14 The elders are gone from the city gate; the young men have stopped their music.
15 Joy is gone from our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning.
16 The crown has fallen from our head. Woe to us, for we have sinned!
17 Because of this our hearts are faint, because of these things our eyes grow dim
18 for Mount Zion, which lies desolate, with jackals prowling over it.
Today we come to the fifth and final chapter of Lamentations. If you read through the whole chapter, please do so, it reads more like a prayer more than the others calling out to God for His great compassion.
1 Remember, Lord, what has happened to us; look, and see our disgrace.
2 Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to foreigners.
3 We have become fatherless, our mothers are widows.
4 We must buy the water we drink; our wood can be had only at a price.
With what we know from these first verses alone it is no wonder the young men have stopped their music and Joy is gone from our hearts as we read in verses fourteen and fifteen above. But it is worse than we read in the first four verses for
9 We get our bread at the risk of our lives because of the sword in the desert.
10 Our skin is hot as an oven, feverish from hunger.
11 Women have been violated in Zion, and virgins in the towns of Judah.
12 Princes have been hung up by their hands; elders are shown no respect.
13 Young men toil at the millstones; boys stagger under loads of wood.
They find food, bread, only at the risk of death, even as their hunger results in fever. Rape is common as their leaders are strung up by their hands and the young men and boys work as if they were animals or slaves. They start out blaming others for their circumstances … it is their fault, not ours!
7 Our ancestors sinned and are no more, and we bear their punishment.
By the time we get to verse sixteen, above, we come to the crux of the matter Woe to us, for we have sinned! It’s not just their ancestors, but they too have sinned and all this is a result of generational sin. Because of this our hearts are faint and they see the result of their sin as Mount Zion, which lies desolate, with jackals prowling over it. Their places of worship are abandoned open now to wildlife.
Nonetheless, Jeremiah, our weeping prophet ends on a note of hope in this prayer with the thought their relationship can be renewed once again knowing of God’s great capacity for forgiveness and mercy.
19 You, Lord, reign forever; your throne endures from generation to generation.
20 Why do you always forget us? Why do you forsake us so long?
21 Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old
22 unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.
We experience His mercy through His Son Jesus and His Free Gift of Grace no matter how undeserving each of us is. It’s Friday and we are looking to have a great weekend. A big part of our great weekend should be remembering God and all He has done for us. Actually that should be part of every day for us. Still, part of our weekend can be remembering to Go To Church and joining with other believers in worship of Him.