+ March 20 - March 26
Read Lamentations 1 each day
Wednesday, March 20
vv1-2. Jeremiah, whose life was spared when Babylon invaded and conquered Jerusalem, looks over the ruined city and mourns. Notice the picturesque language concerning the city: lonely, widow, slave. He compares her current condition of desolation with her history as a princess, the jewel of Judah. She weeps over her loss and looks for comfort. But notice where she looks for comfort, her lovers (allies) and friends. These are the very nations that Judah cozied up to in her rebellion against God, who now have rejected her. Did you notice the haunting phrase, “she has none to comfort her”? The very people who led her into idolatry offer her no comfort. She rejected God’s covenant and became adulterous. For that she suffers God’s discipline. How are we like Judah? What leads us away from God? What keeps us close to God?
Thursday, March 21
v3. Part of Jeremiah’s purpose is to declare that God is just in punishing Judah for her sins. This theme will come up many times because God is treating Judah as he treats all his children, he disciplines them. The writer of Hebrews affirms this in Hebrews 12:7-11. Discipline is hard, but it yields “the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Jeremiah knows that the outcome will be a nation committed to following the Lord. But for now, she has been dispersed among the nations and has no home. God still disciplines his children to train them. This discipline proves that they are his children and that God is being faithful. Have you experienced his discipline? What did you learn through the experience? The writer of Hebrews says, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.” (NIV) How is God training you today? While difficult, this should comfort you, because it means that you are God’s child. Rejoice that you are his. How does this affect how you view your unique hardships?
Friday, March 22
vv4-12. Here Jeremiah details the sorrow and desolation of the nation. Notice verse six, “her princes have become like deer that did no pasture.” Sheep have pasture, but these princes have no home. Verse seven highlights the mental suffering, “Jerusalem remembers…all the precious things that were hers.” If you’ve ever lost something you cherish, you know the mental anguish of memory. Verse eight explains what happened; she sinned “grievously.” She’s exposed and humiliated. Again he says, “she has no comforter.” (v9) She cries out to God to see her, “O LORD, behold my affliction.” She asks again (v11), “Look, O LORD, and see, for I am despised.” She wonders if anyone has suffered like her. Her lovers (allies) pass by and show no remorse. Jeremiah clearly states that God is responsible for her suffering. Does God see her affliction? It’s an important question, because it reveals whether you think God sees your affliction. Does he see your affliction? Does he care that you suffer? Maybe you feel alone, unloved, misunderstood. Does God care? How would Paul answer that? (Look at Romans 8:38, 39)
Saturday, March 23
vv13-17. Jeremiah speaks of Judah’s suffering personally, “he sent fire; into my bones he made it descend.” He’s stunned, in shock. Judah’s transgressions were a burden that she was forced to carry like John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s progress. The weight is crushing! More crushing than her sin, “The Lord rejected me.” (V15) He treated Judah like grapes being stepped on and crushed. Again he says, “for a comforter is far from me” and “there is none to comfort her.” (Vv16,17) Had the Lord rejected his people? It felt like it. All their experience indicated that God had indeed rejected them, but had he? To reject his people would mean God is going back on his word, his covenant promises to Abraham. His character prohibits that from happening.
Judah had no one to comfort her since all their allies had turned their backs on her. Next to each of these references to “no comfort” I wrote John 14. Read John 14:15-18. Do you have a comforter? Jesus says he won’t leave us as orphans. Rejoice, you are not rejected!
Sunday, March 24
vv18-2. This is an important section because it expresses repentance! Here, Jeremiah speaking for Judah says, “The LORD is in the right, for I have rebelled against his word.” Jeremiah is giving words to Judah’s confession. She calls to her people who are now in captivity to hear her confession and see her suffering. In humility she calls out to God to see her distress and again confesses, “because I have been very rebellious.”(v20) While again he says, “yet there is no one to comfort me,” he is looking to God for comfort. Then Jeremiah, speaking for Judah, asks God to deal with those who have afflicted her. This is an interesting thought because Babylon was God’s chosen instrument for disciplining them. But they are still God’s people and the Babylonians are still God’s enemies. This passage reveals Jeremiah’s confidence that they were not forsaken by God. He leads them in repentance and then asks God to be just and punish their enemies.
This passage is a beautiful acknowledgement of sin. God’s mercy and faithfulness makes it safe to confess our sin. Do you confess your sin? John says that when we confess, God is faithful to forgive and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Humble yourself before the Lord today. Own your sin, and seek his mercy.
Read Lamentations 2 each day.
Monday, March 25
vv1-5. In this section, Jeremiah focuses on the devastating nature of God’s chastening. He begins with the phrase, “How the Lord in his anger.” This is noteworthy because it reminds us that sin, especially unrepentant sin among his people, stirs him to action. Paul reminds the Corinthians of this in 1 Corinthians 10:1-5 as Israel rebelled against the Lord but thought that God would overlook their sin because they were his people. He continues in 1 Corinthians 10:6-12 to warn them and urge them to faithfulness. Judah is an important warning to us, an “example” Paul says, to remind us to walk humbly with God. This shouldn’t cause us fear, but it should remind us to walk in humility, repenting of our sin and pursuing God’s grace in daily life.
Jeremiah indicts the Lord in this section, stating in verse two, “The Lord has swallowed up without mercy.” In fact, Jeremiah says that God has become Judah’s enemy. Notice the descriptive language of God’s wrath. Was God merciless? Consider that many lives were spared, like that of Daniel. Daniel came to rule in Babylon and Esther spared the people of God in the Persian Empire. Had God forsaken his people? Was he merciless? God does chasten us, but he still shows mercy even in his discipline. How have you seen this?
Tuesday, March 26
vv6-10. Here Jeremiah walks through specific elements of God’s destruction, removing what the people considered sacred and untouchable. The people thought, “Certainly God won’t touch the temple or his altar. Certainly he won’t take away the city of Jerusalem; after all he promised an eternal king and put his presence in the city. He won’t touch the Messianic line of Judah.” With all this they were confident that God wouldn’t act against them, but he did. In Nehemiah, God rebuilds the city and the temple, and Persia paid for it. God is able to tear down and rebuild and is more committed to the holiness of his people than buildings and sacred spaces.
A really sad commentary is given regarding the prophets of God when Jeremiah says, “her prophets find no vision from the LORD.” (v9) What’s sad about this is that the prophets hadn’t spoken the truth when they heard from God, and now God wasn’t speaking to them. In addition, he says, “the law is no more.” (v8) The law of God and the Word of God were removed. While Jeremiah laments this, the people hadn’t been listening or obeying. Think about what Jesus says about abiding in him and his words abiding within us, John 15. You’re abiding as you read and study God’s word. You’re abiding as you pray and humble yourself before the Lord. Seek the Lord today. Humble yourself before him. Ask him to help you abide today through his word.
+ March 27 - April 2
+ April 3 - April 9
+ April 10 - April 16
+ April 17 - April 21
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