Lamentations 4-5, Psalm 31
I recently had an appointment with a young patient, under 15, whose mother was also my patient. I diagnosed her with a condition called PCOS. The mother described her as an honor roll student. What I was shocked at was her inability to look me in the eyes and listen. She had her cell phone in her hands and was unable to unglue her eyes from her device. Twice I gently touched her knee (I was sitting on a stool) and politely asked her to please focus on what I was saying since it was her diagnosis that I was discussing, not her mother's or mine. She would glance up, but within seconds her attention was off of me and back onto the phone. I have patients who teach high school who tell me that the school cafeteria now resembles a museum in that no one converses audibly anymore, just through their phone. Jeremiah was the last of a long string of prophets to warn the people of Judah what would happen if they failed to repent of their ways and return to an authentic relationship with God. Unfortunately, they were as deaf as those today who choose not to listen to others. People question how a loving God could allow these things to transpire or worse how He could send individuals to hell. What people fail to realize is that He patiently warned the people then, just as He is continuing to faithfully warn us now, and He allows us to make that choice.
Notice their comment in Lamentations 5:1, "Remember, O Lord, what has come upon us; Look, and behold our reproach." How often we project onto God what we fail to do. For centuries they failed to listen now they are asking God not to do the same thing to them. But we notice a slow acknowledgment of both repentance and personal responsibility developing in this chapter. We read in 5:7, "Our fathers sinned and are no more, But we bear their iniquities." Though true, this statement deflects their personal guilt onto their fathers. Contrast this with 5:16, "The crown has fallen from our head. Woe to us, for we have sinned!" This is exactly where people need to be in order to repent and enter a true relationship with Him. Notice their hopelessness when they failed to accept responsibility in 5:8, "Servants rule over us; There is none to deliver us from their hand." Seeking only human strength their position was hopeless. Contrast this with their response when they take their eyes off themselves and others and place them onto God in 5:19, "You, O Lord, remain forever; Your throne from generation to generation." This sad book ends very sadly in 5:20-22, "Why do you forget us forever, And forsake us for so long a time? Turn us back to You, O Lord, and we will be restored; Renew our days of old, Unless You have utterly rejected us, And are very angry with us!"
Unlike us, God's patience is endless. However, He will never override our free will. He was shouting then as He is doing now, but everyone seeks alternative answers and summons their own strength and ingenuity rather than to humble themselves and to listen to the only true source of power and strength. God was and is faithful, He did everything He stated He would do. The people of Judah being sent into captivity could have been avoided if only the people would have listened and repented beforehand. Likewise, now, our nation is literally crumbling under the weight of our moral decay. Worse than that every day 6,775 people die in the United States. Worldwide 151,600 people die each year. In fact, 6,316 die each hour. How many of them chose to listen to God's call before they breathed their last. Just as people always think there are always alternatives, the people of Judah found out the hard way, when the were brutally marched into captivity, devoid of any alternatives. In Hebrews 9:27, we read, "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,". We have this one life to listen to His call and repent of our sinful ways before judgment comes. Once we die, there are only two roads that lead to two destinations. Do we honestly realize this. Jeremiah wept over the outcome of the people of Judah. Do we likewise weep when we hear of the death of an unsaved individual understanding exactly where they are? When G. Campbell Morgan watched D.L. Moody preach, he concluded that Moody had the right to preach on hell for he always talks about it with tears in his voice. On this July Fourth, rather than just being just another family gathering with a time of overeating and superficial conversations, why not set our eyes on one individual who needs to hear that Gospel message, unpopular or not, before it might be too late.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: