September 13 – Lament – Overlooking the Wages of Sin?

Read Lamentations 5:1-22

Several years ago Neil Postman wrote, “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.” In that book, he demonstrates how the city of Las Vegas, Nevada has become a symbol of the addiction of our culture to entertainment. He says, “Las Vegas is a city entirely devoted to the idea of entertainment, and as such proclaims the spirit of a culture in which all public discourse increasingly takes the form of entertainment.  Our politics, religion, news, athletics, education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business, largely without protest or even much popular notice.  We are a people on the verge of amusing ourselves to death.”

He is right. Western society is consumed with the pursuit of pleasure. More sources of entertainment have been provided for us than any other civilization in human history.

Tragically, however, all this pleasure has only resulted in more pain. Everywhere we turn, we see the wages of sin: drug addiction, alcoholism, child abuse, divorce, rape, suicide, and murder. The quality of life is not getting better, it’s getting worse.

Perhaps Jeremiah’s words have never been more timely. They remind us that what sin promises, it can never deliver. Only God can bring the lasting satisfaction we desire.

In the fifth and final chapter of Lamentations, we discover Jews who have been humiliated and heartbroken. Finally, they turned their faces toward God and sought His forgiveness and intervention (vv. 16-17). They stopped rationalizing their sin and took full responsibility for their disobedience.

They cried out to God to forgive their rebellion and restore them to fellowship with Him (v. 21a). They pled with God to renew their former glory (v. 21b). Finally, they turned from the folly of their sin and sought refuge in the loving character of a God who would never abandon them (Jeremiah 31:31-40).

When we suffer the consequences of our sin, it’s easy to feel just like the Jews did – abandoned by God and beyond any usefulness to Him. Here’s the good news… The Lord will not – indeed, He cannot – forsake those who have placed their faith in Him.

Have you recognized the penalty for your own rebellion against a loving Father? Like the prodigal son, remember today that He is waiting to forgive and renew your relationship with Him (Luke 15:11-32).

Bob Fetterhoff

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