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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


 

Daily Boost

May 26, 2010 - A Very Sad Happy Book

By Scott Harrup

I’ve been reading Lamentations lately during my personal devotions. Not for any complicated reason. I finished Jeremiah, and Lamentations is the next book in the Old Testament.

This famous dirge voices Jeremiah’s anguish at the fall of Jerusalem to the armies of Babylon. The city’s demise heralds the end of the Kingdom of Judah. It’s compelling reading, achingly beautiful. It caps off a lot of history shared in great detail in the preceding book (the Book of Jeremiah is the longest narrative book in the Bible). Throughout the reigns of several ungodly kings, Jeremiah watched in horror as divine judgment loomed. Lamentations gives a wailing announcement of that judgment’s arrival.

Lamentations has me asking myself what role godly sorrow should play in my life. I think our natural inclination is to avoid sorrow at all costs. But there has to be a role for sorrow to play in every life, or there wouldn’t be a need for a book like Lamentations. My current takeaway falls under a couple of points.

1. I need to be genuinely sorrowful for sin, all sin — mine and anyone else’s. Jeremiah clearly connects Judah and Jerusalem’s fall with generations of spiritual rebellion. Sin is at the root of his people’s destruction, and it breaks his heart.

2. In responding to the sin around me, my attitude must be that of a fellow traveler. Jeremiah never comes across as preaching down to anyone. Like the other scriptural prophets, he’s always honest. He’s God’s spokesman, so he can’t pull punches when it comes to confronting evil or warning of judgment. But he’s never arrogant. He’s no holier-than-thou hypocrite.

Interestingly, years after Jeremiah passed off the scene, the prophet Daniel read his writings and responded the same way—sorrowfully acknowledging his nation’s sin and his own sinful nature, and praying fervently for God’s renewed favor.

And renewed favor is a powerful message in much of the Bible. Lamentations is no exception.

“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’ The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” (3:19-26, NIV).

That’s a shot in the arm, even in the middle of a list of catastrophes.

— Scott Harrup is managing editor of the Pentecostal Evangel and blogs at Out There (sharrup.agblogger.org).

 

 

 

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