Read Lamentations One
The first half of chapter one is written by the author in the third person. This means that the author uses words like “her” and “she” to refer to the people of Israel as she weeps and mourns over the consequences of her sin.
But in verse twelve, we see a change in voice.
Read Lamentations chapter one. What shift occurs in verse 12?
The voice of the text changes from the third person (“she” and “her”) to first person (“I” and “me”). In this section of the poem, the author is taking on the identity of the wailing woman, Zion herself.
Look back at the first half of the chapter (v. 1-11). How many times does the author address God?
When the author speaks to God, what is asked of God?
What does the woman say in verse 12? What do you think this means?
The author, taking on the voice of grieving Israel, has asked God twice to look on the nation’s suffering. The nation needs God’s divine attention to rest on them and rescue them. But, seemingly unsuccessful, the woman turns to those around her in verse 12. It is as if she is saying, Take it in, everyone who passes by. Does this seem normal to you so that you just walk right past me? Have you ever seen devastation like this before?
Read 1:13-14. Summarize these verses in your own words.
God is unrelenting in calling the nation back to repentance. The nation cannot conceive of greater suffering. She can’t imagine losing any more. She is as desolate as her imagination can entertain … and it’s all the result of her corporate sin. God has shackled her feet. He has allowed her sin to weigh her down as she runs from Him. When she turned from Him in sin, He set a net to catch her and tangle her up and slow her down. He turned her back.
Have you, like Israel, experienced the consequences of your sin and found them to be more than you could have imagined or felt you deserved?
How do these verses remind us that God takes sin seriously?
How do these verses remind us of God’s grace?
You and I have the same great hope as the wailing woman: God takes sin seriously because He takes His covenant seriously. He will not allow us to progress in sin because sin leads us away from Him. Our greatest good, brothers and sisters, is living fully and faithfully in the unhindered presence of Christ. Anything that should separate us from God should be our chief enemy, the thing we watch and wait for and seek to destroy. And since we do not and cannot – since we fail to watch over our souls with such great attentiveness and rigor – God does. He allows our consequences to drive us back to Him as we repent of sin and turn our faces towards His. God, in His infinite love, does not (and should not) allow us to walk in our covenant-breaking ways unhindered. No, He will tie the consequences of our choices to our feet, until we choose to take the path of repentance and turn for home.
PRAY & REFLECT
Thank God that He takes sin seriously. Ask Him to build in you a heart that is ready to repent. Ask Him to make you attune to the consequences of your sin, and to listen to His Spirit when He calls you to turn back.