Sunday, December 30, 2018

Lamentations 4 & 5

Today's reading in our daily plan is Lamentations 4 & 5. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Today’s reading wraps up the book of Lamentations. Chapter 4 begins with descriptions of the suffering that was brought upon Israel. The Temple (God’s house) was built with the finest metals and those now lay thrown about the streets. The children of Israel are abandoned and without food or water. Those who were rich and affluent are now stricken with poverty and illness.
  • This destruction was the consequence of the sins of the people (see verse 13) and although the people sought aid from foreign nations, behind Jerusalem’s walls, and even trying to flee (see verse 17-20), there was no hiding from God.
  • Chapter 4 ends with a promise that Jerusalem’s punishment will not go one forever and the people will return home but the enemies of Israel (specifically the nation of Edom) would receive their own punishments as well.
  • The final chapter, Chapter 5, recounts again all the ways Israel has received God’s punishment: the loss of inheritance, a decimated population, scarcity of essentials like food and water, violence in every city. Every demographic was affected: young, old, peasants and royalty. The hearts of the people felt only sorrow and misery.
  • Ending with a plea to God who is eternal and does not change, the author also truthfully expressing a sense of abandonment (see verse 19-20) and asks God to restore and renew His people.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • God’s love is never-ending. Even in the midst of his discipline, he desires to be connected to you. God wants you to be truthful and open with him. It’s okay to feel angry, defeated, and even express your doubts. The important thing is to continually turn to God and share your feelings with him. Many people see the book of Lamentations as a gloomy part of the Bible, but you can also look at it from the perspective of God acknowledging that pain and sorrow are a part of everyone’s life. There will be times when you feel alone but even in those times, it’s okay to cry out to him.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Are there parts of your life that fill your heart with resentment, frustration, or loneliness? Do you feel abandoned by God?  The definition of “lament” is to mourn or grieve deeply. Today, take a moment to talk to God and mourn the painful areas of your life. Weep and cry for the uncomfortable troubles that are weighing you down today. God does not want you to keep it all inside, let it out, vent your aches, and ask him to help you understand that he is bigger than all things in this world.
Here's a helpful video from a great resource called BibleProject that reviews and summarizes the book of Lamentations: