Summary: Part 1 in a series on Lamentations. This lesson looks at the causes of Jerusalem’s destruction.
Death of a City
Introduction to Lamentations
A. Famous Funeral Speeches
1. Mark Anthony’s funeral speech for Caesar.
a) “Friends, Romans, Countrymen lend me your ears…”
b) “…ambition should be made of sterner stuff…”
c) “…you all did love him once, not without cause…”
2. Ronald Reagan’s Funeral Speech for Columbia Victims
a) “In one cruel moment our exhilaration turned to horror…”
b) “Across America, we are reaching out, holding hands, and finding comfort in one another.”
c) “…the future is not free, the story of all human progress is one a struggle against all odds.”
d) “It (America) was by men and women...who answered a call beyond duty…who gave more than was expected or required…and who give with little thought to earthy reward.”
3. Robert Kennedy’s Eulogy of Dr. Martin Luther King
a) “…what we need in the United States is not division…not hatred…not violence…”
b) “…but love, wisdom, and compassion toward one another…whether black or white…”
B. Lamentations is a Funeral Speech for a City
1. Historical Background to Lamentations
a) Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon.
b) In 605 and 597 BC, the made advances on Judah.
c) In 586 BC, he made a final assault on Jerusalem and destroyed the temple, leveled the city, and took captives to Babylon.
d) Jeremiah was given the choice to go to Babylon or to remain in Judah. He chose the later.
e) Jeremiah would later flee to Egypt with a remnant of God’s people.
2. The Subject of Lamentations
a) Sorrow and suffering because of sin against God.
b) The fulfillment of the penalties for disobedience as recorded in Deuteronomy 28.
c) The hopefulness that only God could bring to the tragic situation.
3. The Style of Lamentations
a) Five songs or poems
b) Chapters 1-4 are written in acrostic style in that each line begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
c) In Chapter Three, each set of three verses begins with the same letter.
d) Chapter Five is written differently and appears more like a prayer than a dirge or lament.
4. Brief Summary of Lamentations
a) Chapter 1 – Jerusalem weeps over her condition.
b) Chapter 2 – The Lord’s Righteous Anger
c) Chapter 3 – The Prophet’s Response to Judgment
d) Chapter 4 – The Emptiness of Material Possessions
e) Chapter 5 – A Plea for Remembrance and Restoration
C. Death of a City
1. Chapter 1:1-11 – How Jerusalem Died
a) Verses 1-7 – The Characteristics of Death
b) Verses 8-11 – The Causes of Death
2. Compare that do the spiritual death that comes with sin
II. The Death of Jerusalem
A. The Characteristics of Death (1:1-7) – Six Descriptions of Israel
1. A Sad Widow (1:a)
a) She is lonely and lifeless. A city that once was abounding in life, but is now dead in trespasses – Ephesians 2:1b-3
b) She is without a husband (king), due to her own sins.
2. A Slave to Others (1b)
a) Once Israel made servants of others but now she was a servant to an ungodly nation.
b) She was either greatly loved or greatly feared because of her relationship with God.
c) Those that are slave to God should not become slaves of sin again – Romans 6:15-18
3. Stripped of Her Friends (2-3)
a) All of Judah’s alliances were fair weather friends.
b) Some of her friends even aided Babylon in her defeat.
c) 1 Corinthians 15:33 – “Evil companions….”
d) Proverbs 1:10,15- “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent…do not walk in the way with them. Keep your foot from their path…for their feet run to evil…”
e) No one to weep with her – Romans 12:15
f) No comfort in her suffering – 1 Corinthians 1:2-4
g) Friendship with the world makes one an enemy of God – James 4:4
4. Silence of Worship (4)
a) There is no worship of God at the appointed times.
b) The assemblies and feast are forsaken – Hebrews 10:24-25
c) The priests have no one to serve for they have all gone away. – Hebrews 13:17
5. Sapped of Strength (5-6)
a) Overtaken by the enemies – Deuteronomy 28:44
b) The beauty and splendor have been replaced by barren ugliness – Psalm 29:2
d) With no reinforcement – Psalm 46:1
6. Seeking the Glory Days (7)
a) They loved to roam and now are wandering – Jeremiah 2:31
c) Now a disgrace to herself – Luke 15:16
d) God’s goodness was only treasured when they had forsaken it.
B. The Causes of Death (1:8-11) – Four Causes