Read Lamentations Two
Today we are continuing our journey through Lamentations 2:1-10. Yesterday, we noticed how the author made God the subject of many destructive verbs, insisting that God was the one who brought Israel to her current situation. Today, we are going to give our attention to the description that surrounds those words, assessing what themes and continuity this chapter might have for us.
Re-read Lamentations 2:1-10. If you were to describe the momentum of this passage in a few words, what would you say?
The first theme we are going to consider today is a bit more subtle or difficult to identify, but it is powerful. The momentum of this passage is downward. Do you see it? Do you notice the downward thrust of this passage? Down, down, down … everything is turning downward. The city walls have been down down, the fortification of the city is down in dishonor, the kings and warriors of Israel have been cut down, and the walls of the city lay in the dust, the gates sink down into the ground, and the leaders of her nation sit in the dust on the ground and weep.
What do you think is the significance of this downward momentum?
Israel has been brought low because she remembers being high. She was queen among the nations, the bell of the ball (remember chapter 1?). She was out in the front and loving it! And now, she’s been brought low in humiliation and despair. God has cut her down and brought her low.
The second theme we are going to consider today is more overt. The poet is taking “inventory” of the nation, and notices things that are absent. He surveys the land and their loss, and makes note of what is not there.
Read Lamentations 2:1-10. What is missing? Name four primary things.
The first verse lament that there is no mercy (v. 1-5). God, who has historically been merciful to Israel, has ceased to show them mercy. Mercy, by definition, is when God doesn’t give us the punishment we deserve (contrast this with grace, which is when God gives me something I don’t deserve). God has not, in the past, given Israel what she deserves as an expression of His mercy. And now, the poet can find no mercy in God’s approach to Israel. Mercy is missing.
Secondly, there is no worship (v. 6-7). God has Himself, according to the poet, has toppled His own temple! He has despised the alter that they presented their sacrifices on, He has refused to associate with the temple of God – the temple that bears His own name! There are no priests or sacrifices or temple steps. There is no worship.
Third, there are no walls (v. 8-9a). The city walls have been brought down to the ground. The walls that surrounded the city, fortifying her and protecting her from her enemies, have been demolished. Her gates are gone, her fortresses destroyed. There are no walls.
And lastly, there is no word (v. 9b-10). The elders of Israel – those who sat in the city gates and led the people before God – now sit in silence. They have no wisdom from God, no word from the Almighty. They can’t answer for this destruction – what would they say? Those who used to lead the people are no silent.
There is no mercy, no worship, no walls, no word.
What is the significance of this in context of Israel’s situation?
Have you ever felt as though God is withholding His mercy from you?
Why do you think God’s mercy is in view here, rather than His grace? What would change about this passage if the author was lamenting the absence of God’s grace? (see definition above)
How can these verses encourage you to you lean into repentance?
PRAY & REFLECT
Praise God that in Christ He continuously shows us mercy. Praise Him that you have been made right with Him because of Christ’s atoning work. Ask Him to lead you into repentance in any area of ongoing sin in your life.