The Depths of Suffering

Today’s Reading: Lamentations 4 (SOAP, 4:17)

Our eyes continually failed us
as we looked in vain for help.
From our watchtowers we watched
for a nation that could not rescue us.

Lamentations 4:17 NET (KJV)

This fourth lament moves through a depiction of Jerusalem’s devastating suffering. From the loss of all they had and were, to starvation of women and children, punishment that exceeded that of Sodom, appearance that went from white as snow to darker than soot, and the thought that those who died by the sword were better off than those wasting away from hunger. With these pictures in mind is it any wonder that Jerusalem continually watched for an ally, most likely Egypt, to rescue them from their suffering? Yet, as Jeremiah had predicted they watched in vain for a nation that could not protect them.

What Happened?

What happened to this once thriving and powerful city and people? Scripture answers this for us in Lamentations 1:5, “The LORD afflicted her because of her many acts of rebellion.” God’s will is for us to not sin but to love Him and obey His commandments, John 14:15. Our acts of rebellion against the LORD our God will always have disciplinary consequences because He is a good Father who despises sin, (John 3:16), and loves His children, (Hebrews 12:5–6; cf. Proverbs 3:11–12);  (Hebrews 12:8) and (Hebrews 12:10).

How Do We Apply This Verse?

Of course we cannot directly apply this passage of Scripture for we do not live in exile waiting to be rescued. However, we certainly have problems that cause us, from time to time, to watch and wait and hope that someone will come to our rescue. We would be wise during these times to set our eyes continually on the Lord, the only One who can truly help us. Watching for Him to rescue us will never be in vain. The One who made us and calls us His own will never turn His back on us. He is our protector and does not sleep or become too busy to notice we have need of His help. In Psalm 118:13-14 The Psalmist said that he was pushed back and about to fall but the Lord helped him, and he went on to say that He was his strength and salvation.

I lift my eyes toward the mountains.

Where will my help come from?

2My help comes from the Lord,

the Maker of heaven and earth.

3He will not allow your foot to slip;

your Protector will not slumber.

4Indeed, the Protector of Israel

does not slumber or sleep.

5The Lord protects you;

the Lord is a shelter right by your side.

6The sun will not strike you by day

or the moon by night.

7The Lord will protect you from all harm;

he will protect your life.

8The Lord will protect your coming and going

both now and forever.

Psalm 121:1-8
Prayer Prompt

God, You are a good good father. This doesn’t mean you will overlook our sinful behavior but that You love us enough to deal with it according to Your steadfast love. Throughout Your Word we are told to keep our eyes on You. Help us to do this continually, not only when we are in trouble but when we are tempted to sin, for we know that it will not be in vain. For Your Word promises that when we are tempted You will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear but you will rescue us by showing us a way of escape so that we can remain faithfully obedient to You.

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