How! (Pt. 2 on the book of Lamentations)

Recently, our local police department dispatched a couple of SWAT teams to the east side of our city after receiving a call from a frantic young woman. She had escaped from a house where a sadistic male had held two young women hostage for several days. A tipster reported that there was a girl chained to the post of a bed.

Indianapolis police surrounded the house, and a couple of hours later the man surrendered. A short time later, the two young women emerged, pale and trembling. A news reporter said that, according to police reports, the man had been living with one of the young women. She had asked him to move out, but he had other plans and took the young women hostage. All three parties involved looked like they had been sifted by Satan, and like they had been run through the wringer of sin! Watching the report, I was reminded again of the awful truth that the end of sin is death; that sin has a bitter end, and it carries an expensive price tag. This is true for individuals and for nations: “Be not deceived, God is not mocked: whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.” (Gal.6:7)

The sins of Judah, the nation that God loved and redeemed and sanctified, were three-fold: (1) Idolatry; (2) Rejecting God’s Word; (3) Desecrating God’s sabbaths. For repeated indulgences in these sins, God finally allowed Judah to come under severe judgments at the hands of its enemies. A thousand years earlier, God had warned the nation that for these sins He would bring judgment upon them, and He even spelled out what the judgment would be. (Deut. 28:49ff.) And God brought to pass all that He had promised. Nebuchadnezzar was the King, Babylon was the nation, and 586 B.C. was the year.

Lamentations depicts the awful aftermath of God’s dealings with Judah. Here are His assessments of the pitiful plight of His people:


First, a city full of people became a widow, v.1. Jerusalem, once a beautiful, bountiful, bustling city is now barren! She is dressed in mourning and her song is not salvation, but sorrow.

Second, a princess is now a tributary (vassal!). She was once honored, elevated, rich and powerful, but now she is poor, despised, wretched and a servant of other.

Third, a lover (v.2) is now a loser! Her lovers, Egypt and Edom, have deserted her: “And when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair: thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life.” (Jer.4:30)


The Reason, vss. 3,5

Affliction (v.5) The Lord afflicted her (Judah) for the multitude of her transgressions.

Servitude (vss.8-11) “…they have given their pleasant things for meat to relieve the soul: see O Lord and consider, for I am become vile.” cmp. Jer.40:11

The Results of: (Lamentations 1:1-22)
She dwelleth among the heathen, v. 3
She findeth no rest, v. 3
Her persecutors overtook her, v. 3
The ways of Zion do mourn, v. 4
None can come to the solemn feasts, v. 4
The gates are desolate, v. 4
Her priests sigh, v. 4
Her virgins are afflicted, v. 4
She is in bitterness, v. 4
Her adversaries are chief, v. 5
Her enemies are prosperous, v. 5
Her beauty is departed, v. 6
Her princes are humiliated, v. 6

The Remembrance, v. 7: (Pleasant things of former days)

The Removal, vs. 8-10
In shame (nakedness and filthiness) vss. 8,9
In wonder, v. 9
In humiliation, v. 10 cf. Jer. 51:51: “Shame hath covered our faces….”
Deut. 23:3: and Gen.19:37,38

The Remorse, vss. 12-22
“See if there be any sorrow like my sorrow” v. 12
“I am not able to rise up” v. 14
“I weep” v. 16
“Behold, my sorrow” v. 18
“I am in distress” v. 20
“There is none to comfort me” v. 21
“My sighs are many and my heart faint” v. 22

It was a pitiful plight that God’s people suffered when God said He had had enough. What happened to the kingdom of Israel (722 B.C.) and the kingdom of Judah (586 B.C.) can happen to individuals who, having tasted of the good things to come and then departing from the blessed way, experience the chastening love of their heavenly Father. 

The book of Hebrews was written to warn first century Jewish converts—who had been enlightened, delivered from the bondage of the law, and saved by the grace of God—not to look back, not to turn back to the beggarly elements of the law. May that be our warning also, and may none reading this lose the lesson of Lamentations. No sin is worth this sorrow! Selah.

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebs.10:31)

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