In Lamentations 4 and 5, Jeremiah is lamenting the fall and destruction of Jerusalem. Even though hundreds of years before God had helped the people of Israel escape bondage in Egypt and travel to the Promised Land, they continue to disobey Him. Israel turns away from the Lord and begins to self-destruct into ruin. So “the Lord gives full vent to His wrath.” At a time when no nation in the world thought Jerusalem could ever be overtaken, God allows Jerusalem to be invaded and the Israelites scattered. They think that He has forgotten them when they are the ones that have turned away from Him. They have to buy everything, even the basic necessities of life, at a price: wood, water, food, etc. The once wealthy people are now on the streets, destitute, and all the joy has gone out of their nation. The children are begging in the streets, the women are hungry, the elders are disrespected, the princes have been hung, the children are working as hard as slaves, and there are many other kinds of distress. Their punishment is greater than the punishment of Sodom because they are alive to endure it. It is so painful to die from hunger that those who die by the sword are better off.
I see some similarities between America and the Israelite nation in that they both were founded on God-given principles and that many of the people have turned away from God. We should follow the advice of 2nd Chronicles 7:14: “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray, seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear them from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” NRSV
loves to read, crochet, knit, sew, listen to stories, play basketball, and bake. Her favorite season is summer because she can swim, wear shorts without being cold, play basketball outdoors, swing for hours on her swing set, and celebrate her birthday. She has a younger sister, Ellie, and a younger brother, Joshua.
The Word of Promise audio Bible is used by permission. For more information and to purchase the complete audio Bible go to https://www.wordofpromiseapp.com/.
The Degradation of Zion
1 How the gold has become dim!
How changed the fine gold!
The stones of the sanctuary are scattered
At the head of every street.
2 The precious sons of Zion,
Valuable as fine gold,
How they are regarded as clay pots,
The work of the hands of the potter!
3 Even the jackals present their breasts
To nurse their young;
But the daughter of my people is cruel,
Like ostriches in the wilderness.
4 The tongue of the infant clings
To the roof of its mouth for thirst;
The young children ask for bread,
But no one breaks it for them.
5 Those who ate delicacies
Are desolate in the streets;
Those who were brought up in scarlet
Embrace ash heaps.
6 The punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people
Is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom,
Which was overthrown in a moment,
With no hand to help her!
7 Her Nazirites were brighter than snow
And whiter than milk;
They were more ruddy in body than rubies,
Like sapphire in their appearance.
8 Now their appearance is blacker than soot;
They go unrecognized in the streets;
Their skin clings to their bones,
It has become as dry as wood.
9 Those slain by the sword are better off
Than those who die of hunger;
For these pine away,
Stricken for lack of the fruits of the field.
10 The hands of the compassionate women
Have cooked their own children;
They became food for them
In the destruction of the daughter of my people.
11 The Lord has fulfilled His fury,
He has poured out His fierce anger.
He kindled a fire in Zion,
And it has devoured its foundations.
12 The kings of the earth,
And all inhabitants of the world,
Would not have believed
That the adversary and the enemy
Could enter the gates of Jerusalem—
13 Because of the sins of her prophets
And the iniquities of her priests,
Who shed in her midst
The blood of the just.
14 They wandered blind in the streets;
They have defiled themselves with blood,
So that no one would touch their garments.
15 They cried out to them,
“Go away, unclean!
Go away, go away,
Do not touch us!”
When they fled and wandered,
Those among the nations said,
“They shall no longer dwell here.”
16 The face of the Lord scattered them;
He no longer regards them.
The people do not respect the priests
Nor show favor to the elders.
17 Still our eyes failed us,
Watching vainly for our help;
In our watching we watched
For a nation that could not save us.
18 They tracked our steps
So that we could not walk in our streets.
Our end was near;
Our days were over,
For our end had come.
19 Our pursuers were swifter
Than the eagles of the heavens.
They pursued us on the mountains
And lay in wait for us in the wilderness.
20 The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the Lord,
Was caught in their pits,
Of whom we said, “Under his shadow
We shall live among the nations.”
21 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom,
You who dwell in the land of Uz!
The cup shall also pass over to you
And you shall become drunk and make yourself naked.
22 The punishment of your iniquity is accomplished,
O daughter of Zion;
He will no longer send you into captivity.
He will punish your iniquity,
O daughter of Edom;
He will uncover your sins!
Prayer for Restoration
1 Remember, O Lord, what has come upon us;
Look, and behold our reproach!
2 Our inheritance has been turned over to aliens,
And our houses to foreigners.
3 We have become orphans and waifs,
Our mothers are like widows.
4 We pay for the water we drink,
And our wood comes at a price.
5 They pursue at our heels;
We labor and have no rest.
6 We have given our hand to the Egyptians
And the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread.
7 Our fathers sinned and are no more,
But we bear their iniquities.
8 Servants rule over us;
There is none to deliver us from their hand.
9 We get our bread at the risk of our lives,
Because of the sword in the wilderness.
10 Our skin is hot as an oven,
Because of the fever of famine.
11 They ravished the women in Zion,
The maidens in the cities of Judah.
12 Princes were hung up by their hands,
And elders were not respected.
13 Young men ground at the millstones;
Boys staggered under loads of wood.
14 The elders have ceased gathering at the gate,
And the young men from their music.
15 The joy of our heart has ceased;
Our dance has turned into mourning.
16 The crown has fallen from our head.
Woe to us, for we have sinned!
17 Because of this our heart is faint;
Because of these things our eyes grow dim;
18 Because of Mount Zion which is desolate,
With foxes walking about on it.
19 You, O Lord, remain forever;
Your throne from generation to generation.
20 Why do You forget us forever,
And forsake us for so long a time?
21 Turn us back to You, O Lord, and we will be restored;
Renew our days as of old,
22 Unless You have utterly rejected us,
And are very angry with us!
The Blessedness of Answered Prayer
A Psalm. A Song at the dedication of the house of David.
1 I will extol You, O Lord, for You have lifted me up,
And have not let my foes rejoice over me.
2 O Lord my God, I cried out to You,
And You healed me.
3 O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave;
You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
4 Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
5 For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.
6 Now in my prosperity I said,
“I shall never be moved.”
7 Lord, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong;
You hid Your face, and I was troubled.
8 I cried out to You, O Lord;
And to the Lord I made supplication:
9 “What profit is there in my blood,
When I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise You?
Will it declare Your truth?
10 Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me;
Lord, be my helper!”
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.