August 30

Read Lamentations 1 -- 2

In Today's Reading:

Jeremiah's lamentation over Jerusalem's destruction

Jeremiah was deeply grieved that the holy city of Jerusalem had become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary (a forced laborer)! She weepeth sore (bitterly) in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among all her lovers, she hath none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they have become her enemies. Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude (Lamentations 1:1-3). Jeremiah tells us why Jerusalem was reduced to such deplorable destruction: The LORD hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions (1:5).

Judah had been devastated by famine, and many had died of starvation. Now its few remaining inhabitants were being forced to be slaves in a foreign land. All that once was so beautiful and precious was now a heap of ruins.

To illustrate their pitiful suffering and sorrow, the prophet Jeremiah compared the once wealthy, secure, and proud Israelite to a widow who had lost her husband. The loving Lord was the generous Provider and powerful Protector of Israel, but the people had rejected Him. As a widow, Jerusalem was now alone, weeping in the night, with no one to comfort her: Jerusalem hath grievously sinned . . . all that honoured her despise her (1:8). The houses were burned and the palace demolished; but, much more tragic, the glorious Temple of God had been destroyed. The Covenant of God with Israel required willing obedience to His Word, but they had not kept their part of the Covenant. Spiritual neglect eventually led the Israelites to lose not only their personal liberty, but also the precious privilege to let the world know the One True God who expects them to reject their idols and worship their Creator.

We too have one supreme reason for living, and it is not to obtain financial security, popularity, or material success, or to look forward to the next vacation. The question that needs to be addressed is: Will we read how we must live to please our Creator, or suffer the consequences? Pity the person who is wasting the few short years of his life chasing social and financial goals, but failing to achieve the purpose for which God created him.

Jesus is asking a sobering question of all who call themselves a Christian: Why call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46). Obviously, you can't do something you don't know. So, if heaven is your supreme "goal" in life, then this is the right time to reconsider your priorities.

Since we will soon face Christ the King, we need to ask ourselves: "Are spiritual achievements my first priority?"; "Am I thought of as a dependable, loyal Christian among my friends and neighbors, as well as in my church?"; "Can my pastor count on me to teach a class, or share in other responsibilities?" Others need to consider the importance of their abilities in full-time ministry. Despite the incomparable importance of Jesus' words: Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), many "believers" continue to flounder on through life, wasting year after year on the trivial, temporary things of this life.

There is a great satisfaction beyond compare for awaiting all who decide to truly allow Christ to be Lord of their lives. We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men (II Corinthians 5:9-11).

Christ Revealed:

By Jeremiah's sorrow over Jerusalem when it was destroyed (see Lamentations 1:12-22). Jesus expressed His deep sorrow for Jerusalem's failure to come to Him before it fell again (see Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34).

Word Studies:

1:3 between the straits = in places where there was no way out; 1:4 solemn = appointed; 1:9 came down wonderfully = had a horrifying fall; 1:14 wreathed = joined together; 2:12 their soul was poured out into = they died in.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Direct Connection Faith Ministries and Cindy Oliver, Director · Country: Portugal (10 million) in western Europe · Major language: Portuguese · Limited religious freedom · 90% Roman Catholic; .75% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Raise your hands in praise and prayer, and worship the Lord (I Timothy 2:8).

Optional Reading: Revelation 4

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 8:13