August 6, 2021
"Remember my affliction and my homelessness, the wormwood and the poison. I continually remember them and have become depressed."
“Daughter of Zion, your punishment is complete; He will no longer lengthen your exile. But He will punish your iniquity, daughter of Edom, and expose your sins.” Lamentations 4:22
Mercy. You never know how great of a thing that Mercy is until you need it. To refresh our memories, Grace is a free gift. Grace is getting something you do not deserve. Mercy is NOT getting what you deserve. Mercy is when we receive punishment (to teach us our transgressions are offensive), but not to the full extent of the law (to teach us the Judge still holds us to a degree of esteem, although we have transgressed).
Before he wrote Lamentations, Jeremiah delivered God’s message of Mercy to the exiles of Jerusalem. As they were walking out of town (because of God’s judgment), Jeremiah sent a message of encouragement: You will someday be restored.
“I will restore the fortunes of Judah and of Israel and will rebuild them as in former times. I will purify them from all the wrongs they have committed against Me. This city will bear on My behalf a name of joy, praise, and glory before all the nations of the earth, who will hear of all the good I will do for them. They will tremble because of all the good and all the peace I will bring about for them.” Jeremiah 33:7-9
While in exile, the remnant of Jerusalem must have tended to focus on the harshness of God’s rebuke. God had Daniel remind them WHY they were in exile and how it was avoidable. Yet, they refused to accept His terms of reparation.
“Just as it is written in the law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not appeased the Lord our God by turning from our iniquities and paying attention to Your truth.” Daniel 9:13
It is not difficult for followers of Jesus in our generation to look at the iniquities of our increasingly God-less nation (even Godlessness within the walls of our places of worship) and wonder if the Lord is preparing a reckoning for us, soon. And what if He is? Many years before the destruction of Jerusalem, there was a king, Josiah, who was bent on restoring the Temple in Jerusalem. During the Temple renovations, the priest found the book of the law. When they read God’s Word to the king, he tore his robe and sought a prophet to seek the Lord on behalf of the people.
“Go. Ask YHWH for me and for those remaining in Israel and Judah, concerning the words of the book that was found. For great is the Lord’s wrath that is poured out on us because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord in order to do everything written in this book.” 2 Chronicles 34:21
In response to Josiah’s repentance, which included his ordering the people of his kingdom to also repent, the Lord told the prophet to inform Josiah He would turn back his imminent judgment. Lord, let ours be a “Josiah Generation”! We need revival!