Lamentations 5:1-5 :
Remember, Yahweh, what has come on us.
Look, and see our reproach.
Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,
our houses to aliens.
We are orphans and fatherless.
Our mothers are as widows.
We must pay for water to drink.
Our wood is sold to us.
Our pursuers are on our necks.
We are weary, and have no rest.
A curious thing about this lamentation is what it implies about God. Israel was obviously destroyed for their disobedience. Why would a holy God care about their “reproach” or that they are now “orphans and fatherless?” They sinned. Now it’s their problem, not God’s. The fact that this lamentation exists and that it is found right here in God’s book, tells us that God does care, even about sinners. Israel admitted that they sinned, yet they also remembered that God was a God of mercy. God didn’t want them to suffer, even though they sinned.
Although it isn’t the most important issue in this passage, it’s interesting what the Israelis were complaining about here. They complained that they had to pay a water bill and a fuel bill. It’s a little bit difficult to feel sorry for them here isn’t it? They also complained about losing their inheritance. I think that what this poem is telling us is that the people didn’t have their own land anymore. They couldn’t dig a well and get their own water. They couldn’t grow and harvest trees for wood. They now had to pay others just to survive. We may have “private property” today but when what you can do on that property is tightly controlled by a government, then it really isn’t very private. If your property is taxed upon death then it isn’t much of an inheritance either. These kinds of things are what oppressive foreign governments did to Israel. It’s important for Christians to pay attention to these small indicators in the Bible because it may help us vote more wisely. Greed to get everything given to us by the government may result in having everything we earn taken from us, and as we read here, that’s something people lament over.