WISDOM FROM LAMENTATIONS

File:The captivity of Judah.jpg

 

Lamentations 1:1 (New Living Translation) – Jerusalem, once so full of people, is now deserted. She who was once great among the nations now sits alone like a widow. Once the queen of all the earth, she is now a slave.

Lamentations 5:21-22 (New Living Translation) – Restore us, O LORD, and bring us back to you again! Give us back the joys we once had! Or have you utterly rejected us? Are you angry with us still?

 

These are the opening and closing verses of the book of Lamentations, written by Prophet Jeremiah. Many avoid Lamentations because it is about grieving with sorrow over a devastating event; in this case, it is Jeremiah mourning the horrible destruction of Judah by the Babylonians and taking the people as captives.

This happened about 1000 years after God delivered Israel from Egypt and took them into a land of milk and honey (see previous post on Milk and Honey Part 1 and Part 2). When David was King, Israel was a very powerful nation, and when Solomon was King, it was a very rich nation. Here they were in Jeremiah’s era, a captive people.

The books of the prophets in the Bible, explain that this happened because Israel turned her back on God; consequently her Kings ruled very badly; her court judges were corrupt; her markets had traders who often cheated buyers; men were unkind and women cared more for their dress and make-up than their character.

Despite the prophets warning Israel for about 500 years to repent, they refused; and were then cruelly destroyed by Babylon. If Israel’s leaders, greatly favored by God, could get it wrong so badly, what about leaders of our nations today? Is it wise to place ALL our hopes for a better life, a better country, in the ability of our leaders today?

Psalm 146:3-5 (New Living Translation) tells us – Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When they breathe their last, they return to the earth, and all their plans die with them. But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the LORD their God.

Lamentations teaches a wise lesson that human leadership, no matter how blessed, will fail the people, from time to time. The only secure anchor we have is God; so in these difficult times of political insecurity everywhere, seek God earnestly and sincerely, and he will keep you and give you peace, Amen!   

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Image: The Captivity of Judah (Source: Wikimedia)

 

THE BOOK OF PAIN

Grenfell Tower Tributes

 

When the Grenfell Tower fire happened in June in London, I am certain many asked the question, why did God allow this to happen to me? Why did he allow my apartment, my home, and all I possess to be lost in the fire? Like the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster, we have all asked the ‘why did God allow this’ question.

There was a man who experienced great pain, loss, and sorrow; his name was Job, and the Bible has a book with 42 Chapters about him. It’s a terribly uncomfortable book, with sad description of how Job lost his many properties, all his adult children, his health, the comfort of his wife, and became an outcast in society.

In his own words he states in Job 6:2-3 (NLT) – “If my misery could be weighed and my troubles be put on the scales, they would outweigh all the sands of the sea.”

I weep reading of Job’s experience. I call the book of Job, the Book of Pain. Nonetheless, there is a great light in the Book of Pain about pain.

Job 1:6-12 (NLT) (shortened) has this to say:

One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the LORD, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them… the LORD asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth… fears God and stays away from evil.”

 Satan replied…“Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper… take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!”

“All right, you may test him,” the LORD said to Satan.

The passage shows that Job feared God and prospered; but Satan who has established himself as God’s adversary, was unhappy. Rather than celebrate God’s goodness to humanity, Satan wants to replace it with pain. Why? So that we can curse God to his face! Unfortunately, pain has made many to even reject that God exist.

Job refused to curse God, what incredible love of God! His pain was for a season; it passed away, and the Book of Pain closes with this testimony in Job 42:12-16 (NLT)‘the LORD blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning… [with] 7 more sons and 3 more daughters… no women were as lovely as the daughters of Job… [he] put them into his will along with their brothers. Job lived 140 years… to see four generations of his children and grandchildren.’

May the LORD by his grace and love, deliver us from pain, and empower us to live long healthy prosperous lives, Amen!

 

Image: Tributes for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy in London,  By ChiralJon – Grenfell Hearts, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60219506