August 12, 2020 – Wednesday
Lamentations 4:11-13 NIV
11 The Lord has given full vent to His wrath; He has poured out His fierce anger.
He kindled a fire in Zion that consumed her foundations.
12 The kings of the earth did not believe, nor did any of the peoples of the world, that enemies and foes could enter the gates of Jerusalem.
13 But it happened because of the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests, who shed within her the blood of the righteous.
God’s wrath spoken of in verse eleven is not some form of explosive anger, but instead God’s justice after long suffering on His part. His wrath here is expressed in permitting the fall of Israel and the city of Jerusalem. This was due to the people of Israel worshipping other gods, making injustice the norm, and oppressing the poor, all in contravention to their covenant with God.
This was not something new; it had been going on for generations. Thus we know God was slow, very slow to anger. It was so bad that the priests who should have been offering course corrections were among those angering God. For there were and the iniquities of her priests, who shed within her the blood of the righteous. No wonder His wrath was poured out as His fierce anger.
While Jerusalem had been taken twice before (see 1 Kings 14:26 and 2 Kings 14:13), it had been greatly fortified so that none thought it could be taken again. The Benson Commentary states The city was so well fortified, and had been so often miraculously preserved by God from the attempts of its enemies, that it seemed incredible that it should at last fall into their hands. Even now, its capture by Nebuchadnezzar, had taken a year and a half of a siege against the city.
The problem was they came to believe God would protect Jerusalem, the holy city, forever. This was, for example, reflected in Psalm 48:8 As we have heard, So we have seen In the city of the Lord of hosts, In the city of our God: God will establish it forever. Then there was also the great defeat of Sennacherib brought about by Hezekiah’s prayer to God in 2 Kings 19:20, From that a belief grew that God would always protect them neglecting to remember the strong central role prayer played in Sennacherib’s defeat.
Today, we are not much different. We often pray in time of need and when God answers our prayers one way or another, we are thankful. And then we truly follow Him … for a while. Then we get arrogant and think God is always on our side no matter what we do or how we behave. We could not be more wrong as we find out when God shakes the foundations of our lives reminding us who is really in charge of the universe.
If you read the Old Testament as well as the New Testament carefully, you will find the Bible is replete with examples of this attitude. They are there for us to learn from, warnings to be aware of such in our own behaviours.
Ever wonder why there are four gospels when one would do? Some truths have to be repeated over and over to make an impression on us as we simply go about our lives. I have read that it takes up to 13 exposures to an advertisement before it really penetrates our consciousness. We only have four gospels, perhaps we should be exposed to all four at least three times each so the Good News truly penetrates.