Strong Medicine Indeed!
Holy God, show me Your mercy and forgive my sin today so that I may come to You and Your Word with a clean heart.
Read Lamentations 2:1-22
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done’” (C. S. Lewis).
It is right that we should think of God as our father and our friend, but we shouldn’t therefore assume that we have him wrapped around our finger. It really is “a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31). There are times in the Old Testament when the people of God experience God as an antagonist; when, as with Jacob, he seems to enter into combat with us. Jacob’s solution, to wrestle with God until he blessed him, was bold and productive—but he limped for the rest of his life as a result. Reading the lament of these verses must surely raise the old question, “Why does God permit atrocities” and make it even more acute? Is God actually taking part in them (e.g. v. 17)? That is how far the chosen people must have sunk in despair. Jewish commentators on this chapter often make a comparison with the Holocaust in Germany and Poland in the 1940s. When the most vulnerable die, we may well ask ourselves “Where is God?” (21,22). How crucial it is to humbly empathize with those who have actually witnessed such things!
For the writer of Lamentations the answer is stark: the God the chosen people know and trust is there, doing the punishment. God’s anger is terrible, but it wasn’t as if the people weren’t warned. Strong medicine indeed!
We, too, must beware of presuming God’s favor, and we must pay attention to the prophets of our own day. We might even be called to that necessary but terrible ministry of prophecy ourselves because, if the sentries fall asleep and fail to warn the city they guard, then the consequences will be grim for them and for those who rely on them.
Are you being called to speak out in some way today? Who is speaking out in God’s name now, and how should we attend to their prophecy?
Sovereign God, give me ears to hear those who speak in Your name, and courage to be one if You so call me. I want nothing more than to please You.