Righteous and Ruling
Faithful God, God of change and permanence, transitions and stability, I need Your help in relating to all that is temporal.
Read Lamentations 4:1-22
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.
“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns” (Rev. 19:6)! We need to keep this truth before us.
Judah’s end was drawn out. The first exiles went to Babylon in 605 B.C.; this chapter depicts the siege which culminated in the fall of the city and the capture of Zedekiah in 587 (20). The descriptions are by now familiar: the slow death by starvation (9), the inability of mothers to feed their young (4), the rich reduced to living skeletons (7-8), the religious leaders ritually unclean (13-15), the ancient equivalent of snipers making movement dangerous (18). As I write, the news breaks that a Catholic priest has been shot in the Syrian city of Homs, which has been besieged by government forces for two years, bringing images like these to our TV screens 2,600 years later.
Other nations are in view throughout Lamentations. Although God is acting in judgment, Babylon is responsible for bringing it about (the “pursuers” of v 19 were the Babylonian soldiers). Others have failed to come to their aid (Lam. 1:19). Edom, Israel’s neighbors to the east and long-term enemies, exulted over her downfall (21-22) and will in turn be held accountable for their actions. They have blood on their hands. The vengeance which the writer longed for yesterday will be meted out, but not by Israel, for it is God’s prerogative.
Hebrew thought sees God as the ultimate author of all, but it also sees humans as responsible agents. There are questions around divine sovereignty and human responsibility which we long to resolve; Scripture seems content to live with the tension, assuring us that both are true. In the end, God’s nature ensures that justice will prevail and love will win, and that is what verse 22 affirms. It is sometimes hard to believe that God rules over world events, but that does not mean it is untrue. One day it will be universally recognized (Phil. 2:10-11).
What are the “gold and sacred gems” in your life (1)? How would you feel if they were taken away? Where would you look for a sense of self-worth?
Heavenly Father, my life is in You. I long to always hold this truth close to my heart and thank You for the hope it gives me.