Repentant and Restored
Eternal God, in You and Your Word are all the treasures of wisdom, truth and holiness. How great You are.
Read Lamentations 5:1-22
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Restore, O Lord, the honor of Your name, in works of sovereign power come shake the earth again” (Graham Kendrick and Chris Rolinson). God has done it in the past and can do it again!
This, the shortest poem in the book, has much in common with the lament psalms. The acrostic device is abandoned, perhaps indicating that we have reached the conclusion. It repeats many of the earlier themes. The dire situation is described: invasion, occupation, starvation, rape, servitude, the collapse of social order and the destruction of the worship center. Little wonder that joy has been replaced by mourning (15). Finally, however, we have moved beyond expressions of grief to a direct appeal to God. Previously God has been invited to observe their fate, now he is called on to act (19-22).
Can they–or we–be sure that he will? There is no question that God reigns, nor that he is able to deliver. Commentators are divided on whether the book ends on a note of despair or of hope, but the way in which Lamentations is constructed suggests that this depicts the point at which the nation finally feels able to take its complaint directly to God. If it was used as a liturgy, this is the point when relief can be found in turning to God, leading to a breakthrough for the sufferer. Prayer for restoration does not finally resolve the sense of desolation and failure, but it is an indication that there is a way back which can be left in God’s hands.
From our perspective, we know that there is always a way back made available for us by Christ. John promises us that forgiveness and restoration are always possible (1 John 1:9). Jesus’ conversation with Peter on the beach is a model of restoration in practice (John 21:15-23). In Christ we can know that God has not utterly rejected us (22), but this does not mean that there will not be times when we feel forsaken. Those are the times to make the closing words our own.
Do you feel in any way you are bearing punishment and pain for the sins of prior generations? Why or why not? How can the cycle be broken?
Merciful Lord, create in me a clean heart. Forgive my sins and point me in the right direction so that my life can count for you.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.