Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Lamentations was written at a very bleak time in Israel’s history. The nation was falling apart, and it was doing so because of the unfaithfulness of the people. Families were being torn apart, deported, resettled, many were killed, everyone was plundered. The city Jerusalem, which had fallen to the enemies, was an occupied city but it showed all the signs of a seige. There were food shortages, the buildings which were destroyed were not being rebuit, and the defensive wall was gone.
In the midst of this time of lamentation, the prophet observes that God’s mercy is still present. He is faithful to his people. He brings salvation.
The prophet can also look around and see that the city is a wreck. Maybe we can see destruction all around us. Maybe our landscape is desolate. What’s the conclusion to take from that? God disciplines his people.
We all respond badly to news like that. Really? No, it’s all those other people who disagree with me that are being disciplined. I’m just collateral damage and it’s bothering me. After all, I’m superior to the people who would be disciplined by God.
What are God’s demands in the Bible? He requires perfection, of everyone, all the time, no matter what. We are all guilty. We are all under the discipline of God. This doesn’t seem like good news, on the surface. The good news, however, is that the Christian life is a life of repentance. If we weren’t aware of our failure, how would we ever see God’s blessing? If we were not aware of our suffering, how would we know God’s compassion? If we weren’t aware of our sin, how would we know forgiveness? The life of repentance is also a life full of forgiveness.
It’s according to God’s great grace and love that he shows compassion on us, as we walk about in desolation and chaos. The Lord is good. He rescues his people.
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