Sermon + Bible Study Notes: Surviving the Dungeons of Life... (Jeremiah 32)

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No one who takes the Bible seriously can deny the power of God. God is omnipotent; He is all-powerful. This truth transformed the lives of men in the past, and it can transform our lives today. Allow me to suggest several ways the power of God intersects our lives today. How often we excuse our sin by appealing to our human inability. So we are. But God has not only saved us by His power, He also works in us to sanctify us by His power:.

But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. Rather, recognizing our weakness is the basis for our turning to God, depending upon His power to work in us. In this way, God receives all the glory. When we minister in the power of God, we need not trust in our own strength and in human methods. Indeed, we dare not do so. Through weak and foolish men, God has chosen to proclaim His gospel. Through weak and unimpressive methods, the gospel is proclaimed, trusting in the power of God to convince and convert sinners.

In this way, men must give God the glory, and they must trust in Him and in His power, not in men:. Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? This is not the way the church operates today. When we preach, we employ the marketing methods of our day, proven to be successful in producing results. We use persuasive techniques which sell soap and breakfast cereals. When we seek to train and develop leaders, we train men to be leaders following the model and methods of our secular culture rather than teaching them to be servants.

Is evangelicalism not like the state of the church Paul sadly describes as the church of the last days? If we really believed God is omnipotent, we would come to Him in prayer first, not as a last resort after having tried every other means and failed. We would forsake trusting in the idols of our day and trust in Him. We would humbly acknowledge that all the blessings we have are a gift of His grace and the result of the working of His power.

Our prayers would be filled with praise and thanksgiving, seeing God as the Source of every blessing. We would be filled with faith and hope, knowing that no purpose of God can be thwarted 2 Chronicles and that every promise God has made will be fulfilled, in His time, and exactly as He has promised. If we really understood the power of God, we would not give so much credit to Satan. We would not look at Satan as though he and God were closely matched rivals who have battled for centuries. We would not dare suppose that in the end God will barely defeat this one who is our deadly foe.

We would realize that God is the Creator, and Satan is but a creature. God is not battling with Satan with the hope of defeating him; Satan is already a defeated foe, whose final demise is certain John ; ; Luke In the meantime, God is using Satan and his rebellion to achieve His purposes see 2 Corinthians They refuse to accept that God often works through suffering to sustain and purify the saint and to demonstrate His grace and power to a lost and dying world again, see 2 Corinthians For we also are weak in Him, yet we shall live with Him because of the power of God [directed] toward you 2 Corinthians Romans Ephesians See, for example, Exodus ; Deuteronomy ; Joshua ; ; 2 Kings Latest Articles Standing Together In Victory, Pt.

Introduction Centuries ago, God promised Abraham and Sarah they would have a son through whose offspring the world would be blessed. The answer to this question is crucial, and the answer of the Bible is clear and unequivocal: 3 But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases Psalm The people were awe-struck by the evidences of His power: 43a And they were all amazed at the greatness of God Luke a.

Conclusion No one who takes the Bible seriously can deny the power of God. But God has not only saved us by His power, He also works in us to sanctify us by His power: 8 And those who are in the flesh cannot please God. In this way, men must give God the glory, and they must trust in Him and in His power, not in men: 20 Where is the wise man? Similar thinking can lead us to ignore our own sin. It is not surprising, however, that Handel applied this verse to Christ. As we have seen, however, Jerusalem was far from sinless.

So-called friends become foes Lamentations when deception underlies the friendship. Learn from this calamity! Fire also figuratively portrayed the fever of sin that burned within the people. Similarly, the image of a net was used to describe Yahweh capturing His enemies. How terrifying it must have been for Jerusalem to realize that it had become the enemy of Yahweh!

The winepress of the Lord Lamentations , used elsewhere to trample pagan nations, was now used to crush Jerusalem. One of the most astounding consequences of the s Watergate scandal was the conversion of Charles Colson. Yesterday we saw Jerusalem begin to turn to the Lord in her distress and despair. Prior to this, however, Jerusalem again implored onlookers to observe the high cost of sin: her young people were exiled Lamentations and her so-called allies betrayed her Lamentations Those that Judah had formerly trusted had betrayed the nation.

This devastation was so severe that even the religious leaders--who should have provided direction and comfort--perished. With a tormented soul and a distressed heart, Jerusalem could no longer bear to keep away from the Lord v. A word play at the end of verse 20 only heightens the intensity of the situation.

During the siege, those who left the city were killed by the enemy, but those who remained were exposed to pestilence. Metaphorically, this verse portrays a soul tormented by sin--external circumstances pierce, but internal anguish is a virtual death. Anyone who has been wracked by the guilt and remorse of sin understands this picture only too well. The turning point for Jerusalem was to admit her sin and to turn to the Lord--just as it was for Charles Colson and is for every believer.

The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. In the nineteenth century it was said that the sun never set on the British Empire, so vast was its extent. Yet in , a small band of determined Dutch settlers in South Africa defied the British in the Boer War and revealed the first crack in the seemingly invincible British Empire. Real hope was found only in the Lord and was incompatible with detestable practices Lamentations — Just as the Lord destroyed the altar at Shiloh, so too He would destroy Jerusalem for its sickening sin Lamentations The cloud of the Lord, formerly bestowing His protection, now revealed His terrifying anger in which He hurled Jerusalem from its exalted place Lamentations and rejected His dwelling place--His footstool Ps.

With relentless blows, the Lord cut off the strength, or horns, of the nation v. The right hand of blessing and victory now brought judgment; the comforting pillar of fire Ex. God had become the enemy of His people Lamentations ! Provoked by their flagrant sin, His terrifying bow slew those in whom He delighted v.

The seemingly indestructible Temple was leveled as easily as a garden shed Lamentations Without priests or a king, the appointed feasts and Sabbaths were no more Lamentations The triumphant shouts of the conquering enemy replaced shouts of praise to Yahweh Lamentations With the city gates and their strong crossbars gone, the city was defenseless Lamentations The king and princes likely refers to King Jehoiachin and his court, who were taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar in b. Elders were men who exerted considerable influence on Jewish society by advising, settling disputes, and witnessing legal agreements.

But they now sat stunned, putting dust on their heads as a sign of their mourning and wearing sackcloth to lament their calamity v. Jerusalem was without vision or leadership! Some have said that Jeremiah ministered more in tears than in proclamation. His example certainly challenges popular notions that crying--especially for men--shows weakness.

Some Christians feel that tears indicate a lack of faith. Where there is no revelation [vision], the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law. Former U. Forsaking the clear vision of the Lord, the people had fallen into shameful immorality and idolatrous spirituality. Although Jeremiah did eventually offer great comfort Lamentations. Judah had already witnessed divine judgment on sin when Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians in B. Like whitewash on a decaying building, these prophets covered up sin rather than exposed it Lamentations.

And Jeremiah says that the people loved these false prophesies! Certainly God was justified in His wrathful judgment. What these hissing enemies failed to recognize was that any sinful nation would eventually face divine justice. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

Real or godly sorrow prompts one to repentance. Sensing their brokenness, Jeremiah encouraged the people to cry out to God with unending tears v. But this river was for healing. So the prophet intensified his appeal by urging repeated prayer throughout the long, dark night of their travail v.

The unforgettable sight of starving children prompted Jeremiah to exhort the people to pray not only for themselves but also for those whom their sin had most impacted--their children Lamentations Soon, however, their prayer seemed to degenerate into a series of accusations against the Lord God. Sometimes Christians are afraid to admit they get depressed.

This is especially true if our depression is because of sin, although clearly that is not the cause of all depression. In Lamentations 3 we hear the soul of the prophet. Yet the first person singular pronouns in this chapter enable all who have suffered because of sin to readily relate. Using famine imagery, the prophet described the wasted, broken effects of sin; using military imagery, he portrayed God as the One who encircles with weapons of bitterness and hardship Lamentations Emotional darkness feels like death, and chains weigh down. Even prayer feels shut out; the path seems blocked or tangled as a maze vv.

Not only does sin imprison, but a guilty conscience pictures God as though He were lying in wait, eager to pounce. Truly this experience tastes bitter! Yet, as we will see tomorrow, a whisper of faith was about to appear. Years of alcoholism and gambling had taken away his family, his health, and his dignity.

As he sat in his bathtub with a gun held to his head, his only thought was that it would soon be over. He pulled the trigger. Incredibly, nothing happened. With disgust, he taunted himself that he could not even pull off his own death. For a long time he sat there, tormented by his many failures. Just when it seemed completely unbearable, a song slowly began to come to him. Somehow when we reach our lowest point--as Jeremiah had--our gracious Lord begins to whisper truth into our hearts. This tiny flicker of hope was nearly snuffed out as the memory of affliction v. But just in time, this whisper of hope resurfaced v.

The One who seemed so distant and wrathful is actually merciful and compassionate! The prophet exulted in the hope that anchored his soul Heb. In his study on Lamentations, Chuck Swindoll lists three essential truths from this passage. First, God never stops loving us Lamentations Finally, His faithfulness never diminishes Lamentations His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. A recent newspaper article cited a study which showed that the amount of daylight in a classroom affects students' learning. Students in classrooms allowing the most daylight learned faster and scored higher on standardized tests than those in classrooms with the least amount of daylight.

Other studies show that patients recover faster when their hospital rooms have windows, and even stores with skylights sell more merchandise than stores without them. The article concluded, 'Humans just have a predilection for daylight. There is something about a new morning that suggests hope and a fresh beginning. We weren't designed to live in constant darkness. One Bible commentator says that in the Scriptures, dawn was considered the time for God's deliverance. David wrote, 'Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning' Ps. This is good news for us.

Ezekiel 17 – The Parable of the Two Eagles and the Vine

It means that no matter what this month and the year ahead may bring, nothing can change the fact that as long as God is in charge, His sun will come up tomorrow. Jeremiah knew something about the promise of hope that comes with each new morning. The irony is that one of the greatest and most often-repeated statements of hope in the Bible, 'Great is your faithfulness,' comes in the middle of a book whose name means to 'cry out loud.

You may recall that Lamentations is a series of five poems written to mourn the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple by the Babylonians. True to His covenant word, God was judging His people for their sin, and Jeremiah was suffering along with everyone else. Yet Jeremiah also realized that even God's severe judgment was a sign of His faithfulness, because God promised in the same covenant He would not abandon Israel forever. So Jeremiah reminded his fellow Jews, 'Even in judgment we have hope. God's loyal love means we will not be completely destroyed.

Our circumstances are very different from Jeremiah's, but our need for God's daily compassion is the same. Let's thank Him that His mercies never fail. In the Bible a person's portion could refer to a piece of land, an inheritance, or necessities like daily food and clothing.

Jeremiah was saying the Lord was more valuable to him than any of these things. Can you identify with this kind of devotion? It's a question worth thinking and praying about this weekend. Thomas O. Chisholm was a simple man, born in a log cabin in He gained little education, money, or fame, but he wanted to serve God. Little did Chisholm know that the hymn would one day be known around the globe.

Runyan shared it with his friend Dr. With Billy Graham, Shea would use the hymn in their worldwide evangelistic campaigns. Chisholm declared that God was faithful, even though his daily life was not always easy. The author of Lamentations recognizes that we may have times of trouble.

But even when we are surrounded by affliction, we can still have hope. This passage emphasizes daily living. There is an emphasis on meditation, which means taking time to sit in silence and reflect on the character of God. By regular times of focusing on God, we will actively place our hope not on our earthly circumstance but on the unchanging, faithful character of the God we serve.

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We can depend on these character traits of God: His goodness, His care, His unfailing love, His compassion. Great is His faithfulness! Sing the hymn or listen to a recording and reflect on this characteristic of the God we serve. Consider the ways God has shown His faithfulness to you and to the ones you love. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. Cards will be exchanged, roses received, and chocolates consumed!

Yet the world often has no idea what real love is about. The Hebrew word used for this love is hesed, one of the most important Old Testament words. This word describes the constant love that God shows to His people because of His covenantal relationship with them. Our study thus far in Lamentations has shown quite clearly that neither the northern kingdom, Israel, nor the southern kingdom, Judah, remained faithful to the Lord. Thus, the terrible devastation of Jerusalem was to be expected.

Because this mercy is rooted in His covenantal love, we can count on it. Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! Perhaps you were on a sports team as a teenager and remember long hours after school spent training and practicing. Sit-ups and extra laps never seemed fun, but the coach assured you that they would pay off. First of all, those who hope in the Lord can expect His goodness Lamentations Verse 30 provides another clear picture of our Lord Jesus Christ, who endured insults and mistreatment cf.

If the sinless One learned obedience from suffering Heb. Contrary to the hissing lies of the Evil One, the Lord takes no delight in bringing grief to His children Lamentations No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Waiting on the Lord is difficult, especially in our fast-paced world! But she trusted God and bravely proceeded to the one human with the power to help. The first truth is assumed throughout all of Lamentations: God is just. God takes no pleasure in our suffering, but His justice compels Him to punish our sin Lamentations Come, let us return to the Lord.

For the past few days, we have been considering the nature of God--His justice, His sovereignty, and His holiness. A renewed vision of God revealed to the people that God had not left them but that they had left Him, and they needed to return to Him and respond with wholehearted prayer. As with the prayer in chapter 2 see Feb. Keep in mind that the people had just begun to repent and that their perspective was still influenced by past sinful thinking.

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For one thing, they expected an immediate feeling of forgiveness and restoration the moment they confessed Lamentations Although the fact of forgiveness is true as soon as we confess our sins 1 John , the consequences of years of sinful living cannot be erased immediately. Restoration entails complete confession and patient acceptance of divine judgment. Secondly, although they had begun to return to God, true intimacy with Him would take time.

And until the sin that had caused the Holy One to turn away had been fully confessed and renounced, the Lord God would continue to seem distant Lamentations and silent Lamentations Twice this month, we have encouraged confession of sin. We hope that these times have yielded much fruit. Imagine reading the following classified ad in a Christian magazine: Preacher wanted.

Must have unquestioned integrity and exceptional personal strength. Personal harm and imprisonment guaranteed. Success extremely unlikely. Deepened relationship with God only payment. To the very end, the people refused to listen to him. But to the very end, Jeremiah loved his people.

Their prayer of lament Lamentations —47 released torrents of grief in the prophet Lamentations Like Jesus, Jeremiah was badly mistreated by the very ones he loved so dearly. Sadly, tradition tells us that Jeremiah was eventually stoned to death while exiled in Egypt. Although Jeremiah did not commit the heinous sins for which his people were being punished, he completely identified himself with them. Few of us are called to such a national level of ministry, but each of us can seek a deepened burden for our community. He knew that this was enemy territory--most of the people had never heard the gospel and were very superstitious.

One night he woke suddenly, gasping for breath. It was as if someone were standing on him. A sickening sense of evil filled the room. He spent the rest of the night praising Jesus for delivering him and anticipating the good work that He was launching and would finish. Jeremiah also mourned the terrible suffering of his people and memories of his own life-threatening mistreatment. Like Bill Carr, he must have felt suffocated. But Jeremiah also called upon the Lord Lamentations — You may have noticed that these verses are all in the past tense.

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As Jeremiah recalled times the Lord had mercifully rescued him, his faith was bolstered and he cried out once again to his Heavenly Father. But this passage is clear that our Redeemer is well aware of our hurts and the vindictiveness of those who do us harm Lamentations He is the only One who can take up our case Lamentations ; only He is our redemption.

Christ is also the One to whom we can completely unload our burdens Lamentations — As stinging taunts ring in our ears, Christ is the tenderhearted One who patiently listens. And it was there that He paid the price for all sin, including nasty jabs and hissing taunts. In the s a young man set out with a burning desire to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Nearly six decades later, Billy Graham has become a household name. His worldwide ministry has ushered millions into the kingdom of God. Billy Graham is a wonderful example of a commitment to integrity that has been powerfully used by God.

How different were the inhabitants of Jerusalem! Years of sinful indulgence eroded their effectiveness to the point where they were like gold that had lost its luster, an expression to stress the depths to which Jerusalem had fallen. The precious people of Zion, once highly valued, had become like ordinary clay pots Lamentations Sin diminishes esteem! Persistent sin had rendered the people utterly heartless Lamentations With the siege came severe food and water shortages.

Starving children begged vainly for food, but adults consumed whatever was available Lamentations Although innocent children were the first to suffer, eventually everyone suffered--the wealthy were reduced to scavenging through garbage heaps Lamentations How sinful Jerusalem had become! Moral direction in life is determined by thousands of seemingly insignificant choices made along the way. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.

The surprise Japanese attack sank eighteen U. More than any other part of ancient Jewish society, these two groups were supposed to foster and preserve spiritual well-being. Priests offered sacrifices for sin. The high priest alone was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies on the annual Day of Atonement. Yet deplorably the blood shed in the Temple was not for atonement but from murder--the murder of the righteous Lamentations !

This refers either to the actual murder of individuals who resisted the false prophets or to the spiritual death of idolatry. Either way, the blame for Jerusalem's ruin fell squarely on the religious leadership. I lift up my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. The aggressive aims of Germany and Russia forced Poland--a country caught in between--to seek promises of help from Great Britain in the mids.

In violation of an earlier signed pact, Hitler invaded Poland September 1, Seventeen days later Russia attacked from the east, at which point England was unable to protect the overrun Poland. Just like Poland, Jerusalem also waited in vain for outside help Lamentations Agreements with Egypt had encouraged Jerusalem to expect assistance from that country when Nebuchadnezzar began his final march on Jerusalem. Another country, Edom, also refused to help Jerusalem. After the city fell, foreign oppression hemmed its inhabitants in on all sides Lamentations Survivors of the attack who remained in the city had to sneak through back allies to avoid being stalked.

Those who managed to escape were hunted in the harsh wilderness outside Jerusalem like wild animals Lamentations Most likely this refers to King Zedekiah, who was captured and tortured by the Babylonians outside Jerusalem see Jer. Like the priests and prophets, however, the final kings of Judah had badly forsaken their God-given responsibilities.

Yet all of us are tempted at some point to look for help far and near, but not up. I will not turn back my wrath. For years it seemed like the Communists had gotten away with their deception. Official statistics boasted complete employment and high productivity. But beginning in , the floodgates of freedom opened and country after country broke from oppressive regimes.

Deceitful communist-era statistics and officially perpetrated crimes were exposed. Many people in Communist regimes could hardly believe that this day had finally come. Edom, land of the descendants from Esau, was located in Uz, southeast of Jerusalem. This cup anticipates the One who ultimately drank the cup of divine wrath--Jesus. He revealed that His willingness to do this inaugurated the promised new covenant Luke Right about now, you are probably ready for this--unless you are reading this in the southern hemisphere!

This insensitive man did not know that his transgression would one day be repaid by his nephew, Charles Darnay. In the upheaval following the French Revolution, a poor shopkeeper related to the peasant boy gladly found herself in the position to condemn Darnay, though innocent, to the guillotine. Chapter 5 describes daily life for the meager few left in Jerusalem after the exile.

To lose the land was, in some measure, to lose the Lord. Bereft of protection, the people were as vulnerable as widows and orphans Lamentations The loss of their land also meant that staples of life, such as water and wood, once rightfully theirs now came at a bitter price Lamentations Finally, without their own land, rest was impossible Lamentations Contributing to their grief were the unfaithful political activities of previous generations Lamentations —7.

Treaties with Assyria and Egypt had promised military protection and financial gain, but, in the end, such alliances proved ruinous. On the day that the Hater succeeded in having the Troubadour put to death, it seemed as if the song had been silenced.

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It seems clear from the numerous musical instruments mentioned in the Old Testament that music was a key part of ancient Israel. And the only melody was the lament over the unspeakable horrors inflicted on its people, including the rape of its women Lamentations and the torture of its leaders Lamentations Young boys were forced to do the work of full-grown men Lamentations Indeed, the job of grinding grain was so hard that it was often relegated to animals or slaves. You may recall that elders held important responsibilities, including settling legal disputes and giving advice.

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  • The city gate functioned like a town square, often brimming with young men playing instruments and old men talking Lamentations Festivals frequently filled the gates with joyous celebration. But after its fall, silence settled over Jerusalem. Only the most hardened heart could fail to grow faint at the desolate state of Jerusalem! Unclean animals Lamentations prowled through the once glorious city, and its beleaguered survivors could hardly see through their copious tears Lamentations Have you ever really pondered what it would be like without any music?

    For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory. He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea. Six-year-old Mark was sent to his room for talking back to his mother. The long minutes left alone to consider his wrongdoing seemed like an eternity--he was sure his mother had forgotten him. Standing silently outside his bedroom door, she could hear him crying. She entered the room and sat down, gently taking his hands in hers.

    It can be hard at times to admit wrestling with the same questions, because such honesty can be frightening. Yet one of the most encouraging aspects of the Bible is its completely realistic portrayal of the human condition. Far from being irrelevant, the Bible illumines the human heart as no other book can. To their charge of forgetfulness, they added abandonment. Yet the fear of being forsaken led to an amazing prayer for restoration Lamentations Surprisingly, however, the prayer--and the entire book--ends rather pessimistically Lamentations In fact, the Jewish liturgical custom was to repeat verse 21 after verse 22!

    When Jeremiah wrote Lamentations, however, the nation was still exiled and there were few glimmers of hope. Furthermore, Jeremiah had personally witnessed some of the worst atrocities of human history. The next two days we will consider the restoration of Jerusalem. It is a cloudburst of grief, a river of tears, a sea of sobs. God suffers with those whom He chastises. Affliction does its humbling work.

    The sins of Christian believers bring grievous chastisings and chastenings upon them. Exploring the Book. Great turning point in history. Suffering and loss are often great turning points in history at large as well as in our own personal lives. No one likes suffering; we like prospering. Smaller griefs … vs. Structure of Lamentations — series of 5 laments; acrostic form; Fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians was cataclysmic; Israelites had lost their capital city; their most defensible point; more devastating loss than we can begin to imagine; to lose the land was to lose the promise was to lose their special relationship with God.

    Grotesque suffering of people; perplexing questions of people in despair; written not just as an expression of grief, but to help people cope with suffering and loss. Understand God in the midst of your suffering - Suffering acts as a check on our hopes — refining them and even changing them.

    How do you fare in times of. Desolation well captured at beginning of vs. Grim circumstances … what were they to do? Confess their sins. Their sins are the reason for their sufferings. What about us … how should we react? We must be patient and humble. See your sin. Walter Kaiser Jr.

    McIntosh : The reasons for the neglect of Lamentations are not too hard to discover. Then again, it is sorrow that seems unrelieved throughout the book. When you read Job, you see great sorrow, but in the end Job comes out, if not unscarred, at least largely restored and vindicated. Lamentations does not have a happy ending. It treats the suffering of a whole country and the reasons for it.

    John Stevenson : Lamentations is not the most popular book in the Bible. We normally prefer books with happy endings. It is a book about deep sorrow. There are five chapters to the book, just as there are five books to the Torah. Unlike most chapter divisions in our English Bible, these chapter divisions find their origin in the Hebrew text.

    They are evidenced by the fact that each chapter forms an acrostic. Jewish tradition has it that it was Jeremiah. There is no reason to doubt that this was the case. The author never says, "I told you so. The author of Lamentations demonstrates that kind of compassion. He is not gleeful of the destruction that comes on Jerusalem. If the author is Jeremiah, and I think that it is, he had every right to say, "I told you so. But instead, we see in this book that he has identified himself with the people of the Captivity. He does not look down his nose at them.

    Instead he associates himself with the sins of the people. Let us examine and probe our ways and let us return to the LORD. We lift up our heart and hands Toward God in heaven; We have transgressed and rebelled, Thou hast not pardoned Lamentations Even though he was faithful and obedient, he associated himself with the people of God. Lamentations The writer realizes that, even as bad things have taken place and they face great tragedy, God is still in control. The writer recognizes that the reason for the sorrow and the heartache and the lament is because of sin.

    The lie of the devil echoes from Eden: "You shall surely not die. Sin will not bear fruit. It has no lasting consequences. It doesn't matter as long as it is between two consenting adults.

    Jeremiah and the Greatest Vision in the Bible

    The writer of this book sees the most bitter afflictions, yet he is able to remember the compassion and the lovingkindness of God. This gives him HOPE. What is hope? It is faith in the future. It is faith that the God of the past will continue to be faithful in the future. Lamentations notes. We may be deserted by friends and relatives and lose all our earthly possessions, but the Lord is always with us to sustain, strengthen, and provide. The following poem by James Danson Smith underscores this wonderful reality:. Uncertainty of Life - Life is filled with uncertainty. Human relationships often do disappoint us.

    And tragedy can destroy in a moment all the material securities of life. The prophet in his day is fully accepted of God and totally rejected by men. Years back, Dr. Joseph, Genesis Perhaps they wanted him to suffer, but it is more likely that they had a superstitious fear of killing a prophet or shedding innocent blood.

    Shedding of innocent blood was considered to be one of the most abhorrent sins that could be committed cf. Deuteronomy , 13, ; Jonah John M. Bracke b. Bracke, Jeremiah and Lamentations Westminster Bible Companion , Prophets often in this case quite literally are required to get down and dirty. Do prophets ever agree with the majority opinion? Who protests war in your society? Are they being prophetic?

    Who is trying to silence their voices? When have you seen misguided patriotism in opposition to the word of God? What organizations are currently attempting to silence the word of God? Have you ever been persecuted for your religious beliefs? Who do you know who has suffered for God? His view of God is correct. There is no hint of his motives but the puppet king yields again and the prophet is delivered Jeremiah The Word works even in the face of determined opposition.

    Just as the prophet is delivered from the cistern, there is hope for his nation. And hope for us. The pit is a symbol that many believers can relate to. John Calvin viewed the cistern as a sort of grave and Jeremiah as a resurrected figure. Though Jeremiah is not a resurrection passage it does provide hope. Kathleen M. Later Potiphar imprisons Joseph in a cistern Genesis and from there he finally escapes Genesis The word joins his captivity to that of an ancestor who knows similar peril and escapes imprisonment to flourish another day. There is always hope for redemption.

    Has your life ever felt as gloomy as if you were trapped in a miry pit? Who helped you through your ordeal? How did you maintain hope amid the trial? What does this text say to those who are in the pit with seemingly no reprieve? Is there anyone you know struggling in the pit that you can help?

    I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.