TO CHEW ON: "Now their appearance is blacker than soot;
They go unrecognized in the streets;
Their skin clings to their bones
It has become as dry as wood." Lamentations 4:8
What a catalogue of catastrophe is Lamentations 4.
1. The temple is desecrated (Lamentations 4:1).
2. Leaders and the nobility are no longer privileged or respected (Lamentations 4:2, 5, 7-8, 16).
3. People abandon their responsibilities (Lamentations 4:3).
4. Even the mothers' natural instincts disappear (Lamentations 4:3-4, 10).
5. People long for a quick death (versus this slow death by starvation) (Lamentations 4:9).
6. The nation is humiliated (Lamentations 4:12-15).
7. God no longer seems to be on their side (Lamentations 4:11, 16).
8. They feel besieged and pursued by neighbour nations (Lamentations 4:18-20).
Jeremiah sees all this, not as something that happened by chance but as a direct consequence of the peoples' sins (Jeremiah 32:22-23).
Though we, in our time, hesitate to make such direct connections between sin and calamity, Bible writers made it repeatedly (Romans 1:28-32; 2:2). Without Jesus' intervention on our behalf we would all be destined to drink the full cup to its bitter end (Romans 3:10-18). We know too, that sin is deceptive in its attractiveness. Being aware of its end helps us avoid getting snared by it.
"There is a way that seems right to a man,
but in the end it leads to death." NIV - Proverbs 14:12.
PRAYER: Dear God, please grow in me an abhorrence of sin. Help me not to be deceived or taken in by its apparent harmlessness. Amen.
MORE: Judge yourself
"Keep yourself steadily faced by the judgment seat of Christ; walk now in the light of the holiest you know. A wrong temper of mind about another soul will end in the spirit of the devil, no matter how saintly you are. One carnal judgment and the end of it is hell in you. Drag it to the light at once and say — 'My God, I have been guilty there.' If you don't, hardness will come all through. The penalty of sin is confirmation in sin. It is not only God who punishes for sin; sin confirms itself in the sinner and gives back full pay.
"No struggling nor praying will enable you to stop doing some things, and the penalty of sin is that gradually you get used to it and do not know that it is sin. No power save the incoming of the Holy Ghost can alter the inherent consequences of sin." Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, March 16th reading (emphasis added).
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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