Posted by: jmark | February 13, 2009

Meditating on Lamentations

I’ve come to Lamentations on my way through the Bible.  It’s nice to get to those shorter books that you can scratch off the list in a single sitting.

Or so I thought.

But I’ve come to a screeching halt in Lamentations.  The car has broken down and I may be here for some time.

I want to suggest that you read Lamentations slowly.  Now I know about the original context–Jeremiah lamenting over teh fall of Jerusalem at the hands of Babylon.  It know that it’s theme is summed up in ch3:23 “Great is your faithfuless”.  But before you jump to that, stay a while a ponder the earlier chapters; ponder slowly.

And ponder with these thoughts in mind:

  • This is the lament of someone who has seen the wrath of God close up
  • This is the lament of someone who feels forsaken
  • This is the lament for the wrath on God being poured out on his Chosen People (Jerusalem) who had rebelled
  • Jesus came to take the place of God’s chosen people, to bear God’s wrath, to be in the place of the rebels who inhabited God’s Kingdom, so that we could be citizens of the new Jerusalem.
  • In your reading let the phrases Jerusalem, Daughter of Zion, Zion, the city point you to Christ.  In Lamentations they refer to Jerusalem – I’m not even sure we can see them as a direct prophecy of Christ, but since this judgment is a foreshadowing of the great judgment, first experienced by Jesus, and then by all who reject Jesus’ offer to bear their judgment, then we are able to see them as pointing to the Great Sufferer.
  • Now ask yourself – What glimpse to I get into the sufferings of Christ as I read these words?
  • Then say to yourself – This is only the foreshadowing of the wrath he bore, the wrath he bore was far worse.

Then perhaps like me you will grind to a halt in Lamentations.

Over the next few days I’m going to post some verses and thoughts on where they point us.  But let me encourage you to read it for yourself.  Note – there will be details that don’t quite fit.  Leave them aside, and focus on what does fit.

“How deserted lies the city”
The abandonment of Christ, deserted, forsaken.

“She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave”
He was the the King of Heaven, bedecked in splendour, who became a slave, to that we who were slaves to sin, could become Sons of the King

“Bitterly she weeps at night, ears are upon her cheeks.
Among all her lovers there is none to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies.”

Gethsemane, sorrowing unto death, his friends asleep, Judas coming to betray, his disciples fleeing.


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