Return to the Lord

Lamentations 3:37 – 5:22

Lamentations 3 40 NIV sgl

The second half of the book of Lamentations is even more depressing than the first half.  Jeremiah was overwhelmed with grief because he had seen horrible things.  Here are two vivid examples.  Lamentations 4:4 says, “Because of thirst the infant’s tongue sticks to the roof of its mouth; the children beg for bread, but no one gives it to them.”  And Lamentations 4:10 says, “With their own hands compassionate women have cooked their own children, who became their food when my people were destroyed.”

 

These are disturbing images.  But Jeremiah reminds us why these troubles came on “God’s people”.  Lamentations 3:39-40 says, “Why should any living man complain when punished for his sins?  Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.”

 

I’ve heard a quote that goes something like this, “You should learn from other’s mistakes, because you can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”  In this case, we should learn from Judah’s mistakes so we can live long enough to make other mistakes.

 

The Bible tells us repeatedly that we have a choice.  We can follow God and receive a blessing, or fight against God and receive a curse.  I love the way Moses put it in Deuteronomy 30:15-16, “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.”

 

When we read passages like those in Lamentations, we need to think about why they were included in scripture, and how they may apply to us today.  I think one reason these are there is to serve as a warning to those who follow – and in our case, for us.

 

God isn’t a vengeful God, just waiting for people to step out of line so he can slap them; He’s a loving God who wants a relationship with each of us.  But God can’t leave the guilty unpunished.

 

Ezekiel 33:11 says, “Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’”

 

God warned his people, Israel, repeatedly to return to Him, but they ignored Him and paid the price.  He warns us today through His word – the Bible.  How will you respond?

 

Steve Mattison

 

Today’s Bible reading passage can be read or listened to here – Lamentations 3:37-5:22

Tomorrow we begin the book of Ezekiel (chapters 1-4) as we continue on our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

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