Summary: This is a message in a series on the Book of Lamentations.
Imagine if you will that you are one of the survivors of the Civil War left in the south. By the time of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, the South lay in ruin. Cities, farms, and homes have been burned and ravaged by cannon fire. Railroads and bridges have been destroyed. The economical, social and spiritual fabric of your culture has been torn to shreds. The loss of life has touched virtually every family. The practice of organizing military units with troops from the same town meant that some communities no longer have any surviving young men, all of them having died in the same battle. Tears well up in your eyes as you realize that life as you know it now lies in the charred rubble and there is nothing you can do to change what has happened. “Why!” you cry out. Lonely, hurt, broken and without hope your fall to your knees, bury your head in your hands and sob uncontrollably. That seems to describe exactly how Jeremiah felt as he wandered through the once glorious city of Jerusalem after it had been totally leveled by the Babylonian army. Jeremiah new that judgment was coming because he had faithfully delivered the message God had given to him to the people. “Repent of your sins or suffer the consequences!” But neither his knowledge of the pending doom nor his obedience to carrying out his God given mission lessened the deep sorrow he felt as he surveyed the piles of rubble that was once Jerusalem. Today I would like us to step alongside Jeremiah and survey with him firsthand the devastating effects of sin.
I. Jerusalem laments over her demise with expressions of sorrow and regret.
A. Jeremiah’s observations as he surveys the tragic scene.
1. Jeremiah first looks at Jerusalem, the capital and representative of Judah, and contrasted what she once had been with what she then was.
2. Even in the great days of David and Solomon, the territories of Israel never compared with those of Egypt, Assyria, and Babylonia at their height; while for buildings, riches (except perhaps in the days of Solomon), and population, Jerusalem never rivaled the great cities of the Near East.
3. These opening verses introduce the reader to an incredible scene. A once great lady has become a widow, a queen has become a servant girl; her friends have become her enemies, her rivals have gained the upper hand, her children have been carried off, and her many possessions have been lost.
4. What makes it all the more horrifying is the absence of any comforting hand. There is no shoulder to cry on, no heart to grieve along with her in her time of loss. Instead, the neighbors only laugh in contempt.
5. The roads that led to Jerusalem once were crowded with pilgrims but were now deserted. The priests groaned because the temple, formerly the center of their life and activity, was no more. “Her maidens grieve” because their chances for marriage and family were now precarious.
B. The question is, “What did Jerusalem do to warrant such a devastating judgment.
1. The Lord has brought devastation upon Jerusalem as a result of her many sins and continued rebellion.