants us to take that step back. What the hard thing to swallow is our pride. We must come to admit that we are a broken people who cannot always get it right. We must admit that we need help, and we must ask for this help. Once we are on this path, then The Lord will be right there, ready to supply the things we need as he knows better than we do. Hallelujah, what a savior! He has made the path clear. Will you submit to him today?
Suggested Daily Reading: Lamentations 1-5.
May he grant peace to your soul.