20 “See, Lord, how distressed I am! I am in torment within, and in my heart I am disturbed,
for I have been most rebellious. Outside, the sword bereaves; inside, there is only death.
Before we begin in Lamentations, let’s talk about the book itself. We just finished looking at Jeremiah and he is believed to be the author, the weeping prophet, of Lamentations. The actual author is nameless within, but there is much evidence within and without that points to Jeremiah as the author. Although King Josiah is not mentioned in this book, Jeremiah’s written lament for Josiah provides evidence of Jeremiah as the author.
Jeremiah composed laments for Josiah, and to this day all the male and female singers commemorate Josiah in the laments. These became a tradition in Israel and are written in the Laments. 2 Chronicles 35:25
As we begin, first a summary of the book. It consists of five separate and distinct poems. The first four chapters are written as acrostics where each verse corresponds to the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Chapter three though has sixty-six verses where each letter begins three lines. While the fifth, and last chapter also has twenty-two verses, it is not acrostic. One unusual note
Unlike standard alphabetical order, the middle chapters in Lamentations have the letter Pe (the 17th letter) comes before Ayin (the 16th). The first chapter uses standard alphabetical order. Wikipedia on Lamentations
So now to our verse of the day where Jeremiah writes as if he is the city of Jerusalem or the people of the city. Either way Jerusalem is distressed and in torment within while in its heart/their hearts it is/they are disturbed because it has/they have been most rebellious.
Note the confession of sin – have been most rebellious. This lament or confession is made very clear in the next two and final verses of this chapter.
21 “People have heard my groaning, but there is no one to comfort me.
All my enemies have heard of my distress; they rejoice at what you have done.
May you bring the day you have announced so they may become like me.
22 “Let all their wickedness come before you; deal with them as you have dealt with me because of all my sins.
My groans are many and my heart is faint.”
Also consider these two verses
1 How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations!
She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.
5 Her foes have become her masters; her enemies are at ease. The Lord has brought her grief because of her many sins.
Her children have gone into exile, captive before the foe.
The lesson here is that sin has consequences, especially unrepentant sin. Sin that continues would be called rebellion against God. Pride and arrogance are the greatest causes of unrepentant sin, something we need to be aware of. If we substitute arrogance for pride we can see what it leads to and what can accompany it.
21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” Mark 7