Yahweh has accomplished his wrath. He has poured out his fierce anger. He has kindled a fire in Zion, which has devoured its foundations.
The kings of the earth didn’t believe, neither did all the inhabitants of the world, that the adversary and the enemy would enter into the gates of Jerusalem.
It is because of the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in the middle of her.
They wander as blind men in the streets. They are polluted with blood, So that men can’t touch their garments.
“Go away!” they cried to them. “Unclean! Go away! Go away! Don’t touch! When they fled away and wandered, men said among the nations, “They can’t live here any more.” Yahweh’s anger has scattered them. He will not pay attention to them any more. They didn’t respect the persons of the priests. They didn’t favor the elders.
Here I see another reason why God had to punish Israel for their rebellion. We are reminded, here, that the nations were watching. The nations, whether they were willing to be honest about it or not, knew that Israel’s God was different. The Bible tells us that everyone knows Israel’s God because He has put the knowledge of Himself inside of every one of us. These nations could see that Israel was rebelling against their own God and that God hadn’t done anything about it. It says in this passage that “The kings of the earth didn’t believe… that the adversary and the enemy would enter into the gates of Jerusalem,” but He did.
The world then reacted and rejected Israel too, but this exposes an enormous inconsistency in their behavior. If Israel’s God rejects people for their rebellion, what will Israel’s God do to them? Do they really think that by distancing themselves from Israel that Israel’s God won’t find them?
In our world, people attempt to make the God of the Bible into a god that is more like what they want. They hear what the Bible says about God but they choose to not accept it because they don’t think that god would really be like that. When people do this they are rejecting the God of Israel too. Whether we want to believe that God is like this or not is quite irrelevant. We can’t choose our creator. When we act like we can, are we not being ridiculous? The worse problem is that what the Bible does show us, is that when we reject the real God, He will reject us. God has given us a man-sized responsibility to choose, not to make up our own gods, but whether or not we will accept the real one. If we refuse, we can see, by observing Israel here, what will happen to us.
“The Lord has set at nothing all my mighty men within me. He has called a solemn assembly against me to crush my young men. The Lord has trodden the virgin daughter of Judah as in a wine press.
“For these things I weep. My eye, my eye runs down with water, because the comforter who should refresh my soul is far from me. My children are desolate, because the enemy has prevailed.”
Zion spreads out her hands. There is no one to comfort her. Yahweh has commanded concerning Jacob, that those who are around him should be his adversaries. Jerusalem is among them as an unclean thing.
“Yahweh is righteous, for I have rebelled against his commandment. Please hear all you peoples, and see my sorrow. My virgins and my young men have gone into captivity.
One of the surprising things about the Law of Moses, to me, was the harsh sentence that God imposed on rebellious children. It makes rebellion a capitol offense. A child that rebels is to be put to death. I will admit that this seemed a bit extreme to me, but now I have come to realize that the reason it seemed extreme was because I failed to see the seriousness of it.
As I consider rebellion’s history, I realize that it was rebellion that got us into this mess in the first place. Satan was one of God’s “children” and he rebelled against God, becoming the originator of sin. He, then, convinced Adam and Eve to rebel against God too. This resulted in the death of the entire human race. If God had killed Satan the moment he rebelled, Adam and Eve would not have sinned. From that point-of-view, killing a rebel is a protection against the spread of rebellion. It’s not healthy for me to go on thinking that rebellion isn’t really that bad. God chooses to correct my thinking and I believe that one way He does that is by giving me this passage from Lamentations.
In this passage, Judah is personified. She is explaining the horror of her circumstances to “all peoples” and that would include you and I at this point. She describes her continual sorrow and explains that her people have been crushed like grapes in a wine press. She explains that she has no one to comfort her and probably the worst thing of all is that she is being opposed by God Himself. Her people have become slaves to foreigners and all of this because she rebelled against God. I think that it is safe to say that rebellion is the main problem we all have. It sums up all sin with one word. God calls us to repent of it and in order to do that, we need to see it for the horror it is. One good thing that came out of Judah’s fall was the fact that you and I can now see more clearly what rebellion will cost us if we continue in it.
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