Lamentations

This devotional is written by Sadie Windsor-Richards. My name is Sadie. I am married to Matthew and have two boys: Luke 15 and Isaac 13. I'm an art specialist in a primary school and love to make textile art and do jigsaws when I have some 'me' time. We have recently got a dog called Mollie who is the new addition to our family.

Lamentations 2

2 How the Lord has covered Daughter Zion with the cloud of his anger! He has hurled down the splendour of Israel from heaven to earth; he has not remembered his footstool in the day of his anger.

2 Without pity the Lord has swallowed up all the dwellings of Jacob; in his wrath he has torn down the strongholds of Daughter Judah. He has brought her kingdom and its princes down to the ground in dishonour.

3 In fierce anger he has cut off every horn of Israel. He has withdrawn his right hand at the approach of the enemy. He has burned in Jacob like a flaming fire that consumes everything around it.

4 Like an enemy he has strung his bow; his right hand is ready. Like a foe he has slain all who were pleasing to the eye; he has poured out his wrath like fire on the tent of Daughter Zion.

5 The Lord is like an enemy; he has swallowed up Israel. He has swallowed up all her palaces and destroyed her strongholds. He has multiplied mourning and lamentation for Daughter Judah.

6 He has laid waste his dwelling like a garden; he has destroyed his place of meeting. The Lord has made Zion forget her appointed festivals and her Sabbaths; in his fierce anger he has spurned both king and priest.

7 The Lord has rejected his altar and abandoned his sanctuary. He has given the walls of her palaces into the hands of the enemy; they have raised a shout in the house of the Lord as on the day of an appointed festival.

8 The Lord determined to tear down the wall around Daughter Zion. He stretched out a measuring line and did not withhold his hand from destroying. He made ramparts and walls lament; together they wasted away.

9 Her gates have sunk into the ground; their bars he has broken and destroyed. Her king and her princes are exiled among the nations, the law is no more, and her prophets no longer find visions from the Lord.

10 The elders of Daughter Zion sit on the ground in silence; they have sprinkled dust on their heads and put on sackcloth. The young women of Jerusalem have bowed their heads to the ground.

11 My eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within; my heart is poured out on the ground because my people are destroyed, because children and infants faint in the streets of the city.

12 They say to their mothers, 'Where is bread and wine?' as they faint like the wounded in the streets of the city, as their lives ebb away in their mothers' arms.

13 What can I say for you? With what can I compare you, Daughter Jerusalem? To what can I liken you, that I may comfort you, Virgin Daughter Zion? Your wound is as deep as the sea. Who can heal you?

14 The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they gave you were false and misleading.

15 All who pass your way clap their hands at you; they scoff and shake their heads at Daughter Jerusalem: 'Is this the city that was called the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth?'

16 All your enemies open their mouths wide against you; they scoff and gnash their teeth and say, 'We have swallowed her up. This is the day we have waited for; we have lived to see it.'

17 The Lord has done what he planned; he has fulfilled his word, which he decreed long ago. He has overthrown you without pity, he has let the enemy gloat over you, he has exalted the horn[e] of your foes.

18 The hearts of the people cry out to the Lord. You walls of Daughter Zion, let your tears flow like a river day and night; give yourself no relief, your eyes no rest.

19 Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint from hunger at every street corner.

20 'Look, Lord, and consider: whom have you ever treated like this? Should women eat their offspring, the children they have cared for? Should priest and prophet be killed in the sanctuary of the Lord?

21 'Young and old lie together in the dust of the streets; my young men and young women have fallen by the sword. You have slain them in the day of your anger; you have slaughtered them without pity.

22 'As you summon to a feast day, so you summoned against me terrors on every side. In the day of the Lord's anger no one escaped or survived; those I cared for and reared my enemy has destroyed.'

Reflection

In the book of Lamentations we see how Jeremiah mourns over the destruction of Jerusalem, the city of God. God had warned the people repeatedly that if they did not turn back to him, they would have to face the consequences of their actions. In verse 11 we see clearly how much Jeremiah grieves for his people: "My eyes fail from weeping. I am in torment within..." As I read this I thought about the many times I have prayed, fasted and at times wept for close friends of mine, who I long to see released from the struggles they battle with day in day out. Having exhausted routes of conversation and numerous church invites I now simply pray that these people would encounter Jesus and find the freedom and peace they long for. The other day I said to Jesus; 'Lord, how come I don't get to see the harvest of my prayers? Why haven't my friends met with you yet? If they could only encounter you, experience you, they would be free!' I felt his response; 'Trust in my timings. I want you to be a seed sower. Keep sowing the seeds of my love and truth generously. Snatch up every opportunity I present you with to share me with others. Be sensitive to my Spirit's leading and don't de discouraged if you don't see the outcome when you wish to see it. Trust them to me.' Verse 19 says: "Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord." Jesus calls us to share his heart's cry for the people he puts in our path. We need to respond to his spirit's prompting and never give up praying for them.

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