Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Yesterday’s blog was just a thought received before our Sunday School lesson. Since I’m going (somewhat) in an orderly fashion, we’ll look at that lesson of poetry – Lamentations. Five chapters – four with 22 verses, the middle one with 66. Chapters 1, 2 and 4 have verses beginning with letters of the Hebrew alphabet; chapter three has three verses, in order, beginning with each of the letters; chapter five has 22 verses, though not beginning with the alphabet. It would take some planning and forethought to create such a funeral dirge:
How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary! (Lamentations 1:1 KJV)
From the analogy of widowhood, we move to abandonment:
She weepeth sore 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 are become her enemies. Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude: she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits. (Lamentations 1:2-3 KJV)
Politically, we haven’t moved that far, have we? Jerusalem, as the center of Judah, had allies – which it worked well for them – who abandoned her – when it suited them better. I do believe that has occurred to individuals in politics, and to nations, in our world today.
Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old, when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries saw her, and did mock at her sabbaths. (Lamentations 1:7 KJV)
In lamenting the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, David used a phrase that we still use today:
How are the mighty fallen (2 Samuel 1:27a KJV)
The feelings Jerusalem’s enemies felt was not sadness, but mockery, even for her religion. How could she have been abandoned by the God she had been extolling for generations? Even in poetry, Jeremiah defined the “How?”
Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is removed: all that honoured her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward. Her filthiness is in her skirts; she remembereth not her last end; therefore she came down wonderfully: she had no comforter. O LORD, behold my affliction: for the enemy hath magnified himself. (Lamentations 1:8-9 KJV)
How happy enemies are when their own errors bring down individuals! That applies to nations, too. How said when an entire nation errs – and chastisement occurs.
They have heard that I sigh: there is none to comfort me: all mine enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that thou hast done it: thou wilt bring the day that thou hast called, and they shall be like unto me. (Lamentations 1:21 KJV)
And, that’s just the first chapter. There are four more. Tomorrow, we’ll look at the middle of this poetry. What do you expect?