So We May Return

Today's devotion from Lamentations 4 & 5.These last two chapters of Lamentations outline how destitute the people are. Their lives are no longer their own. They have been overwhelmed and overrun to the point that they suffer starvation, humiliation, hopelessness, and dejection at every turn. Their world has been turned upside down. The author speaks of poverty and cannibalism. He writes of hopeless lives absent joy. He mentions tarnished gold and architectural wonders in ruins. Yet, read the prayer of the author. He recognizes the root as sin, "Woe to us, for we have sinned. Because of this, our heart is sick; of these, our eyes grow dim." (Lamentations 5:16-17, CSB)

Israel had a unique relationship with God. They had His personal promise that none of this would ever happen as long as they followed Him. He made a covenant with the people to provide for their every need as long as they were His own special possession. So, what happened? Sin.

Instead of praying for an easement on their pain or for food for their families, or for power over their enemies, the author of this prayer petitions God, "Lord, bring us back to yourself, so we may return." (Lamentations 5:21, CSB) He realizes what they need more than food or comfort is God.

This is the heart of the book of Lamentations. We are forced to lament because of sin. Sin, in general, is the reason families are broken. Sin, in general, is the reason our loved ones are taken from us. Sin is the reason the world is turned upside down, and the only answer is to draw close to God.

Only...

We cannot of our own volition draw close to Him. This is the genius of the author's understanding.

"LORD, bring us back to yourself."

Only He can reach across that great expanse. Only He can restore that which has been mangled. Only He can bring us back, and that is exactly what He did in sending Christ.