Read Lamentations One
Israel has lost her honor, her friends and lovers, and her home.
Read Lamentations 1:4-6. The author finally specifies who is weeping. What specifically does the author say?
The author personifies the roads that lead into the capital city. They are grieving because they have no pilgrim feet to walk them. The thing that the roads were made for – leading Jewish pilgrims to the temple steps – is the one thing they cannot do. The roads to the temple are empty. Why? Because the city gates have been torn down. The city has been destroyed. The temple is gone. And the streets and buildings and festivals are all vacant like a ghost town.
Read Exodus 29:31-34. Where did God meet with God’s people before the temple?
Throughout their wilderness days, God met with His people in the Tent of Meeting. In His grace, God would lead and guide and judge and direct His people as He met with Moses and Aaron in this sacred tent. But the thing about tents is that they’re made to be set up and taken down. God could meet with His people, and then the tent could be collapsed and packed away. As they wandered through the desert wilderness, they had no certainty as to when God would call them to set up the Tent of Meeting again.
And then, one day, God commanded Solomon to build a temple, a permanent structure complete with a solid foundation and firmly fixed walls. This command was a sign to Israel that their wandering days were over. God was going to come and dwell among them in the temple! Israel’s temple was the epicenter of their community. It was the sacred ground on which they worshiped God and it was a marker for them of their permanent, earthy home.
Why has this destruction come upon Zion? (Lamentations 1:5)
Who has brought this destruction upon her? (two sources are named)
Israel has lost all that is dear to her because of her sin. Her enemies have captured her in physical combat, destroying her city. And God has allowed it to happen because of her sin. Her home – the place where she worshiped God as He dwelt in her midst – is destroyed. She is far from home and, therefore, far from God.
Tomorrow, we are going to look at the specific word used here for sin and the personal and corporate aspects in view here. But for today, consider this: Sin has a pervasive way of separating us from God. Just like our mother and father in the garden of Eden, our sin makes us run and hide from the God who created us. Sin, by definition, separates us from God. It pushes Him out of our hearts and us out of His will. Sin separates us from God.
Consider your own life. Are there any areas of loss in your life that have been the result of sin – either specific sin on your part, or the corporate sin of many?
PRAY & REFLECT
Search your heart for any unconfessed sin residing there. Talk to God about it. Ask for His forgiveness. Ask Him to remove any distance between you and Him. Thank Him that He has made this possible through His Son, Jesus Christ.