She Weeps Bitterly

Today's devotion from Lamentations 1There are many questions concerning the book of Lamentations. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the authorship of the book is anonymous. Instead of following Jeremiah, it falls in the section known as the Ketuvim, or the writings. In other Bible traditions, it not only follows Jeremiah, but is attributed to the prophet. Biblical scholars debate what all of this means. Did Jeremiah write the book as some traditions hold? Do we approach the book as anonymous as others believe? Do we stop worrying about it and simply study these verses in faith that God is using them?

As you read these sad poems that lament the state of destruction in Jerusalem, you will see that there is much in common with what we've just studied concerning Jeremiah's life and ministry. For this reason, many modern Christian scholars propose that we study Lamentations as if it accompanies the destruction we've just encountered at the hands of the Chaldeans.

The one thing almost every scholar accepts is that Lamentations was written very soon after the fall of Jerusalem. From that context, I propose we study the verses from this perspective: sin always causes pain and grief. Ultimately, it doesn't matter if it was Jeremiah or a contemporary, the pain experienced because to the rampant sin in Jerusalem has led to devastation in the lives of innumerable men, women and children.

Sin continues to do this in our modern age. Families are torn apart, individuals are wrecked, entire nations are trapped in the ensuing chaos of sin. As believers, we could sit back and point our wagging fingers. We could climb into our pulpits and shout, "I told you so!" We could look at the pain in our neighbors' lives as something they deserve.

Or, we could see the brokenness around us and be moved by compassion. We can grieve with those who grieve. We can weep with those who weep. And maybe, just maybe, by demonstrating a true concern for our fellow man, they might be more inclined to hear what we have to say about the hope we have.