I have been reading the book of Lamentations for the past few days. Even though it is a book that is not commonly talked about, preached about and is amongst the least read, I will encourage each everyone to read it. I am going to share what I have learnt from this book with you and I hope it is of benefit to you.
Jeremiah and Lamentations were the two books written by the Prophet Jeremiah. The book of Jeremiah predicted the destruction of Judah and urged the people to turn from their sins to God whilst the book of Lamentations looks back on the suffering of the people and their disobedience.
1.Let’s learn to listen (Chapter 1-5)
Despite several warnings from God through His Prophet Jeremiah, the people of Judah failed to take heed to those warnings and as a result of their disobedience, they were destructed. We do not have a Prophet like Jeremiah in our day to warn us of our sins, but we have the word of God and the Holy Spirit who daily convicts of our sins. Let’s not ignore these warnings by God but rather take heed to them. Obedience is a true sign of our love for Him (John 14:5).
2. It Portrays the Holiness of God (Chapter 1-5)
This book teaches a lesson not to take the Holiness of God for granted. God is a Holy and He hates sin. Judah’s familiarity with God bred contempt which led to them offending God’s Holiness with their grievous sin, leading to their destruction. We can also be like the people of Judah where we may experience His presence and blessings in our lives daily and take His Holiness for granted. We should always strive to become more like Him, as holy as He is, and not take Him for granted. ”The first step in going hard after the holy God, then, is to develop a holy dissatisfaction with your spiritual life. Stand in front of the mirror of the Word and recognize that you have not yet arrived. The hearty admission of our spiritual imperfections is the starting point for the pursuit of God.” (John Piper – Going Hard After the Holy God).
3.God is faithful and steadfast in love (Lamentations 3:21-23)
“This means that the mercies of God are often hidden and hard to recognize when they are happening. He does “cause grief” (verse 32). He does “afflict” (verse 33). But all this serves another purpose – a merciful purpose – if we trust him. It’s the same as the lesson in the book of Job, who lost everything. James, the brother of the Jesus, wrote in James 5:11, “You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.” In all his afflictions, the aim was mercy. So it was in the destruction of Jerusalem for all who would turn to God and trust him.” (John Piper -Thank God for the Mercies of Christ).
God being merciful and loving uses suffering to draw us closer to Him. Sometimes we may not understand why certain things happen to us but at the end of it we realise it was for our good, hence through suffering He shows His faithfulness, love and mercy to us.
4. Love discipline (Lamentations 3:39-42)
God disciplined the people of Judah through suffering so that they will turn from their evil ways, live a holy life and genuinely seek Him. We should learn not to frown or complain when we are going through corrective discipline in our lives but rather learn from those experiences by trusting God and be willing to change. God’s correction produces the kind of behaviour that glorifies His Holy name.
5. There is no situation that God cannot rescue you from (Lamentations 3:52-57).
Jeremiah was thrown into an empty cistern, and he was left to die in the mire at the bottom (Jeremiah 38:6-13). But God rescued him. Jeremiah used this experience as a picture of the nation sinking sin. if they turn to God, he would rescue them. (NLT Life Application Study Bible – Commentary).
There is no sin that is greater than God’s Grace, regardless of what we might have done God is willing to forgive us and accept us with open arms. There is no situation God cannot deliver us from. If we trust Him and seek Him He will deliver us like how He delivered Jeremiah when he was thrown into an empty cistern.