Read Lamentations Five
We’ve come to the final day of our study in the book of Lamentations. This book, if I’m honest, has been a hard study for me. It’s been dreary and difficult. As I have shared the study with others, I’m quick to remind them: “It’s not an upper!”
But, as we have seen over the last fifty days of study, God’s sovereignty is on every single page of this book. God is on the throne, no matter where we find ourselves. Our sin and the sin of others may lead to consequences, but it will never be too great for our God.
As we conclude this study today, we need to consider the final phrase of the book:
Restore us to Yourself, O Lord ….
Unless you have utterly rejected us,
And you remain exceedingly angry with us.
Is this how you anticipated the book would end?
How do you interpret these verses? What is the nation of Israel, led by the poet, saying?
You can almost hear the question in their voices – Would you restore us? Unless … wait, have You rejected us forever? Will this always be our situation – living under the cup of your wrath?
Here, we see the final stage of repentance that we considered a few weeks ago: Israel is sitting in the consequences of their sin without entitlement to restoration. They have asked for it, but they do not demand it. In doing so, the book ends with humility and just a bit of uncertainty.
But thanks be to God that this book is not the end of the story for Israel! We know the story of their return home, and the rebuilding of the temple. We know that God restored them to Himself as He called them back to their land and promised to fill the temple with His glory again – which He did not do in the physical temple, but did in sending the Messiah! The presence of God in the Incarnation brought the glory of God closer than Israel could ever have dreamed! God came and dwelt among them – not in a temple, but walking throughout creation, taking up their cross, dying their death, and taking up His own life again for the sake of theirs. Their sin was pardoned and their relationship with God restored. God heard their cry to restore them to Himself, and He answered YES in sending Jesus.
The final question of the book of Lamentations can easily be ours as well. When we face the consequences of our sin, it is easy for us to imagine they will go on eternally. And while we cannot answer the question of how long we will suffer in a particular situation or how much pain will result from our sin, we can answer the question of God’s rejection and enduring wrath. As God’s Son hung on the cross and cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me,” He bore the rejection of God so that we would not. As Jesus breathed His last and uttered, “It is finished,” He received the wrath of God so that we would not. Because of Christ, we can confidently answer the lingering question of the book of Lamentations: Has God utterly rejected me? In Christ, the answer is a resounding “No”! Will God remain exceedingly, eternally angry with us? In Christ, the answer is “No”! Because Christ endured death, we will experience restoration to God – both now, and at the end of all things.
How does this change your perspective on your suffering? On your sin?
How can you look to Christ for the confidence you need to endure in repentance?
PRAY & REFLECT
Thank God for calling you to repentance. Thank Him for sending His Son to bear His wrath and rejection that you might be restored to God. Ask Him to show you how you should take the patterns of repentance you have learned in this study with you into the future.