lamentations 2, six in a series, ‘without pity’

21 Oct

“The LORD has done what he purposed; he has carried out his word, which he commanded long ago; he has thrown down without pity; he has made the enemy rejoice over you and exalted the might of your foes” (v. 17).- Lamentations 2

This is a word of the prophet Jeremiah on not overflowing lament, but a desert lament, a cry without tears. A sorrow beyond words.

Jerusalem knew of its sin (Lam. 1:11b–22), and represents as a city each person who bathes in their sin. Jeremiah in Lamentation 2 now speaks to a different audience and does do from the perspective of a third-party observing of Judah’s fate. Lamentations 2 looks at the devastation Jerusalem experiences at the hands of Babylon, a devastation through which the Lord threw “down without pity” (v. 17). Nebuchadnezzar destroys Jerusalem. This is a destruction without pity. His audience is those who are so broken they cannot cry out to the Lord: they are people beyond sorrow, tears, repentance or remorse. This is a people without pity, from even themselves. Babylon is only an instrument. The people’s lack of laments, of cries for pity, of prayers, is their real destruction. Can they recover?

Judah never recovers from Babylon’s conquest. Even when the people return to the land and rebuild the temple, they could not rebuild the glory of their kingdom and His temple that Nebuchadnezzar destroys. (Ezra 3:8–13). Lamentations 2 recognizes that God had done what He promised (v. 17)

Yet, there is always hope with our Lord’s promise to protect, to save a remnant, from Adam to Noah; from Rehab to Deborah; from David to us, for himself. David calls to the Lord in Psalm 39, speaking, praying, such a a promise,


7
But now, Lord, what do I look for?
My hope is in you.
8 Save me from all my transgressions;
do not make me the scorn of fools.
9 I was silent; I would not open my mouth,
for you are the one who has done this.
10 Remove your scourge from me;
I am overcome by the blow of your hand.
11 When you rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin,
you consume their wealth like a moth—
surely everyone is but a breath.

12 Hear my prayer, Lord,
listen to my cry for help;
do not be deaf to my weeping.
I dwell with you as a foreigner,
a stranger, as all my ancestors were.
13 Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again
before I depart and am no more.”

David prays and cries: he takes his laments from his heart to his Lord. This is his temple, the heart of God. But the Lord will not answer David’s call to ‘look away. from me.’

He hears. David recovers. How do we know? We read of these desert laments so we know how to cry even when we are without words or tears: we go to Jesus.

He became a lament so we will never be a desert, a destroy temple or city again.

I cry without words to him.

He hears. He answers. He loves.

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