KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Lamentations is the anguished outpouring of a prophet mourning the degradation of a once great nation. This book, a collection of five poems, was written by Jeremiah shortly after the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, about 586 B.C. The Babylonian conqueror Nebuchadnezzar had laid siege to the city for eighteen long months and when the city was finally taken, it was a heartbreaking time for the Jewish people. This set of poems, the first four composed in the form of ancient funeral songs or dirges, and the final one, a prayer, describe the terrifying calamity that had befallen the land. They acknowledge that the people were being punished severely for disobeying God.
At one time the people of Judah had obeyed and loved their God. Now they were physically, emotionally, and spiritually broken. Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple had been destroyed, and the people put to shame before their oppressors. But the greatest loss was the knowledge that God had turned away from them because of their rejection of Him.
In spite of the excruciating pain of the situation they were in, Jeremiah voiced his hope that God would turn His anger away if only the people would repent. Lamentations concludes with a prayer designed to be the penitent outpouring of a broken nation—a nation that had finally realized the cost of angering God. With desperate longing, the prophet verbalized a plea intended to guide the people to a position of humility and repentance, asking God to remember them and turn away the fierceness of His great wrath.
We live in an age when people and nations are forgetting and forsaking God. We also know that there is a time of tribulation coming soon upon this earth — a time of trouble of a magnitude that has never been seen before. Let us learn a lesson from the failure of the people of Judah, and stay true to God, that we might escape that terrible time!