Books of the Bible
AUTHOR: Jeremiah He labored for 40 years. 7 other Jeremiahs are listed in the Bible and are different from this Jeremiah.
Lamentations 1:1 How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!
Lamentations 1:3 Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude: she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits.
THEME: Jeremiah’s Sadness. Jeremiah, His Heart Broken, Cries for His People who Had Been Judged by God according to his Prophecies. Lamentations unveils the great, loving heart of Jehovah. He chastens them, yet He loves them. God’s sorrow and love are demonstrated through the heart expressions of Jeremiah. The feelings, deep emotions of sorrow, and humiliation expressed by the mouthpiece of Jehovah, Jeremiah, were produced by the Spirit of Christ. The book of Lamentations is written in five different poetic sections, all of them lamenting the tragic destruction of Jerusalem.
¯Chapters 1, 2, and 4 are twenty-two verses each, corresponding to the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. The first verse starts with the first letter, the 2nd verse starts with the second letter and so on.
¯Chapter 3 is built on the same principle, except each letter of the alphabet is repeated three times, totaling sixty -six verses.
¯Chapter 5, drops the acrostic use of the alphabet. This particular section has to do with the fall of Jerusalem and the terrible sufferings connected with the overthrow.
The Lord God allows evil to happen (Job 2:10; Isa. 45:7; Amos 3:6). The evil is often the punishment for sin (Jer. 18:6-11; 21:10; Lam. 3:39; Zeph. 1:12).
PURPOSE: Jeremiah records his lamentations of the historical suffering of the Jews because they rejected the words of God (2 Kings 17:15: Jer. 23:22). The book contains the historical record of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army (2 Kings 25).
Remember: The basic root sin of Israel and Judah was a rejection of the words of God (1 Sam. 15:26; 2 Kings 17:15; 1 Chron. 10:13; Prov. 13:13; Isaiah 30:8-14; Jer. 23:22, 36; Hosea 4:6).
DATE: David’s kingdom was established about 1,000 B.C. God’s blessings prevailed for nearly 400 years. The Assyrians carried away the Northern Kingdom in 721 B.C. Jerusalem was spared 115 more years before the people’s sin provoked God to release judgment upon them, through the nation of Babylon, under King Nebuchadnezzar.
BASIC OUTLINE OF THE BOOK:
Jerusalem’s Great Desolation and the Sorrow of His People
1st Poem – The city represented as a weeping widow mourning in solitude.
What the Lord has done
2nd Poem – The city represented as a veiled woman mourning against ruins.
The Prophet’s Suffering and Distress
3rd Poem – The city represented as the weeping prophet mourning before Jehovah the Judge.
The Departed Glory and the Cup of Shame
4th Poem – The city represented as gold-dimmed, changed, and degraded.
The prayer of Hope
5th Poem – The city represented as a repentant, begging sinner pleading `with the Lord.
INTRODUCTION: Lamentations consists of five chapters. Each of these is a separate, complete-in-itself poem and has a distinct subject, but all are under an all-inclusive plan. The prophet is weeping over the ruin of his country. He had seen all of this coming and had foretold it as inevitable. He had prophesied the overthrow of the city. He then witnessed its overthrow, and now he is shaken in soul by the desolation he sees. What Jeremiah had predicted now lies before him in exact fulfillment. Every statement of the coming doom is now a sad fact in the heaps of ruins that lie about him on every side. God had given him messages picturing the judgment that was to befall them. He now sees a city that is ruined and a temple that is destroyed. As he views it, his soul is stirred to the depths. He sees unbelievable suffering.
The common theme of the Lamentations is the terrible fate that befell Jerusalem when the Chaldeans captured the city in 588 B.C. and carried away its inhabitants. It has been the custom for the Lamentations to be read in the synagogue on the ninth day of Ab, or April the anniversary of the burning of the temple. (Jeremiah 52:6) This is a very ancient fast day, so the Lamentations were no doubt designed for this occasion. When read, it was accompanied by fasting and weeping to commemorate the misery out of which the people had been delivered.
Now let us notice the practical lessons of such a book.
Psalm 80:17‑18 Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself.
18 So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
2 Timothy 4:1‑4 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Titus 1:2‑3 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
Lamentations 1:7 Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old, when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries saw her, and did mock at her sabbaths.
Here is Jerusalem, besieged, destroyed and scattered. what will the people do? They remember! They remember days when the temple was up and the city was beautiful. They remember the blessings of God when they walked with God and kept His commandments. One of the sad things about a life of sin is the awful remembrance of better days when people walked with God.
Proverbs 5:11‑13 And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,
12 And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;
13 And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!
III. SIN TAKES BEAUTY.
Lamentations 1:6 And from the daughter of Zion all her beauty is departed: her princes are become like harts that find no pasture, and they are gone without strength before the pursuer.
Someone has rightly said that the best beauty course in all the world is a dedicated life and your own personal holiness. The best physical training in all the world is a pure, dedicated life for God. A nation loses her beauty when she turns from God. Individuals lose their beauty when they turn from God.
Jeremiah could have said that he warned the people and that it was not his fault. He could have even been happy that God punished them and therefore, his prophecy came true. You will recall that Jonah was discouraged because he had prophesied that Nineveh would be destroyed in forty days. When Nineveh repented and was not destroyed in forty days, Jonah was a little discouraged about it. Not so with Jeremiah! Look at some of the passages that show his heart was broken because of the sin of the people. Notice especially Lamentations 2:11a, “Mine eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured upon the earth.” Jeremiah was heartbroken because his prophecies had come true. Oh, God, give us broken hearts and tears!
Psalm 35:12‑14 They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.
13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.
14 I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.
Proverbs 24:17‑18 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:
18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.
Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Lam 3:22‑25 It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
Yes, though people are judged, we can go to the person that is being judged and tell him that God still loves him and that God’s mercies are new every morning. In the life of the Israelites, they had been judged because they refused to go into the Promised Land. They were cast into the wilderness for forty years to die. In spite of this fact, manna came from Heaven and was gathered by the Jews every morning. God gave them water from the rock in Horeb. Their shoes did not wear out. Yes, they had sinned. They had refused to do their best for God. God had judged them, but He had not forgotten them.
Think of Samson and his usefulness, and yet, after his great sin, he was not used by God as he once was. Think of Gideon, and others in the Bible who sacrificed the opportunity to do a great work for God because of great sin. Oh, yes, God still loved them, and God still blessed them, and for that matter, God cared for them and supplied their needs, but they were never quite the same as before. (Teacher, warn the young people and the children that once the milk is spilt, there is no way to re-gather it. One of the saddest things is to lament over opportunities once offered, but rejected, which cause the judgment of God to come.)
VII. PEOPLE WHO LAMENT CAN BE A GREAT HELP TO OTHERS. Because of David’s testimony, millions of people have avoided the sins that David committed. People who have sacrificed great opportunities often regret that their lives are wasted and that they can do nothing now for God. There is one thing, however, that they can do that no one else can do: They can warn the young people and prevent many tragedies in the lives of others. This is a ministry particularly unique to those who have gone so far that they cannot be used to their fullest. This is what Solomon did in Ecclesiastes as he warned the youth not to follow in his footsteps.
Consistency does pay off.
Once a farmer came to the pastor and said, “I am a farmer. This year I planted my crop on Sunday. I fertilized my crop on Sunday. I worked my crop on Sunday. I harvested my crop on Sunday. I sold my crop on Sunday, and this October I had the best crop I ever had. Now what do you have to say to that, Pastor?” The pastor replied, “Dear brother, remember this: God does not always pay off in October.” This is so true. Sometimes God’s mercy will even tranquilize us into believing that judgment will not come for sin. He is patient. He is longsuffering. He does not want to punish us, and so His punishment is stayed until we get the idea that it will not come, but come it will. May we avoid this judgment by giving our lives to God! Along with those who have already been judged by God and whose lives have been wrecked, may we be busy warning those who have not lived as many years so that their dedicated, useful lives can substitute for the wasted lives of older people.
Lessons from Lamentations
Lamentations 4:3-4 Even the sea monsters draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones: the daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness.
4 The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the young children ask bread, and no man breaketh it unto them.
Scientists classify the whale with mammals because it gives suck to its young (Gen. 1:21), but the Bible classifies the whale as an unusual fish (Jonah 1:17; Matt. 12:40). It is no doubt that the whale is God’s joke on the evolutionist because it somehow crawled out on land to learn how to breathe and backslid into the ocean according to the evolutionary theory. How many whales ground before they learn to evolve longs to breath? (Rom. 1:22)
Lamentations 5:10-13 Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine.
11 They ravished the women in Zion, and the maids in the cities of Judah.
12 Princes are hanged up by their hand: the faces of elders were not honoured.
13 They took the young men to grind, and the children fell under the wood.
These horrible persecutions and tortures partly describe some of the tragic events of the conquest of Babylon. Some of these ghastly backs were repeated in the destruction of the temple by the Roman army under Titus in 70 A.D. The murderous papal bull “Ad exstirpanda,” issued by Pope Innocent IV formally ordered the torture of heretics during the inquisition of the Dark Ages. This document stated that heretics were to be crushed like venomous snakes. Adolf Hitler followed the same religious document during World War II and the Antichrist will master these torturous methods during the Tribulation. Since the number five symbolizes death (Gen. 5:5), chapter 5 describes the persecution, torture, and death of the Jews during the Great Tribulation, which will be the accomplished punishment of Matthew 27:25.
Lamentations 5:21-22 Turn thou us unto thee, O Lord, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.
22 But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us.
The reason for this rejection is because the children of God first rejected the word of God; therefore, God rejected them (1 Sam. 15:26; 2 Kings 17:15; Hosea 4:6; John 8:47; 12:48).