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God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

August 25 - Lamentations 1-3: The Nadir of Ancient Israel: the Exile

Today’s Reading: Lamentations 1-3

The Message

English Standard Version


If you have a paper schedule, we are deviating a little by reading all of chapter 3. It adds about 500 words to today's reading, but keeps a section together.

Thought to Guide Your Reading

A nation that once hosted God's Presence now in the pit of despair.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Oh, oh, oh …
The city cries herself to sleep—Judah is in exile because she rebelled against God.
The people were desperate to stay alive—even eating their babies. Oh, such pain!
My groans—no one listens! Israel was knocked flat by God's Anger. He wiped away their memories alongside His Temple.
Your prophets enabled your sinful lives. God's warnings came true.
I have hit bottom. I hope only in God's never-ending love. I'll stick with God!
When you feel helpless—pray to the Creator. I was done for and God brought me back!
God, make our enemies pay!

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Israel has hit bottom.

Israel and Judah's rebellions became such a stench before God that He had to act. First Israel went into exile then Judah followed. Jeremiah was present for the second and had a front-row seat. Now he lives in the remains of a once-proud city. God's Chosen People are not immune to God's Wrath. As horrifying as it may seem, God's Anger does not come lightly nor stay forever.

God's Anger is not forever.

Jeremiah is in the depths of his sorrow. The only thing left for him is a hope—God's love never ends.
God's loyal love couldn’t have run out,
   his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
   How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
   He’s all I’ve got left. (3:22-24, The Message)
Even though God's Anger is real, His Love is equally as real. God loves His Chosen People—even in the depths of great sin and sorrow.

God's Hope is that we cry out to Him for help.

God gave Israel and Judah ample chances to change their hearts by protecting them from enemies. Unfortunately, what Judah learned was God would be there to perform miracles whenever they needed them. They never thought to change their hearts. God's purpose in making His Chosen People go into exile was to purge their places of worship, separate them from their homeland, and renew their need to obey Him. Jeremiah, on the other hand, cried out to God at every chance he had and was protected from his enemies.

Do you cry out to God when you reach your bottom?

Remember, it's the pit of despair, not the Pit of Despair.

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