Today we finished Jeremiah, read through Lamentations, a book also written by Jeremiah, and started Ezekiel. Tomorrow we stay only in Ezekiel, thus that is what the main focus of tomorrow's recap will be. Today, we briefly discuss Lamentations.
As we discussed in yesterday's recap, Jeremiah was a prophet to the Jews in Judah who were forsaking God and following after idols. God called them to repentance lest they become captives in Babylon, exiles from Zion (Jerusalem). After the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., a major event in history, one written descriptively in Jeremiah, the prophet Jeremiah laments over the destruction of the Holy City.
The disobedience of Israel resulted in the destruction of Zion and 70-years of exile in Babylon. We've already read Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, books written after the return of Israel from Babylon to Zion. Remember, the Old Testament is not written nor presented chronologically in a regular Protestant Canon. Many of the books are grouped together. The Old Testament consists of the Pentateuch (Torah, Law), the books of history, then the books of wisdom, the major prophets, and the minor prophets. The grouping of the similar books is helpful for navigating the Bible, but it's also helpful to remember the time at which each was written and/or the period that a book is referring to (for example, it may be recounting past events, like Chronicles).
Jeremiah was an eye-witness of the destruction of Jerusalem. Imagine seeing the city you've tried tirelessly to save, the city you've prayed for, preached to, and begged a call to action and lifestyle of repentance. Jeremiah was faithful, but he was distressed and broken. In the midst of his despair, he was reminded of God's faithfulness and promises. What an incredible character we can learn from. When the results of our ministry do not suit our expectations, we must remain faithful. We are called to present the truth and point people toward God. When someone doesn't accept the truth, how do we respond? By presenting the truth and pointing people toward God. Like Jeremiah, we should remain faithful and fix our eyes to Heaven, especially in times of trial and distress.
Lamentations is a book we can all learn from; God's wrath in response to sin should instill a healthy fear in us of the living God. He is Almighty. It is truly a privilege that we can choose to live Godly lives, that we are given the gift of repentance, and that we can continue to be ambassadors of the truth, even when things don't turn out the way we hope they will, even when we, too, fall short of God's glory.