In The Word
Read: Lamentations 4
Distress of the Siege Described
4 How dark the gold has become,
How the pure gold has changed!
The sacred stones are poured out
At the corner of every street.
2 The precious sons of Zion,
Weighed against fine gold,
How they are regarded as earthen jars,
The work of a potter’s hands!
3 Even jackals offer the breast,
They nurse their young;
But the daughter of my people has become cruel
Like ostriches in the wilderness.
4 The tongue of the infant cleaves
To the roof of its mouth because of thirst;
The little ones ask for bread,
But no one breaks it for them.
5 Those who ate delicacies
Are desolate in the streets;
Those reared in purple
Embrace ash pits.
6 For the iniquity of the daughter of my people
Is greater than the sin of Sodom,
Which was overthrown as in a moment,
And no hands were turned toward her.
7 Her consecrated ones were purer than snow,
They were whiter than milk;
They were more ruddy in body than corals,
Their polishing was like lapis lazuli.
8 Their appearance is blacker than soot,
They are not recognized in the streets;
Their skin is shriveled on their bones,
It is withered, it has become like wood.
9 Better are those slain with the sword
Than those slain with hunger;
For they pine away, being stricken
For lack of the fruits of the field.
10 The hands of compassionate women
Boiled their own children;
They became food for them
Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people.
11 The Lord has accomplished His wrath,
He has poured out His fierce anger;
And He has kindled a fire in Zion
Which has consumed its foundations.
12 The kings of the earth did not believe,
Nor did any of the inhabitants of the world,
That the adversary and the enemy
Could enter the gates of Jerusalem.
13 Because of the sins of her prophets
And the iniquities of her priests,
Who have shed in her midst
The blood of the righteous;
14 They wandered, blind, in the streets;
They were defiled with blood
So that no one could touch their garments.
15 “Depart! Unclean!” they cried of themselves.
“Depart, depart, do not touch!”
So they fled and wandered;
Men among the nations said,
“They shall not continue to dwell with us.”
16 The presence of the Lord has scattered them,
He will not continue to regard them;
They did not honor the priests,
They did not favor the elders.
17 Yet our eyes failed,
Looking for help was useless;
In our watching we have watched
For a nation that could not save.
18 They hunted our steps
So that we could not walk in our streets;
Our end drew near,
Our days were finished
For our end had come.
19 Our pursuers were swifter
Than the eagles of the sky;
They chased us on the mountains,
They waited in ambush for us in the wilderness.
20 The breath of our nostrils, the Lord’s anointed,
Was captured in their pits,
Of whom we had said, “Under his shadow
We shall live among the nations.”
21 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom,
Who dwells in the land of Uz;
But the cup will come around to you as well,
You will become drunk and make yourself naked.
22 The punishment of your iniquity has been completed, O daughter of Zion;
He will exile you no longer.
But He will punish your iniquity, O daughter of Edom;
He will expose your sins!
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
Walking In The Word
Jeremiah once again portrayed a vivid and shocking picture of Jerusalem’s condition following the invasion by Babylon. He described the horrible reality of poverty and starvation that was devastating the people. As Jeremiah walked the streets, he saw corpses lying amidst the rubble. Appallingly, some parents were so desperate that they resorted to cannibalism and ate their own children. Sadly, Moses had warned Israel that this very thing would happen because of their disobedience to God. The prophets and priests, who previously were proud and self-righteous in their position, were now being shunned just like lepers.
The reality of the condition of Jerusalem’s inhabitants is hard to fathom. In our time, we have seen similar images in some third world countries that experience extreme poverty and the effects from war and genocide. What is sad is that Israel could have avoided all of this if they would have just stayed faithful to God’s commands and repented when He dealt with them. But they refused, and instead became stubborn and proud.
Some Christians become just like the Israelites, prideful and stubborn. They hear God’s message in church, but they continue to sin and experience the painful consequences. As the saying goes, “sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” If you know there is an area of your life that is not submitted to God, I urge you to repent and get it right today!