May you be encouraged by the missions devotional from Lyle Mattson.
“How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, She who was great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces has become a slave.” Lamentations 1:1
Reading through Jeremiah, one gets very frustrated in that Jeremiah continuously proclaimed God’s warning, but the people of Judah paid no heed, or they reacted negatively to his message. As I read his prophecy, my mind wandered to the question of what exactly did the Jews do to ignite God’s anger? Obviously, they didn’t listen to Jeremiah, yet it appears that they continued on with their Sabbath worship times and their days of festival. The Temple appears to have been a very active place–yet, God was angry–angry enough to allow His house to be destroyed by a king who had no time for the living God. Now, the busyness is done, the people have been killed or are gone, the Temple is destroyed and Jeremiah begins the commentary with the words: “How lonely sits the city that was full of people!” Up here, in northern Minnesota, there have been times when I’ve been on a back road in the winter time, I’ve just stopped my truck, turned off the engine and lowered the windows. All that could be heard is the wind blowing across the landscape. When I do this, the words of Jeremiah come to mind. We live in a world of busyness. We tend to read Jeremiah and the Lamentations and think: “If only, the Jews had done this or that differently, God would have been satisfied and all would have ended well.” We live in a world of action–a world where anything can be made right as long as we do things the correct way. Television and social media present us with methods of solving problems or healing diseases in 30 or 60 minutes minus commercial time. In the church, it’s easy to be caught up in Bible studies, conferences, concerts, meetings and even our scheduled Bible and prayer times. Paul, to the Roman church, wrote: “I appeal to you therefore brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 The Jews were far too busy with their religious life to allow God’s transformation. Our Lord wants us to first of all, be quiet before Him–to the point of being lonely before Him. With the Jews, He forced the issue. May we learn to be quiet before our Lord and enjoy His transformation.