Day 21: Bad Brothers

Lamentations 4:17-22 :

Our eyes still fail,
looking in vain for our help.
In our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save.

They hunt our steps,
so that we can’t go in our streets.
Our end is near.
Our days are fulfilled,
for our end has come.

Our pursuers were swifter than the eagles of the sky.
They chased us on the mountains.
They set an ambush for us in the wilderness.

The breath of our nostrils,
the anointed of Yahweh,
was taken in their pits;
of whom we said,
under his shadow we will live among the nations.

Rejoice and be glad, daughter of Edom,
who dwells in the land of Uz.
The cup will pass through to you also.
You will be drunken,
and will make yourself naked.

The punishment of your iniquity is accomplished, daughter of Zion.
He will no more carry you away into captivity.
He will visit your iniquity, daughter of Edom.
He will uncover your sins.

As I considered this passage, I found it helpful to recall the history of Israel’s dealings with Edom. When we do that, it’s important to remember the founder of the nation. It was Jacob’s brother Esau that was it’s father. The land of Edom comes from the a twin brother of Israel. You would think that if you wanted help from a nation, it would only be natural to get that help from a group of very close relatives, but that’s not how it went.

When Moses was guiding the redeemed slaves of Israel through the desert, they actually asked the Edomites if they could simply pass through it without staying. Edom not only didn’t invite them to stay a while, they denied them the ability to pass through and even threatened them with harm if they tried.

Things obviously didn’t change over the years after Israel became a strong nation. Now, when they were brought low, Edom continued to keep their distance from Israel. I sense a bit of sarcasm from God here, if I’m reading it right. He says: “Rejoice and be glad, daughter of Edom… You will be drunken, and will make yourself naked.” What I read here is that not only was it their brother Israel’s time of judgment, but it was about to be Edom’s also.

We have some very comforting words at the end of this lamentation. God says: “The punishment of your iniquity is accomplished, daughter of Zion. He will no more carry you away into captivity.” What a wonderful thing it is for any of us to hear that our time of judgment is over and that we will have peace with God. That’s why Christmastime so special. It’s when God announced His peace with mankind. What an amazing day that was when God Himself sent angels to tell the world that He was now ready to remove their iniquity.

Day 7: Unrecognized

John 1:10 : He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world didn’t recognize him.

When we celebrate Christmas, we celebrate what should have been celebrated when it actually happened. The one through whom the whole world was made came to earth. It says here that “He was in the world.” This is an amazing thing that the one who created us was in the world with us as one of us.

Although God told some shepherds and some wise men from far away were watching, most people didn’t know that anything happened. Jesus was unrecognized. It is pretty obvious by the fact that he had to be born with the animals. This disrespect and disregard was common in Jesus’ life as John mentioned earlier. God had prophesied that he would be coming into the world. We know that this is true because the wise men from far away were expecting him. Some believe these wise men were those who learned from Daniel when he was alive in Babylon many years earlier.

We have already heard that John the Baptist was there to tell people who Jesus was. But there were two others who were expecting Him that we are told about in Luke. When Jesus was taken to the temple for circumcision as Jews were required to do, these two individuals were ready and waiting in expectation.

One of them was named Simeon. He was there in the temple and was “looking forward to Israel’s consolation.” The other was Anna. I encourage you to look up Luke 2 in your Bible and read it for yourself.

Both of these people were used to spending time in the temple. They expected big things from God. I am not saying that we should spend all our days at Church. We should be aware that the Church building is no temple. The Bible says that God now lives in the temple of our hearts and that we will live together with Him in his temple, but what is important is that these followers of God were doing exactly what God wanted them to do and they were really ready for Him unlike most others.

We can take a lesson from this. Jesus says that he is coming to take those of us who believe in Him to Heaven to live with Him. Lord willing, we will study more about this when we get to it in John 14:1-4. We should be living in expectation and doing things that are good in because He is coming again soon. When He comes next time, He comes to take us to be with Him where He is and that is something we should be watching for because we really believe.