Ezekiel Chapters 3 and 4

Chapter 3 is going to end the confrontation of Ezekiel with God and then we will progress into (for about half of what is left of the book) the judgment on Judah. Once again the book of Ezekiel is one of the more challenging books to read, so I might misunderstand some things throughout the blogs, and please let me know if I do! I am using a lot of commentary and study Bibles throughout reading this book, but sometimes it is possible to still get lost and confused!

I misspoke in my previous post! God gave the Word for Ezekiel to eat in chapter 3, not chapter 2. Chapter 2 cuts off the story in a weird place…I always wonder how it was decided when to cut off chapters. The Words that God gave Ezekiel were apparently “sweet as honey” (Ezekiel 3:3) which I find interesting, because I wouldn’t expect anything less coming from God. God sends Ezekiel to the house of Israel, for they will understand what he is saying, but God still knows that they will probably not listen still because they were not even willing to listen to Him. Once again Ezekiel is commissioned. God said, “Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. And go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD GOD,’ whether they hear or refuse to hear,” Ezekiel 3:10-11. As soon as God was done speaking, a loud noise sounding like an earthquake happened, and the angels left and the Spirit carried Ezekiel to Tel-abib where the other exiles were sitting. Ezekiel sat there in shock for 7 days…can you imagine that shock of meeting the most holy and glorious creator ever? It might have taken me some more time to stop being in shock.

God tells Ezekiel that he is to act as a watchman. A watchman sends warning to those people around him when something dangerous is about to happen. God is sending Ezekiel with warning that they are about to face judgment for their unrighteousness (Jerusalem has not fallen completely to Babylon yet). God warns Ezekiel that he must give these prophecies and warning, or else it would harm the righteous that do exist, for they will listen to Ezekiel, but if they never hear the information they would not have a choice. God is placing pressure upon Ezekiel. Ezekiel then went into the valley and faced God like he had previously and “fell on his face,” like what always happens whenever one confronts God face to face – for His glory overcomes us and is unfathomable. God tells Ezekiel that the Spirit will allow him to speak only when God has prophecies for His people, for He does not want Ezekiel to reprimand the people, for God wants them to stay as their rebellious house and not change because of human reprimand. God wants the people to make their own decisions on whether or not they choose to listen or not, and He does not want Ezekiel to interfere. Imagine how challenging it would be for Ezekiel. He might have had loved ones who would not listen and he would want to protect them by trying to persuade them, but God said he cannot do that. God gave us our own free will for a reason, and this is one of those times where one’s will is being tested.

Chapter 4 was a lot more complicated to me. There is a lot of symbolism revolving around the siege of Jerusalem. The siege of Jerusalem is being depicted in this chapter and there are specific details throughout the chapter. I used the Reformation Study Bible available through Bible Gateway as a resource for this chapter. Apparently bricks and tablets were commonly used by prophets at this time to illustrate their points (Jeremiah, and Isaiah used them at some points). Ezekiel and the brick in the first three verses show the besiegement of Jerusalem, by being taken down by an iron force much stronger than its own power. The iron between Him and Jerusalem also represents how prayers to God and His connection with His people have been cut off. Ezekiel was going to symbolically bear the sin of the people by having to lay on his left side for 390 days to bear the sins of the house of Israel and then 40 days for the sins of Judah. God will enforce he completes these payments. Ezekiel will have to bear these sins and live off of only the ration supplies of food that would exist for someone in a besieged city. Ezekiel will have to be unclean like those that are in the city, and cannot stay clean. These actions that Ezekiel will have to take part in seem intense but they are reflecting the pain and filth that the people of Jerusalem will go through because of their unrighteousness and silence from God.

Ezekiel Chapters 1 and 2

If you get the time, don’t forget that I posted a map of the time that Ezekiel was living in! It is pretty much the time of Babylon taking over Jerusalem and the exile process. Like I also mentioned in my previous post, Ezekiel was the son of a priest from Judah and he was exiled before the majority of the Israelites because of being a son to a higher up individual in society. The first few chapters are God interacting with Ezekiel and calling him to prophesize. Ezekiel was currently exiled in Chebar Canal, which was the part of the land under the Chaldeans (SE Babylon). For this interaction of Ezekiel with God, you have to think about what it would be like if you were in Ezekiel’s shoes and the fear that he must have felt at the time.

God came to Ezekiel during the fifth year of Jehoiachin’s exile (2 Kings 24). All of these descriptions that take place of God literally bringing Ezekiel the Word correlates to authenticity for the time so that those would see him as a true prophet. Ezekiel experienced a gush of wind and fire when the LORD came to him. There is then an interesting description of the angels that came down – they were some intense and scary looking figures. Each had four faces, four wings, and they sparkled like bronze. Their faces consisted of a human face, the face of an ox, the face of a lion, and the face of an eagle. There is a lot of depictions of these symbols, about God’s creations, but I won’t go into great detail because I don’t understand it fully myself. They flew around with four different wheels, and they went wherever the spirit lead them. Their wings sounded like a marching army or a large force of water…can you imagine seeing these figures and then being encompassed with that noise as well? Then God appears. Remember how Moses veiled his face in the book of Exodus when meeting with God? Well Ezekiel could not see God’s face and was overcome with fear. God appeared to be in a human form, but once again His face was so bright and shining that it was impossible to look directly into it, then again I doubt he had the courage to look Him in the eyes. Ezekiel saw this greatness and immediately fell to his face! This happens whenever someone faces God, because we cannot fathom the glory of God, and face His glory head on! Ezekiel wrote, “Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking,” Ezekiel 1:28. These details are in depth and it reminds me a lot of the book of Revelation, because it is details that seem strange, but have so much meaning and symbolism. The book of Ezekiel is one of those books that has been labeled as challenging to read and comprehend…it takes some research. I will do my best to research and explain these details.

Chapter 2 is short in verses but full in terms of what God commissions Ezekiel to do. As soon as God began to speak to Ezekiel, the Spirit filled him. God told Ezekiel, “’Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me…. And you son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions. … And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house,’” Ezekiel 2:3-7. It is hard to break down the words of the LORD, but it essentially told Ezekiel to be steadfast in his actions and continue with the word no matter what, for he will be protected. He will definitely face pain and difficulties, but God will protect him (reminds me a lot of Paul’s thorn in his side and how he still commissioned). Ezekiel’s difficulties he will face will be nothing, because of God being there to help Him, but he must keep to telling God’s Word even if the people do not want to listen to him. Then Ezekiel literally ate the Word of the LORD, for God handed him a scroll with His Word on it. The writing was full of lamentations and grief for his people…Chapter 3 (the next post) will finish up this interaction of Ezekiel with God. It is unfathomable to think of this happening and what fear Ezekiel must have felt! It is amazing and glorious!

Here is an image depicting the angels and God coming down to Ezekiel

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 8.32.20 AM

Source: https://palmerstonemc.com/2014/08/27/ezekiel-1-4-foreign-prophet/

Map during the time of Ezekiel

Ezekiel was the son of a priest of Judah and he was exiled to Babylon before the official fall of Jerusalem. He was prophesying from Babylon before the fall and then following the exile of all to Babylon, he was still prophesying. He was around at the same time as Jeremiah, so there will be some similarities throughout the book of Ezekiel and the book of Jeremiah.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 9.12.46 AM

Source: http://www.bible-history.com/maps/books.php

Amos Chapters 7, 8, and 9 (FINALE)

So for the last three chapters of the book of Amos, I went over the top on the commentary Bibles on Bible Gateway, but it was just so insightful! I just want to explain that throughout chapters 7 and 8 there are four visions from Amos that were sent to him from God. There are specific patterns for both the first two and last two visions and I will briefly mention them below! I am just infatuated with how well written and unique the book of Amos is written – so many patterns and analogies! I hope you guys have been enjoying it along with me as well!

The first pattern of the first two visions is: LORD gives the vision, Amos intercedes, and the LORD relents. So the first visions given by God is that locust will come and consume all of the crops, and all vegetation will no longer be there. Amos begs for forgiveness from God for His people and God then said that He would not let the vision happen. Amos intercedes by pointing out the weakness of the people, for they would not be able to survive at all in these first two visions. The second vision given to Amos is that there would be a fire of judgment and it would consume the whole land. Amos once again begs God not to follow through on this vision for the people would not be able to withstand, and God relents once again.

The third and fourth visions have another distinct pattern. The third vision is 7:7-9 and the fourth is 8:1-3, so I will return to the end of the seventh chapter once I discuss these last two visions. The pattern for these visions is: LORD gives vision, LORD questions Amos, Amos replies, and then the LORD explains and judges. So the people of Israel will not be able to get out of these visions essentially, for God has a just reason for giving these punishments. The third vision consists of essentially a wall being put up around His people, and He will therefore not be able to pass them and they will not be able to reach Him either. God verifies the vision by having Amos repeat what he sees after God shows him the vision. God then explains why he puts up the wall or “plumb line” around His people. The fourth vision is given and it is a basket of summer fruit. Amos verifies it is a basket of summer fruit. God once again judges that He will not pass by His people again and there will be death and silence as a result. We all know from various other prophets and stories that silence and loneliness without God is the greatest punishment possible.

All of the visions are interesting to see the pattern of…it is almost as if the greatest judgments are the third and fourth visions from God where the people are alone, in spite of the locust and fire seeming like the worse. After the third vision there is a response to the vision from Amaziah who was a priest of Bethel. Amos had said that the people of Israel would be exiled and Jeroboam would be killed by the sword (which we know from 2 Kings 14 happens). Amos stands up for himself essentially because Amaziah says that he was not really a prophet and just told him that he should just move away and leave. Amos said absolutely not! He declares he is a herdsman but that did not keep God from giving him these visions, and as a result of Amaziah telling Amos not to share the God’s visions and words, God said Amaziah would face ruin from his family to Israel.

All of the mourning and judgments for the people of Israel are a result of the people’s insincerity of their holy days, dishonesty, and the general injustice that they were giving to their people. God tells of the justice He will finally feel against His people and as a result he would have a feast during their mourning. A great analogy that is used throughout chapter 8, is that the people will go through a famine of His Word, for He will have left them alone. Even those strong, whether it be physically or spiritually, will die of thirst from not having God present.

Chapter 9 is vital to understanding the justice and love of God. It is the destruction AND restoration of Israel. These visions are strictly what God has told Amos, so Amos is not interacting with God at this point. No one will escape the harm and He knows where to find His people everywhere – they would not even be able to hide in heaven or hell, for He is all-knowing. Those that are not fearful of God will be taken down even more so, for He is the ultimate God and the people that choose to believe that they are in control of their own lives and not God is shameful. This would be like people who say that they do not need God to be active in their lives, because they do not want to hand over the power to God and they want to do what they want whenever they want. These people make gods of themselves, in spite of them not being in comparison by any means to God! God is almighty and we must never forget that! God does promise His people that a day will come with justice. They will eventually stay in their land and not be forced out ever again and this will all happen once the exile is over. God promises they will never be uprooted again and He will protect them.

At least the book of Amos finishes on a positive note! I hope you have enjoyed the book of Amos – I know I have! Next book will be the book of Ezekiel!

Amos Chapters 4, 5, and 6

I hope you guys have been enjoying the book of Amos so far! I know it seems pretty similar to Hosea, Obadiah, and many of the other prophets throughout the New Testament, but each has its own unique qualities and come from different time periods. The most important thing is to see how the love of God is shown as steadfast throughout all of the Bible, including within the “minor prophets.”

Chapter 4 continues on with the third chapter of “Israel’s Guilt and Punishment.” God promises to the people of Israel that the transgressors will eventually be taken down as well. The symbolism to the upcoming captors (Assyria) is interesting and I am glad that I am now aware of the symbols because of the Bible Gateway App. If you have not checked it out, you should! You can access your Bible on your tablet or phone, and my favorite part of it is the resources available. There is a study Bible version that helps to break down symbols and analogies that one would probably not know. For instance, there is a reference to fishhooks in verse 2, and the people of Assyria were known for their fishhooks apparently. So Amos is discreetly pointing out who will take over Israel soon – Assyria of course. An interesting aspect also added to the end of the “Israel’s Guilt and Punishment” is that God gives them some things to do, in order to show repentance. They should bring sacrifices every day, tithe three days, and so on…If you refer back to Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, there is a break down of when to make these offerings and sacrifices, and the ones listed in the book of Amos are more frequent than what was expected by law. Why is this? Because they have transgressed so badly! Their actions have gone so outside of righteousness that God expects even more in repentance from them.

The second half of chapter 4 shows another writing strategy we have seen throughout the book of Amos, and that is repetition to really have the problem stand out! The main point of the rest of chapter 4 is to show how there have been so many negative occurrences, similar to what was done to Egypt in the past, yet the people have not returned to God for love. There was famine, drought, pestilence, locust, overthrowing the leaders, but the people just continued to ignore. You know when you are doing something you know you are not supposed to do, but you keep giving yourself reassurance for your actions because you don’t want to see how what you are doing is so bad? That is what all of Israel and Judah were doing. At the end of each verse there is “’yet you did not return to me,’ declares the LORD GOD,” Amos 4:8-11. There was no repentance from His people, even after all of the signs and prophecies, and this is why Israel would be under Assyria for some time. I love the last verse in this chapter, because it shows the authority and power of God, and how ridiculous it is to go against Him. “For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought, who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth – the LORD, the God of hosts, if his name!” Amos 4:13.

Amos laments for Israel in chapter 5 and tells the people to “Seek the LORD and live.” The city that was once so powerful will now face destruction, for God’s judgment will not be extinguished (v. 6). God’s power and authority is once again shown but in a more outwardly and majestic way than Amos 4:13. He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the LORD is his name,” Amos 5:8. God made the constellations…yet they choose to ignore Him? Amos begs the people to seek God, for without Him we are truly dead, and if we seek Him then He will be with us always (think of the term we use for Jesus – Immanuel “God with us”). The people had assumed that God would be with them, no matter their actions or if they repent or not, and this is not true. They did not have a savior like Jesus yet, and we all know that we still must repent our sins and understand that Jesus took all of our pain. God had to “pass through” Egypt and bring destruction like we read in Exodus, and now He will have to “pass through” Israel now, and bring destruction with Him, for the Israelites have sinned against Him and His people overall, like the Egyptians had done. The second portion to chapter 5 is a focus on “Let Justice Roll Down.” The people are claiming they want the Day of the LORD to come (think of Revelation), yet these people are engrossed with darkness, and as a result would be turned away from God. The actions of the people have not been genuine, and God knows that their actions throughout their offerings and tithes, and sacrifices mean nothing to His people, and it disgraces Him. God sees their idolatry of the worldly things, and He will make them pay for it by being taken “into exile beyond Damascus…” aka Assyria.

Chapter 6 addresses both Israel and Judah. Both cities were arrogant and proud in their glory, but did not acknowledge that without God, they would not have had such great success and power! The people of Israel and Judah are living wicked lives, but do not want to address all that will come to them as a result of their actions. They will face ruin, but will not change their stubborn ways. Jeroboam II had restored a lot of land to Israel around this time, and even these territories will be taken away once again, and the people will finally have a fear of God, that is necessary. If they do not believe He will do something, and then He does, then His authority will be most likely restored!

Next post will end the book of Amos! These minor prophets are short books, but they truly have so much insight to dig into!

Pictured is Orion, the constellation mentioned in chapter 5…God created this! It is truly amazing!

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 8.42.50 AM

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/space/comments/3ly4nx/the_orion_nebula_is_back_in_the_northern_sky/

Amos Chapters 1, 2, and 3

Another book, another prophet! Amos was alive at the same time as Jonah, which was during the reign of Jeroboam II in Israel. Jeroboam did was evil in the eyes of the Lord (2 Kings 14:23-29), so the book of Amos revolves closely around the prophecies of what will happen in Israel and the nations surrounding it.

The first chapter focuses primarily on the judgments of Israel’s neighbors. There is a great repetition within this prophecy, making it more like a poem. All 6 nations mentioned throughout the book start with “For three transgressions of [major city in said nation], and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because….” Amos 1:3,6,11,13, Amos 2:1. There is a lot of details of specific things that these other nations had done to Israel, Judah, and God overall. For instance, when describing the negative occurrences from Syria there is mention of “threshed Gilead,” and how God will “break the gate-bar of Damascus,” Amos 1:3-4. The six big Gentile nations go through this process of being explicitly called out for their actions against God and His people. The 6 nations are: Syria, Philistia, Phoenicia, Edom, Ammon, and Moab. All of their transgressions are listed followed by their judgments, which revolve around destruction of the cities within that Gentile nation or exile – the nations will lay in ruin. I would say that it has been pretty accurate depictions, seeing as all of these nations no longer exist…other than Syria which has not been in the best conditions for years (think of the migration crisis). There seems to always be upheaval there, no matter what.

Chapter 2 changes the focus of judgment from the Gentile nations to Judah and Israel. Just as the other nations had specific accusations against them, the same goes fro Judah and Israel. They have the same beginning as the first chapter…the “For three transgressions…” Judah has not kept the statutes of the LORD and have just turned completely away from the law of God. Judah has gone astray, and as a result the stronghold of Jerusalem will be devoured (Babylonian captivity can be read here). We know that this prophecy of judgment happens for sure! We just read Lamentations. Israel has a longer rap sheet against them in the book of Amos, probably because he was in Israel with Jeroboam II (based upon Biblical historians). Israel turned on the broken that needed help, and they even turned on the righteous for money and other worldly things. They chose to go directly against God’s Word knowingly. They lived as unclean of a life imaginable. It has been a while since I have posted about Exodus or Numbers, but all of those laws that are explicitly written out for the Israelites had been broken by many in the land of Israel. God mentions all that he has done, yet His people have turned away from Him. One detail I thought was interesting, reminded me of Samson in the book of Judges, “But you made the Nazirites drink wine…” Amos 2:12. The Nazirites were some of the most holy and clean living people, form drinking to not cutting their hair and they definitely followed kosher. The people of Israel were corrupting the righteous that were left.

Chapter 3 goes into even more details of Israel’s guilt and punishment that they deserve. Amos is directly speaking to the people of Israel at the beginning, begging them to listen to what he has to say for it is coming directly from God! God has CHOSEN them to be His people, and this is how they repay Him. God has given all of His love to them and they do not even appreciate it. Amos adds the desire for them to believe him when he shares how God will not cause harm without having His prophets speak to His people…which is what Amos was currently doing. There will be some to rise up against Israel and cause harm, which in this case comes from 2 Kings 17-18 which includes mention of Assyria taking control and ravaging the cities within Israel. Those that remained will be saved and protected by God, for He will not ruin His whole group of people. God tells of how the people of Israel will lose all of their homes (many were so wealthy and did not share their wealth with others so as a result they had like vacation homes [summer and winter homes]), and the Assyrians were actually known for plundering, so perhaps Amos is making a connection to their plundering of these vacation homes.

The upcoming chapters will go deeper into Israel and their actions, and all that is to come to them!

Map during the time of Amos

Amos was written and the prophecies correlate with the reign of King Jeroboam II (2 Kings 14:23-29). The prophet Jonah was also during this time. I previously blogged about 2 Kings so there are more details in those blog posts about what was specifically happening. Jeroboam II did evil in the eyes of the LORD.

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 8.50.40 AM

Source: http://www.bible-history.com/maps/books.php

Lamentations Chapters 3, 4, and 5

Already at the end of the book of Lamentations! It is a short book but filled with so much wisdom! One of my favorite verses is in chapter 3 and I will attach a little digital artwork of it – courtesy of Google images J. I am not the savviest with creating my own masterpieces online, but maybe I should try it out! Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy the end of the book of Lamentations and see the wisdom that is present throughout His Word.

The first person throughout the rest of the book is from the perspective of the prophet that wrote the book of Lamentations. There is no hard proof of who wrote the book of Lamentations, but he was obviously a great poet! The beginning of chapter three goes through the harsh transgressions that God has put on His people – the tough love that was needed. I like the symbolism of the darkness that is described in verse two. The prophet wrote, “he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light,” Lamentations 3:2. God throughout the Bible is always connected with the light and life without any light means that you are facing the world alone and have total darkness surrounding you. You are one with the material world, and this is the where the people of Israel were, more specifically the people of Jerusalem. All of these bad things like death, famine, and disease are result of their transgressions and God has made anything that is an enjoyment for the people, a bitter experience. After the prophet describes all of this agony, he then moves to a positive message. All of these negative things have happened, but the prophet proclaims to the readers and listeners that there is still hope if one has faith in God! God will return to protect His people, and the prophet continues to emphasize this. My favorite verse and one I love to remember is: “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness,” Lamentations 3:22-23. Every day we have more and more mercy – it never depletes, and we are always restored in the eyes of the LORD, which we can now thank to Jesus Christ. When God causes us grief, it is for a reason…He has compassion because of his abundant love (3:32). We must continue to call for God’s love and help for He hears us and never leaves us! He will never forsake us! On the cross, Jesus goes through taking on everyone’s sins and going through darkness where God does not come and help. This is why Christ exclaimed, “God why have you forsaken me?” Jesus was experiencing what we are lucky to never have to experience – total loneliness and life without God. God would return to protect His people – especially when He sends His one and only son!

The symbolism is once again splendid in chapter 4! Jerusalem use to be the city of gold that sparkled and all the other states and cities envied to be. God made this glowing and bright city dull, because of their unfaithfulness. There is no longer any liveliness that use to exist in God’s city. Throughout this poem in chapter 4, there are multiple examples of how the rich become the poor on the streets, the beautiful are now covered in soot throughout the streets, and how even at this point the only happy people were those to die a quick death by the sword than by starvation. The city is in such disarray that women are turning on their own children for food, and all has gone completely awry. All the beauty of the city is completely gone. The righteous that had existed throughout the city were put to ruin by the ones they were suppose to trust – the prophets and the priests. These prophets and priests are now labeled as unclean – the opposite of their previous roles. The city has been turned upside down.

Chapter 5 is a plea for restoration for the people of Israel. There are specific instances that have happened to the people throughout this failure of the city and the people. It is no longer written in poem format, but rather it is a list. The people are having to fight for water, they are treated as slaves once again, and many many more horrible things are listed. There is acknowledgement toward the end of the list however how God reigns forever and will last through the generations (v. 19). The people of Israel want to be restored to God and all that God had provided for them before. There is an interesting verse at the end however, and that is that they beg for forgiveness and to return to the old prestige, but if it is not His will then they know it wont happen. There seems to be a better understanding of faithfulness for their God!

Lamentations Chapters 1 and 2

I have actually never read completely through Lamentations before, and so far I am enjoying it! The poetry is beautiful and I have heard that it is even better in Hebrew, which I cannot read, but I am sure it is great! Honestly, I am sure that it is beautiful in any language, for it is God’s Word. I will definitely read it in German and let y’all know how it is – in term of it reading beautifully. One of my favorite verses will be in the next post, and I cannot wait to share it. As I mentioned in the previous post, where there is a map of the Babylonian empire, this book was written following the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon, and the grief that one feels for losing Jerusalem and God’s comfort.

The first poem is entitled, “How Lonely Sits the City.” The analogies are truly fascinating and perfect. Jerusalem is referred throughout the book as “she,” and “her.” Countries, nations, cities, towns, and so on are always referred to as female. A great sentence to explain the lost that the city has gone through is at the very beginning. The writer writes, “She who was a princess among the provinces has become a slave,” Lamentations 1:1b. The whole point is to show how much Jerusalem and its people have lost. They were the beloved of the King and were the most prosperous, yet after falling to Babylon they are merely slaves that have no power or authority and absolutely no connection to the King. Not only is she weeping over the loss of her power, but all of her lovers are not even there to comfort her! I view these “lovers” to be the worldly things that she held so tightly to, yet they are insignificant and mortal. She had turned her head away from the one thing that can provide eternal love and comfort, and that is her creator God. It shows how one can only truly rely on God and no one else. We may put all of our comfort and protection in another person, like your husband or wife, but in the end they are mortal and will not always be there for you. They are human. God is infinite and is always with you in the past, present, and future.

God is making the people of Israel and especially Jerusalem pay for their transgressions, when He had constantly been trying to save them. “My transgressions were bound into a yoke; by his hand they were fastened together…” Lamentations 1:14. I posted a picture a while back of what a yoke is. It is a piece of farming machinery where you put cattle into it and they have to rely on the person driving the yoke, for they are bound. God has allowed her to be bound to her transgressions fully, and she cannot escape. Most importantly in verse 21, the city acknowledges how she had known that this day would come because God kept sending warnings. The prophets like Jeremiah and Isaiah were trying to protect the city and the people, but they kept turning away from them. My Bible reference, references Jeremiah 50:11, where Jeremiah is giving a prophecy about what is to become of Babylon. There are constant references to Jeremiah throughout the book of Lamentations and this is just one of the instances. What is to take away from this first poem? Our only comfort is God. Idols and worldly things are temporary and provide no protection or comfort for us.

Chapter 2 is even more of a lament, and is entitled “The LORD has Destroyed Without Pity.” It is not surprising to us in retrospect that Jerusalem would face punishment when we read books and read through really centuries of God sending warnings to His people. Just think, I just finished blogging about the book of Judges, and that was YEARS before the fall of Jerusalem, yet the people kept doing what they wanted. It would be ridiculous for us to snub our noses at them however, when our world is just as if not more corrupt than the Israelites were. Just look at what politics is focusing on, and the sin of the world is obvious. It is all about money and immoral social actions. What I appreciate about the second poem in this book is that it shows the anguish of God and His sadness over what has to be done to His people. His “fierce anger” is mentioned in verse 3, and “his fury like fire” in verse 4. God’s anger is enveloped with sadness and it is devastating to read. This is why He will send His son 500 years after the fall of Jerusalem! His anger and sadness is exemplified in verse 7, “The Lord has scorned his altar, disowned his sanctuary…” God was taking down His own creation and home that was in the temple in Jerusalem.

Throughout this chapter there are constant references to the famine that infiltrated the city while Babylon was trying to take over the city. Infants and babies are falling in the streets from hunger, and mothers are without food – it is a horrible scene to describe. God then mentions how the people had relied on false prophets and oracles and how they were always being mislead and now they are recognizing it, and it was not until they were fully in ruin. Hindsight is 20/20, the owl of Minerva flies at dusk, whatever phrase about seeing how wrong or right you were after the fact is perfect for here. Yes, if they could see the future and the anguish with their own eyes, then maybe they would have changed. But after centuries of their actions, there is no way they would have changed completely. All honor and love is gone, and the one God they could depend on is gone. It is devastating to read about their anguish throughout Jerusalem, but it is all of the prophecies fulfilled, just like how the prophecy of Christ Jesus would be fulfilled. All prophecies from God are true.