Tag Archives: exile

Crying Out Loud

Book of Lamentations – the five funeral dirges.  The year is close to 587 BC, the first round of captives have been taken to Babylon from Judah. All that God had said in Jeremiah, was come true in Lamentations. The book is authored by Jeremiah – the Weeping Prophet. No matter how much Jeremiah warned the Southern kingdom of Judah, the would not listen to the pending judgment of Yahweh. While there is admitted guilt about the rebellion and immorality entrenched within Judah; there is still the request for mercy or as is sometimes translated lovingkindness. Chapter 3:21-25 is a clear example of HOPE for the mercy of God. I found it interesting that while punishment was being implemented, Judah was not crying out in repentance, but in anguish for being punished. I can remember as a child that I could start crying and wiggling around even before the spanking started – crying out I wouldn’t do it again, but never admitting that I deserved what punishment I was getting. In Crisis of our lives, we too often focus on the repercussions more that the offense. In Lamentations, Jeremiah is weeping or crying out loud about the truth of God’s judgment upon the “daughter of Zion.” I had to look up “daughter of Zion” to have a more full understanding of the phrase. It has to do with the relationship of Judah [IE. Israel] to the Father. SO a relationship is being expressed in “daughter of Zion.” Since we know that God “birthed” Israel from an old and man and woman beyond child-bearing years, the Heavenly Father can call Israel not only His people, but treat her as His child.

The very language of the book is descriptive of the prophetic message given Jeremiah before the captivity and exile. I do not know why we wait so long before we pay attention to the trouble that will be ours when we sin. Of course Israel, Samaria were deserving of the m=punishment they received, but Judah, it seems to appear was appalled that they were being punished.

Clearly represented in the “anger and wrath” of the LORD on Judah. Jerusalem and the Temple are destroyed and ransacked by the enemies. Things were so bad inside the walls of the city, women boiled their children and ate them to stay alive. Famine, sword and pestilence just as they had been warned would occur, did – yet they still are complaining about their situation rather than acknowledge there is justification for their plight.

In each of the funeral messages, we find the depth of the punishment and wrath of God. The people of Judah were compared to the sins of Sodom, but considered worse, this being because they knew better.  While reading of the lament and sorrow of Jeremiah, I couldn’t help but think of 2 Chronicles 6 & 7, where Solomon prays to the LORD about the sin of rebellion Israel would potentially get entrenched in. Solomon asks the LORD to remember and forgive the people. The LORD answers Solomon’s prayer with an emphatic YES in 2 Chronicles 7:14. The exile and destruction of Judah is only comparable to the destruction of Jerusalem again in  70 AD. The land had become so polluted with the excesses of sin and immorality, God was compelled to “cleanse the land.” the Message to us [Americans] we cannot think we are above Israel and exempt from punishment. Arrogance and pride caused the fall of Judah and Israel; it will be the downfall of America as well. In our day we are hearing warning after warning to repent and return to the LORD. Will we heed the warnings or will we relive Lamentations “Crying out Loud” in sorrow for our unrepentant hearts over the judgment of God upon us?

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When it’s all said and done

Jeremiah 48-52; we conclude our reading of Jeremiah this week. It is obvious why he is called the “lamenting or weeping prophet.” Next week we will continue with Jeremiah’s writing with the book of Lamentations. .The last chapters of Jeremiah explain the demise of the foreign countries that mistreated Israel during the “disciplining of God’s people.” While we have learned that God uses “non-believing” rulers as instruments of His wrath and punishment, He still will hold them accountable for HOW they implement His punishment. Starting in chapter 46 – 51, we find each nation is judged by Jehovah. When I first started reading the judgments, I thought of Jesus’ message to the 7 churches in Revelation. However, that illustration breaks down rather quickly. While the nations are not the people of God Israel, they are not too far removed ancestrally. Egypt is implicated in chapter 46, as bible students we know enough about Egypt and the on and off wars with the Jews. They get punished for harboring Jews who have deserted Judah, also taking advantage of the plight of Judah’s discipline. Most of the judgement comes at the hands of Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar. The image that portrays Babylon as the greatest kingdom, with the Persians-Medes, Greeks and Romans in descending order, is reflected here with Jehovah “giving” the nations to Babylonian power.

Next is Philistia, or the “giants of the coast.”  In chapter 47:5, we find a hint of Elijah and Mt. Carmel, with the “gash yourselves.” Then we move to Chapter 48, and Moab, just a way of understanding better, who is Moab? Moab is one of the children that resulted from the  incest  relationship between Lot and his daughters.  Moab, not from the chosen line of Abraham, find themselves worshiping the Canaanite gods – Chemosh [i.e. Molech and child burnt sacrifices]. Remember that when Israel tried to pass through the Moab land, they were forbidden, God pronounced a judgment on them then.  Now Moab is located in the East and South, or as we would know today as Jordan. Ruth was a Moabitess which God used to bring forth the lineage of David through Boaz.  Right behind the judgment of Moab is his brother Amon – the other part of the Lot and daughters actions. Essentially the same can be said about Amon that has been said about Moab. Even though God is going to give over these kingdoms to Babylon, He finishes His pronouncement by telling them that He will “restore their fortunes.” I have been amazed at the grace and mercy of God in Jeremiah, for while God will punish the nations and His people for their sins, He will restore them back to a right relationship with Himself. This is true about the believer, we do fall into sin patterns, but Our God will restore us to fellowship if we will repent and turn from our wicked ways.

Moving on to Chapter 490, we encounter Edom or Esau; this is a lot closer to Israel that the other nations. However, Edom is not chosen of God – Jacob was. The mistreatment by Edom while Israel was in the wilderness is repaid here. Edom will be a horror to all who witness their destruction. No promise of restoration is given to them. By the way – Edom becomes 1st century Idumea the heritage of King Herod. Think through that for a moment. Later in the chapter we read of two kingdoms, obscure at first but highly significant – Kedar and Hazor. The significance is they are the root ancestry of Mohammad, Islam and Muslims. Known as the “men of the east.” These two places will be haunted, desolate and uninhabited.  God continues His punishment of the nations with Elam, which is the capital of Susa, better known as Iran. [of course we have the story of Esther and how God used her to save the Jews] Finally at the end of the book, while all along God has been telling Jeremiah that Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar are the instruments of God for disciplining Judah, we find that God will also take away the kingdom and posture of Babylon. Why? Because of the “over the top” actions towards Judah. The lesson here is God may use who ever He wants, but there is still accountability for how we implement His plans.

In chapter 52, the fall of Judah is complete, the exiles are taken, the Temple is destroyed. A remnant remains – out of all the Jews only 4600 are captive and will be the nucleus that God uses to rebuild and restore the nation.  So begins with the close of Jeremiah 70 years of exile. Why? The people would not listen!! He that has ears let him hear what the angels says to the churches.

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