The chapter vividly describes the dire state of the city and its people. It talks about how the streets of Jerusalem, once bustling with the joyous laughter of children, are now silent and desolate. The gold and sacred stones of the temple, symbols of the city’s wealth and faith, are scattered and tarnished, mirroring the fallen state of the nation. This chapter has an underlying lament for the loss of the city’s glory and mourning over the sins that led to such devastation. It is a poignant reminder of the consequences of turning away from God’s path.
The Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller, pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church and Jesus Lutheran Church of the Deaf in Austin, TX, joins the Rev. Dr. Phil Booe to study Lamentations 4.
Embark on a journey through the Book of Lamentations, a deeply moving poetic reflection on the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. This book is a profound expression of grief, portraying the desolation of a city and a people who have experienced immense suffering. Each chapter brings its unique perspective, from the vivid portrayal of Jerusalem as a lonely, grieving widow to the poignant pleas for mercy and reflection on the unyielding justice of God. The imagery is stark and emotive, encapsulating the pain of exile and the consequences of turning away from God. Yet, amidst the mourning, Lamentations also offers glimmers of hope and the possibility of redemption. It’s a powerful exploration of human sorrow, divine justice, and the enduring faithfulness of God, even in the darkest of times.
Thy Strong Word, hosted by Rev. Dr. Phil Booe, pastor of St. John Lutheran Church of Luverne, MN, reveals the light of our salvation in Christ through study of God’s Word, breaking our darkness with His redeeming light. Each weekday, two pastors fix our eyes on Jesus by considering Holy Scripture, verse by verse, in order to be strengthened in the Word and be equipped to faithfully serve in our daily vocations.
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The Holy Stones Lie Scattered
4 How the gold has grown dim,
how the pure gold is changed!
The holy stones lie scattered
at the head of every street.
2 The precious sons of Zion,
worth their weight in fine gold,
how they are regarded as earthen pots,
the work of a potter’s hands!
3 Even jackals offer the breast;
they nurse their young;
but the daughter of my people has become cruel,
like the ostriches in the wilderness.
4 The tongue of the nursing infant sticks
to the roof of its mouth for thirst;
the children beg for food,
but no one gives to them.
5 Those who once feasted on delicacies
perish in the streets;
those who were brought up in purple
embrace ash heaps.
8 Now their face is blacker than soot;
they are not recognized in the streets;
their skin has shriveled on their bones;
it has become as dry as wood.
9 Happier were the victims of the sword
than the victims of hunger,
who wasted away, pierced
by lack of the fruits of the field.
10 The hands of compassionate women
have boiled their own children;
they became their food
during the destruction of the daughter of my people.
11 The Lord gave full vent to his wrath;
he poured out his hot anger,
and he kindled a fire in Zion
that consumed its foundations.
12 The kings of the earth did not believe,
nor any of the inhabitants of the world,
that foe or enemy could enter
the gates of Jerusalem.
13 This was for the sins of her prophets
and the iniquities of her priests,
who shed in the midst of her
the blood of the righteous.
14 They wandered, blind, through the streets;
they were so defiled with blood
that no one was able to touch
15 “Away! Unclean!” people cried at them.
“Away! Away! Do not touch!”
So they became fugitives and wanderers;
people said among the nations,
“They shall stay with us no longer.”
16 The Lord himself[f] has scattered them;
he will regard them no more;
no honor was shown to the priests,
no favor to the elders.
17 Our eyes failed, ever watching
vainly for help;
in our watching we watched
for a nation which could not save.
18 They dogged our steps
so that we could not walk in our streets;
our end drew near; our days were numbered,
for our end had come.
19 Our pursuers were swifter
than the eagles in the heavens;
they chased us on the mountains;
they lay in wait for us in the wilderness.
20 The breath of our nostrils, the Lord‘s anointed,
was captured in their pits,
of whom we said, “Under his shadow
we shall live among the nations.”
21 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom,
you who dwell in the land of Uz;
but to you also the cup shall pass;
you shall become drunk and strip yourself bare.
22 The punishment of your iniquity, O daughter of Zion, is accomplished;
he will keep you in exile no longer;[g]
but your iniquity, O daughter of Edom, he will punish;
he will uncover your sins.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. esv.org