Lamentations 4-5, Psalm 30
Back in 1776 it is said, that because they couldn't resolve their conflicts, (the delegates of the Constitutional Convention) picked up their hats and coats and started to leave. Suddenly Benjamin Franklin spoke up. "Wait a minute gentlemen," he is reported to have said. "This country was conceived in faith in God. Many of us here believe in prayer. Let us get upon our knees and pray to Almighty God and see whether God shall give to us the answer to our dilemma." Upon their knees those men went, and out of that prayer meeting came the immortal Constitution of the United States of America.
For 40 years as God's voice to the people, Jeremiah tried every method possible including prayer as Benjamin Franklin did above. But unlike the story above, the people of Judah would not listen. What amazes me is Jeremiah's response. Growing up whenever I disobeyed my parents and I got myself into trouble I heard the words, "I told you so". The truth is my wife and I have said the same words to our children. Though the prophecies came true which Jeremiah foretold, and he indeed was vindicated as a true prophet of God, this is not his reaction. Pride often makes us take the superior position and point out the bad results of others bad decisions. But we read in Lam. 2:11, "My eyes fail with tears, My heart is troubled; My bile is poured on the ground Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people...". In Lam.1:16, he writes, "For these things I weep; My eye, my eye overflows with water;..." These types of phrases throughout the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations is what gives Jeremiah the name of "the weeping prophet". Jesus takes the same position after His comments concerning the hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees In Matthew 23, and concludes with, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!"
We live in a fallen world and we must not lose sight of the fact that we too are sinners saved only by the grace of God. Even when our advice is correct, less we think of ourselves pridefully, we too often are wrong, not following the advice of God, to our own detriment. Notice in Lam.5:16, rather than wag his accusing finger at the people of Judah, Jeremiah acknowledges his own sin and says, "...Woe to us, for we have sinned." Isaiah said a similar thing in Isaiah 64:5-6, "...You are indeed angry, for we have sinned--In these ways we continue; And we need to be saved. But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags..." Paul tells us all in Romans 3:10-12, "There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God...There is none who does good, no, not one." We depend on God's grace for our lives and our salvation. We should all look upon those like Jeremiah who came before us and rather than responding with, "I told you so", respond with grace and mercy towards others.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: