blessings of God serve to remind us of the mercy and grace of God, but sometimes
we mistakenly take them for granted and believe that they will be perpetual regardless
of how we live. Strength and honor are not automatic and they are not guaranteed.
Learning this lesson the hard way is a price too high to pay. The price of unfaithfulness
lamentations reveal the grief of sin’s consequences. The lessons learned from
a rebellious nation can deliver us from much grief if we are wise to listen.
God’s Favor Today Does Not Guarantee God’s Blessings Tomorrow (v. 1, 6)
had been great among the nations, but this greatness had been taken for granted.
Though warned by the preacher, the nation sowed seeds of destruction until the
day the harvest of judgment was reaped. The book of Jeremiah reveals the rebellious
journey of the nation and the Lamentations reveals the resultant grief of the
people and the prophet.
princess had become the slave. What tragedy when the splendor of a nation, city,
or individual departs. It is not easily recovered and most often never is. Presumption
of continued splendor and blessing may well be the invitational wood for the termites
of sin to begin their work.
Misplaced Love Will Result in Lonely Nights (vv. 1, 2)
had played the harlot and been unfaithful to her God. She had developed other
lovers other than the Lord who was faithful to her. And when the lonely nights
of sin’s consequence arrived, her lovers were not present to comfort her. Loneliness
is the pay we receive for misplaced love.
Reed was held hostage, isolated in a Lebanon cell from 1986 to 1990. He writes
of the effects of loneliness. “I began to realize how withering it is to
exist with not a single expression of caring around me.”
personified as a woman, weeps the bitter tears of loneliness with no one to comfort
and console her. The bitter tears of loneliness will eventually come to us when
our love for God is replaced with devotion for the things of the world.
Sin and Rebellion Will Lead to Bondage and Servitude (vv. 3-5)
consequence of sin is huge, not just for what we lose, but for what we have to
face. Judah faced the harsh reality of captivity, exile, and servitude. The bitterness
of servitude and oppression replaced the joy and celebration of the feasts. The
adversaries became the master. What grief!
before the apostle Paul was born, there was a law that said that no freeborn man
could ever be enslaved. Therefore, a man could literally sell himself into slavery,
collect the proceeds, then have a friend come and attest to his status as a freeborn
man, and he would have to be released at once. This was being abused regularly.
Just before Paul’s day, a new law was enacted whereby any man who sold himself
into slavery could no longer claim free status later. The law could no longer
help him. Paul’s readers in Rome understood that “to whom you present yourselves
as slaves for obedience, his slave you are” (Roman 6:16).
this was a new law in Paul’s day, it is an eternal principle in the economy of
God. Yielding ourselves to sin and rebellion leads to bondage and servitude. Oh,
how “sin takes us farther than we want to go, keeps us longer than we want
to stay, and costs us more than we want to pay.”
was a time when the Son of God felt the loneliness of alienation and the consequence
of sin…our sin! It was at Calvary when he cried, “My God my God, why have
you forsaken me.” He identified with us in our alienation from the Father.
But that was not the last cry for there came another, “Into Thy hands I commend
my spirit.” It is the experience of being reconciled to God through Christ
that allows us to find hope from the estrangement, alienation, and loneliness
caused by sin.
was in the loneliness of sin’s consequences that the prophet Jeremiah affirmed
the hope found in a faithful God. It is because of His mercies that we are not
completely consumed (3:22-23). God will be faithful to restore a repentant people
who return to Him.
brief provided by: Larry L. Gilmore, Group Leader
of the Evangelism Strategies Group, Tennesse Baptist Convention, Brentwood, TN