September 5: Dealing with Your Past and Anticipating the Future

Read Lamentations 2:1-22

I trust that now you have read the second chapter of Jeremiah’s book of lament. Written after the Babylonians had invaded and destroyed Jerusalem, this Spirit-inspired book was read annually on the date commemorating the event. It is interesting that God’s people were not only intentional about remembering the victorious moments of their past but also some of the low points brought on by their own sin. Remember, it was Judah’s disregard for God that had ultimately led Him to bring judgment in the form of this tragic devastation.

With 22 verses, chapter 2 outlines in alphabetic, acrostic form God’s responsibility for bringing judgment. The first 9 verses make it clear that all of what Jeremiah saw within the destroyed city was a result of His decreed action. With graphic words, he goes on to describe the famine, desperation, and ridicule the remnant people experienced. It is heartbreaking to read and to imagine what conditions must have been like.

The graphic content of chapter 2 causes us to raise a couple of key questions.

  1. Why would God inspire Jeremiah to eternally record such a reminder of Judah’s self-inflicted, embarrassing judgment?
  2. Why would God’s people choose to annually remind themselves of one of the most embarrassing realities of their past?

I don’t pretend to know the full mind of God or to understand the historic rationale of His people. I wonder, though, if these might be some plausible reasons…and if these reasons might provide some wise counsel for you and me.

  1. The failures of the past should cause us to exult in the grace of God. Don’t get me wrong. We shouldn’t dwell on the past and wallow in a sense of guilt. But God can and does forgive. Paul is a great example of one who understood God’s gracious work in spite of his tainted past (1 Timothy 1:12-17).
  2. The reality of present distress should cause us to yearn for future glory. Aren’t you glad that you will not live forever in a fallen world where sin and destruction are so much a part of life? Again, Paul helps us out with a healthy reminder of this in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 4:7-18).

Is there one of those dimensions of failure or distress that you need to remind yourself of today? Read the additional passages indicated above and find encouragement to move forward.



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