Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lamentations and Hope

Lamentations is hard for me to read. After studying Jeremiah in depth recently, I know that he suffered greatly at the hands of his own people. He suffered because he obeyed God . He prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem as God instructed him. He preached God’s word faithfully. The sufferings he described in Lamentations three are mostly actual sufferings, not metaphor. The thing that hurt him most, though, was witnessing the destruction of this people at the hand of his God. He hurt as he watched them reject his calls for repentance, despising the Lord and his covenant. He hurt as he witnessed God’s relentless destruction of his own city, pouring out his wrath by the sword of the Babylonians. He hurt as he lived through the aftermath, remaining in the desolation and watching the survivors devour each other. He said “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them and my soul is downcast within me.” (19)

And yet, in the midst of grieving and sorrow, he remembered the one thing that gave him hope: God in love for his people would not consume them totally. He would be faithful to his word to restore them. (22) That is what Jeremiah 29 is actually about. Jeremiah heard it and believed it. He trusted God. Hope arose.

Jeremiah said “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” (24) That, brothers, is the key. “Portion” is an important Old Testament word. It referred to that person’s allotted land in Israel, that remained in his family forever. It was what he counted on for his and his family’s survival. But for Jeremiah, his portion was the Lord. He counted on the Lord for everything: daily provisions, survival and deliverance. And because the Lord, not the land or the job, was his portion, he had hope. Because our Portion is faithful.
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