Read:  Lamentations 5:1-22

Lamentations 5:15, 17 & 21 – Joy has left our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning…  Our hearts are sick and weary, and our eyes grow dim with tears…  Restore us, O LORD, and bring us back to you again!

Things are really bad in Jerusalem.  The multi year siege has ended in total decimation, the people are enslaved or exiled, the women raped and abused, no food can be found and those who are left are fatigued and hopeless.  Years and years of rebellion against God has landed them here and Jeremiah, the prophet, calls out to God to restore them.

In one sense this is the lesson to be learned throughout the history of Israel.  Rebellion against God leads to bad places.  The fruit of rebellion is indeed spiritual bondage, loss of all we hold dear, abuse and violation, hunger (either spiritual or physical or both), fatigue and hopelessness.  Nothing good to be found in that list.

The same lesson applies to us today.  When we hold onto our “idols” God allows us to reap the destruction they bring.  Our idols can be our pet sin, love of money, or anything that we put before God.  Jeremiah’s explanation of the suffering, exhaustion and hopelessness is a powerful description of hitting bottom.  And it’s at the bottom that Israel is finally ready to surrender to God. 

What blows my mind is that they rode their rebellion into the ground.  They had a choice the whole time to turn back to God.  He gave them chance after chance to repent and be restored, and they chose sin and idolatry and ultimately their own destruction.  The power of sin and rebellion to deceive us into thinking we can get away with it, or to lull us into apathy, is so strong.  But the outcome is always the same.

So…  here’s your chance…  God is offering you a wake up call today.  Repent and turn to Him.  He is a merciful Father who is showing you where not living for Him will land you.  If there is an area of your life not surrendered, choose today to surrender.  Don’t ride your sin in to the ground and end up like Jerusalem.

If you feel like you’re already there – like Jeremiah’s description of Jerusalem is the description of your life – don’t lose hope.  God is still God and He still loves His people and He still loves you.  There may be some pain and consequence to walk through, but He will not abandon you.  Call out to Him from the bottom and surrender. 

Father God – It’s hard for me to imagine letting my kids go through such suffering, to ultimately save them.  Yet You know the beginning from the end and what it takes for us to find the death in our own way.  Give me the foresight to choose You and Your ways over the temptation of sin and my way.  Thank You father for the wisdom of Your word and the lessons You’re teaching me each day.  Help me to walk them out.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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