Today’s selected reading is found in the Old Testament prophetic book of the Lamentations of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah. More specifically, today’s passage is found within and covers each of the five chapters of this prophetic book. THE LAMENTATIONS OF JEREMIAH! “How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! How is she become as a widow! She that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become a tributary” (Lamentations 1:1). JUDAH IS GONE INTO CAPTIVITY BECAUSE OF AFFLICTION, AND BECAUSE OF GREAT SERVITUDE! SHE DWELLETH AMONG THE HEATHEN, SHE FINDETH NO REST! ALL PER PERSECUTORS OVERTOOK HER BETWEEN THE STRAITS! HER ADVERSARIES ARE THE CHIEF, HER ENEMIES PROSPER! THE LORD HATH AFFLICTED HER FOR THE MULTITUDE OF HER TRANSGRESSIONS! HER CHILDREN ARE GONE INTO CAPTIVITY BEFORE THE ENEMY! FROM THE DAUGHTER OF ZION ALL HER BEAUTY IS DEPARTED! THEY ARE GONE WITHOUT STRENGTH BEFORE THE PURSUER! WHEN HER PEOPLE FELL INTO THE HAND OF THE ENEMY, AND NONE DID HELP HER! THE ADVERSARIES SAW HER, AND DID MOCK AT HER SABBATHS! JERUSALEM HATH GRIEVOUSLY SINNED; THEREFORE SHE IS REMOVED! SHE CAME DOWN WONDERFULLY: SHE HAD NO COMFORTER! O LORD, BEHOLD MY AFFLICTION: FOR THE ENEMY HATH MAGNIFIED HIMSELF! THE ADVERSARY HATH SPREAD OUT HIS HAND UPON ALL HER PLEASANT THINGS! SHE HATH SEEN THAT THE HEATHEN ENTERED INTO HER SANCTUARY, WHOM THOU DIDST COMMAND THAT THEY SHOULD NOT ENTER INTO THY CONGREGATION! IS IT NOTHING TO YOU, ALL YE THAT PASS BY? BEHOLD, AND SEE IF THERE BE ANY SORROW LIKE UNTO MY SORROW, WHICH IS DONE UNTO ME, WHEREWITH THE LORD HATH AFFLICTED ME IN THE DAY OF HIS FIERCE ANGER! FOR THESE THINGS I WEEP! MINE EYE, MINE EYE RUNNETH DOWN WITH WATER, BECAUSE THE COMFORTER THAT SHOULD RELIEVE MY SOUL IS FAR FROM ME! MY CHILDREN ARE DESOLATE, BECAUSE THE ENEMY PREVAILED! THE LORD HATH COMMANDED CONCERNING JACOB, THAT HIS ADVERSARIES SHOULD BE ROUND ABOUT HIM! BEHOLD, O LORD; FOR I AM IN DISTRESS: MY BOWELS ARE TROUBLE; MINE HEART IS TURNED WITHIN ME; FOR I HAVE GRIEVOUSLY REBELLED! ALL MINE ENEMIES HAVE HEARD OF MY TROUBLE; THEY ARE GLAD THAT THOU HAST DONE IT! FOR MY SIGHS ARE MANY, AND MY HEART IS FAINT!
THE LORD HATH COVERED WITH A CLOUD IN HIS ANGER! THE LORD HAS CAST DOWN FROM HEAVEN UNTO THE EARTH THE BEAUTY OF ISRAEL! THE LORD REMEMBERED NOT HIS FOOTSTOOL IN THE DAY OF HIS ANGER! THE LORD HATH SWALLOWED UP ALL THE HABITATIONS OF JACOB! THE LORD HATH THROWN DOWN IN HIS WRATH THE STRONG HOLDS OF THE DAUGHTER OF JUDAH! HE HATH BROUGHT THEM DOWN TO THE GROUND! HE HATH POLLUTED THE KINGDOM AND THE PRINCES! HE HATH CUT OFF IN HIS FIERCE ANGER! HE HATH DRAWN BACK HIS RIGHT HAND FROM BEFORE THE ENEMY! HE BURNED JACOB LIKE A FLAMING FIRE! HE BENT HIS BOW LIKE AN ENEMY! HE STOOD WITH HIS RIGHT HAND AS AN ADVERSARY! HE POURED OUT HIS FURY LIKE FIRE! THE LORD WAS AN ENEMY! THE LORD HATH CAST OFF HIS ALTAR! HE HATH ABHORRED HIS SANCTUARY! HE HATH GIVEN UP INTO THE HAND OF THE ENEMY THE WALLS OF HER PALACES! THEY HAVE MADE A NOISE IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD! THE LORD HATH PURPOSED TO DESTROY THE WALL OF THE DAUGHTER OF ZION! MINE EYES DO FAIL WITH TEARS, MY BOWELS ARE TROUBLED! MY LIVER IS POURED UPON THE EARTH, FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF THE DAUGHTER OF THY PEOPLE! ALL THINE ENEMIES HAVE OPENED THEIR MOUTH AGAINST THEE! CERTAINLY THIS IS THE DAY THAT WE LOOKED FOR: WE HAVE FOUND, WE HAVE SEEN IT! [THE LORD HATH DONE THAT WHICH HE HAD DEVISED; HE HATH FULFILLED HIS WORD THAT HE HAD COMMANDED IN THE DAYS OF OLD] ARISE, CRY OUT IN THE NIGHT: IN THE BEGINNING OF THE WATCHES POUR OUT THINE HEART LIKE WATER BEFORE THE FACE OF THE LORD!
I AM THE MAN THAT HATH SEEN AFFLICTION BY THE ROD OF HIS WRATH! HE HATH LED ME, AND BROUGHT ME INTO DARKNESS, BUT NOT INTO LIGHT! HE TURNETH HIS HAND AGAINST ME ALL THE DAY! HE HATH BROKEN MY BONES! HE HATH BUILDED AGAINST ME, AND COMPASSED ME WITH GALL AND TRAVAIL! HE HATH SET ME IN DARK PLACES! HE HATH HEDGE ME ABOUT! HE HATH MADE MY CHAIN HEAVY! WHEN I CRY AND SHOUT, HE SHUTTETH OUT MY PRAYER! HE HATH TURNED ASIDE MY WAYS, AND PULLED ME IN PIECES! HE HATH MADE ME DESOLATE! HE HATH FILLED ME WITWH BITTERNESS! HE HATH MADE ME DRUNKEN WITH WORMWOOD! HE HATH COVERED ME WITH ASHES! THOU HAST REMOVED MY SOUL FAR OFF FROM PEACE! MY STRENGTH AND MY HOPE IS PERISHED FROM THE LORD! REMEMBERING MINE AFFLICTION AND MY MISERY! MY SOUL HATH THEM STILL IN REMEMBRANCE, AND IS HUMBLE IN ME! ALL OUR ENEMIES HAVE OPENED THEIR MOTUHS AGAINST US! MINE EYE RUNNETH DOWN WITH RIVERS OF WATER FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF THE DAUGHTER OF MY PEOPLE! MINE EYE TRICKLETH DOWN, AND CEASETH NOT, WITHOUT ANY INTERMISSION! MINE EYE AFFECTETH MINE HEART BECAUSE OF ALL THE DAUGHTERS OF MY CITY! MINE ENEMIES CHASED ME SORE!
THE LORD HATH ACCOMPLISHED HIS FURY! HE HATH POURED OUT HIS FIERCE ANGER, AND HATH KINDLED A FIRE IN ZION, AND IT HATH DEVOURED THE FOUNDATIONS THEREOF! THE KINGS OF THE EARTH, AND ALL THE INHABITANTS OF THE WORLD, WOULD NOT HAVE BELIEVED THAT THE ADVERSARY AND THE ENEMY SHOULD HAVE ENTERED INTO THE GATES OF JERUSALEM!
WHEN YOU SEE THE DESTRUCTION OF THE ENEMY AND ADVERSARIES! WHEN THE LORD SEEMS LIKE AN ADVERSARY! WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN IT APPEARS THE LORD IS AS AN ENEMY AND ADVERSARY? THE ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD! THE ENEMIES OF THE PROPHET! WHEN THE LORD IS AN ENEMY AND ADVERSARY! THE WEEPING OF THE PROPHET! THE MOURNING OF THE PROPHET! THE LAMENTATION OF THE PROPHET! When you come to the prophetic book of Lamentations you will find that it is a book that essentially marries the language found in the poetic books of Scripture with the language of the prophetic. What makes the prophetic book of Lamentations so incredibly unique—especially when considering it in light of the previous book of Jeremiah—is that this book was written as a response to the devastation which had taken place in the midst of Judah and Jerusalem. For at least thirty years Jeremiah had prophesied of the impending judgment and wrath of the LORD of hosts upon the city of Jerusalem and upon the land of Judah, and according to the word of the LORD he would rise up early speaking unto and warning the people of God to turn and return unto the LORD their God. At one point during the reign of Jehoiakim—specifically the fourth year of his reign—Jeremiah was instructed to summon Baruch son of Neriah unto himself that he might dictate unto him all the words which he had spoken unto the land of Judah and unto the city of Jerusalem from the time he began prophesying during the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah king of Judah until that present day. Baruch bore the tremendous responsibility of not only faithfully transcribing and writing all the words which Jeremiah dictated unto him, but Baruch was also summoned to take that which he had written in a book and stand in the court of the LORD’s house where he would faithfully proclaim the word of the LORD in the hearing of all the people. We dare not miss and understand this, for there are essentially two narratives that are found within the prophetic book of Jeremiah—the first being that of the warning of judgment and the sound and alarm of wrath, and the second being the fulfillment of that judgment and wrath. You cannot read the prophetic book of Jeremiah and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome reality that not only did Jeremiah warn and sound an alarm of judgment and wrath upon the land of Judah and the city of Jerusalem, but Jeremiah would also witness that wrath and judgment coming to pass. WARNING OF WRATH AND WITNESSING JUDGMENT! It is actually something quite unique and interesting to think about and consider the fact that within the prophetic book of Jeremiah we find the warning of judgment and wrath which would come upon the land of Judah and the city of Jerusalem, as well as the actually witnessing of that very judgment and wrath when it finally manifested itself in the midst of the land.
THE LORD DID EXACTLY WHAT HE SAID HE WOULD DO! THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE WERE WARNED ABOUT! If you turn and direct your attention to the third chapter of this prophetic book you will encounter the awesome and incredibly reality that Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah would write words which are essentially the crux and foundation of the entire book. There is not a doubt in my mind that when you come to the third chapter of this prophetic book you will essentially find the hinge upon which this book is found and built upon, for it highlights and underscores everything Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah had both warned of and witnessed. As you turn and direct your attention to the latter portion of the sixteenth verse, and then begin reading in the following verse you will find the following words written by the prophet Jeremiah in the wake and aftermath of judgment, calamity, devastation, wrath, destruction, and desolation: “…Certainly this is the day we looked for; we have found, we have seen it. The LORD hath done that which He had devised; He hath fulfilled His word that He had commanded in the days of old” (Lamentations 3:16-17). It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand the tremendous weight and significance of these words, for with these words Jeremiah makes a powerful statement concerning the judgment and wrath of the LORD—and not only concerning the judgment and wrath of the LORD, but also concerning that which the LORD has spoken in times past. Upon reading these words you are brought face to face with the truth that the day which the people had looked for they had found and they had seen it. This day which the prophet Jeremiah spoke about was a day in which the LORD had done that which He devised, and when He fulfilled that which He had commanded in the days of old. What makes this particular statement by the prophet Jeremiah so incredibly interesting is when you consider it in light of the words which the prophet Isaiah spoke decades and generations before Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah was even conceived within his mother’s womb. We don’t know when these words which Isaiah the son of Amoz spoke were actually spoken during the reign of the four kings in which he prophesied, but we do know that it would be during those years, and at some point, he would proclaim these words. It’s interesting and worth noting that more often than not we read and even quote these words, and upon doing so we focus entirely on that which the LORD would do within and among the lives of His people for their good, however, very rarely will we ever consider these words as being a powerful witness and testimony concerning the LORD’s fulfillment of anything He had spoken, and His ability to bring them to pass. With this thought in might, I invite you to consider the words which are found in the fifty-fifth chapter of the prophetic book of Isaiah beginning to read with the eighth verse?
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth. Forth out of my mouth: IT SHALL NOT RETURN UNTO ME VOID, BUT IT SHALL ACCOMPLISH THAT WHICH I PLEASE, AND IT SHALL PROSPER IN THE THING WHERETO I SENT IT” (Isaiah 55:8-11).
IT SHALL NOT RETURN UNTO ME VOID! IT SHALL ACCOMPLISH THAT WHICH I PLEASE! IT SHALL PROSPER IN THE THING WHERETO I SENT IT! It is important for us to pay close attention to the words which are found here, for as I have already mentioned—when we think about these words, we tend to think about them in light of how the LORD speaks blessing, prosperity, increase, fruitfulness, abundance, health, and so much more within and over our lives, and faithfully executes and brings it to pass. More often than not, however, we fail to recognize and understand that the truth that is contained within this passage of Scripture speaks to the awesome reality that the LORD is faithful to bring to pass that which He had spoken, and the LORD is faithful to bring to pass that which is found within His heart and mind. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this awesome reality, for what we find in the prophetic book of Lamentations is not only Jeremiah proclaiming how the LORD had fulfilled and brought to pass that which He had spoken by and through his mouth, but the LORD had also fulfilled and brought to pass that which He had spoken and prophesied during the days of the prophets and seers which had gone before Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah. What’s more, is that not only did the LORD bring to pass and fulfill that which was spoken of by the mouth of the prophets, but Jeremiah would also proclaim how the LORD brought to pass that which He had spoken in ancient times and in times of old. It is this reality that looks past and looks beyond the ancient Hebrew prophets and looks even further back unto the Law which was given unto and spoken by Moses. When Jeremiah speaks of and proclaims the awesome reality of the LORD fulfilling that which He had spoken, and when Jeremiah speaks of how the LORD brought to pass that which He had warned and spoken, he is also looking unto the words which Moses had spoken unto the people of Israel—not only that first generation which emerged from the slavery, bondage and oppression of the land of Egypt, but also that second generation which would succeed them and enter into the land of Canaan, which had been sworn unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Turning and directing your attention to the Old Testament books of Leviticus you will find that Moses not only set before the children of Israel blessing, but Moses would also set before the children of Israel curses—blessings if they faithfully obeyed the word and commandments of the LORD, and curses if they refused to obey and chose to rebel against the word and voice of the LORD. In fact, I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the twenty-sixth chapter of the Old Testament book of Leviticus, as well as the words which are spoken by Moses and found in the twenty-eighth chapter of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy. Upon reading these words, however, it is necessary that we read them through the lens of the LORD warning that second generation of their stubborn refusal to follow and obey His commands, and His promise to bring to pass all the curses which He had spoken and warned of should they choose to harden their hearts and turn away from the living God. Consider now the following words which are found within these two Old Testament books of the Law:
“But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; and if ye shall espies my statues, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. And I will est my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you. And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for y our sins. And I will read the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: and your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits. And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall e desolate. And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant: and when ye are gathered together within your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy. And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied. And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. And ye shall. Eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcasses upon the carcasses of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savour of your sweet odours. And I will bring the l and of desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall e desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies’ land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. As long as it Leigh desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. And upon them that are left alive of you I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth. And they shall fall one upon another, as it were before a sword, when none pursueth: and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies. And ye shall perish among the heathen,a new the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them” (Leviticus 26:14-39).
“But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou wettest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and unto thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me. The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou hast forsaken me. The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until He have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it. The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish. And thy heaven that is over thy head shall e brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed. The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them,a new flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. And thy carcase shall be meat unto all the fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away. The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed. The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart: and thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind grope throne in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee. Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another shall lie with her: thou shalt build an house, and thou shalt not dwell therein: thou shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof. Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not eat thereof: thine ass shall be violently taken away from before thy face, and it shall not be restored to thee: thy sheep shall be given unto thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue them. Thy sons and thy daughters shall e given unto another people, and thine eyes shall look, and fail with longing for them all the day long: and there shall be no might in thine hand. The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crush always: so that thou shalt be made for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. The LORD shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head. The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword, among all nations whither the LORD shall lead thee. Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it. Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit. Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity. All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume. The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall e the head, and thou shalt be the tail. Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded thee: and they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed forever. Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyful ness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things; therefore shalt thou s revelation thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want. Of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee. The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; a n action of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young: and he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee. And he shall siege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall siege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee. And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the LORD thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee: So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave: so that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates. The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, and toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates” (Deuteronomy 28:15-57).
“IF thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; then the LORD will make thy plagues wonderful, and the plagues of thy seed, even great plages, and of long continuance, and sore sickness, and of long continuance. Moreover He will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt, which thou wast afraid of; and they shall cleave unto thee. Also every sickness, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, them will the LORD bring upon thee, until thou be destroyed. And ye shall be left few in number whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou wouldest not obey the voice of the LORD thy God. And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it. And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, form the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: and thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: in the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! And at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! For the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see. And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwoman, and no man shall buy you” (Deuteronomy 28:58-68).
I fully realize and recognize that that was a lot of Scripture which was presented unto you, and it might seem a little overwhelming and overbearing, however, it is absolutely necessary to consider the words which are found in these two passages of Scripture, for they are intrinsically linked and connected to the words which Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah wrote in the poetic and prophetic book of Lamentations. In all reality, the words which Jeremiah presented in the Old Testament book of Lamentations is written from a place of the aftermath of the judgment of God, and in the wake of the wrath of God. You cannot read the book of Lamentations and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome reality that when Jeremiah wrote these words he did so from a place of living in the days when the judgment and wrath was over, and when there was nothing less but ruin and rubble. We cannot miss and lose sight of this truth—particularly and especially when you consider the words which are found in verses sixteen and seventeen of this Old Testament book—for not only do we find Jeremiah writing from a place of witnessing the LORD fulfill and carry out exactly what He said He would do through the words He prophesied and proclaimed, but Jeremiah would also be found in a place of witnessing that which the LORD had promised and warned through His servants the prophets, and more specifically His servant Moses. The words found in these two chapters bring us face to face with the warning which Moses presented unto two different generations of the children and people of Israel—the first of which was that generation which emerged and came out of the slavery, bondage and oppression of the land of Egypt, and the second would be that generation which would succeed them and actually enter into the land of Canaan. Moses warned that first generation of the tremendous dangers of refusing to hearken unto the voice and word of God, and turning their hearts and their backs away from Him by worshipping and serving other gods. What’s more, is the LORD told them even before they entered into the land what would happen if they refused to obey and hearken unto His voice. The LORD warned two distinct and two different generations of what would happen should they refuse to hearken and obey the voice of the LORD.
As I sit here today I can’t help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with the fact that centuries before the Hebrew prophets were raised up in the midst of the northern kingdom of Israel, as well as the southern kingdom of Judah, the LORD would speak through His servant Moses whom He entrusted to give His people the Law of heaven upon the earth, and in that Law the LORD warned two different generations concerning what would take place among them and within the land if they turned their backs on Him and chose to worship and serve other gods. Pause and think about the fact that for centuries the people of God had the book of the Law among them, and many would have undoubtedly been very much aware of the words which were contained within it. In fact, this is what makes the emergence and essentially the reappearance of the book of the Law during the days of Josiah so incredibly powerful and so incredibly unique, for it’s as if the LORD was calling the people to consider the book of the Law once more and to take to heart what was written therein. It would be during the days of Josiah king of Judah Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah would call the people of Jerusalem and Judah unto a place of repentance before the LORD, and when the book of the Law of Moses appeared once more—not only did Josiah recognize that the nation and kingdom was living under the wrath and judgment of the LORD, but he would have undoubtedly encountered and come face to face with the powerful reality that the nation and people of God were warned through Moses in the book of the Law. Oh, I can’t help but wonder what it must have been like for Josiah to hear these words which were written in the Old Testament book of Leviticus, and then again when he heard the words which were written in the book of Deuteronomy. Imagine Josiah king of Judah hearing the same sound of alarm and the same sound of warning which was again spoken by Moses unto a new generation which would actually enter into and inherit the land of Canaan. Stop and think about what Josiah must and would have thought when he heard the words of the warning which Moses the servant of the LORD spoke unto the people of Israel after they had emerged out of the slavery and bondage of Egypt, and even as they prepared to enter into the land which was sworn unto their ancestors.
In the third chapter of the book of Lamentations we find the prophet Jeremiah emphatically writing concerning that day in which they were living that it was the day they had looked for, and the day which they both found and saw. Moreover, Jeremiah would go on to write how the LORD had done that which He devised, and how the LORD fulfilled His word which He had commanded in the days of old. Please pay close and careful attention to those words “in the days of old,” for I am absolutely and completely convinced that what Jeremiah was speaking and referencing were the words which the LORD spoke through His servant Moses. In fact, if we are to truly understand the realm of the ministry of the prophetic we must recognize and understand that at the very heart of the words, the warnings, the alarm, and the trumpet the Hebrew prophets proclaimed unto the people of God was the Law which the LORD had given unto His servant Moses. That which the ancient Hebrew prophets did when the LORD sent them rising up early and speaking was reminding them of the Law which had been given unto and through Moses, and that which the LORD had spoken through His servant. We dare not and must not miss this truly remarkable and astonishing reality, for to do so would be to miss out on the awesome reality that what took place during the days of Jeremiah was not only a direct fulfillment of what he himself had prophesied for more than three decades, but also what the prophets which were before him prophesied, as well as that which Moses the servant of the LORD spoke and revealed during those forty years the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness. It would be there in the wilderness the children of Israel would receive and hear the Law of heaven and the Law of God as spoken and revealed through Moses the servant of the LORD, and it would be there in the wilderness that generation would hear the warnings should they choose not to hearken unto and obey the voice of the LORD their God and the words and commands which He had spoken. In fact, if you come to the Old Testament book of Judges you will find that as early as that first generation which would emerge in the land after the death of Joshua and those elders who out lived him did themselves die, the people of God would abandon, forsake, neglect, and ignore the voice of the LORD and His commands and statutes which He had spoken through His servant Moses. If and as you read the words which are found in the second chapter of this Old Testament book you will find that it didn’t take long at all for the people which dwelt in the midst of the land to forget the words which were written and spoken in the Law of the LORD, and to go after other gods and idols as they worshipped and served them. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the second chapter of this Old Testament book, which describes those first generations which would dwell in the land after Joshua and that generation had entered into and conquered much of the land which was before them:
“And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land. And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the LORD, that He did for Israel. And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash. And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which He had done for Israel. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORd, and served Baalim: and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and He delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. Whithersoever they went out, the hands of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had said, and as the LORD had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed. Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. And ye they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so. And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way. And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and He said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice; I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: that through them I might prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not. Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered He them into the hand of Joshua” (Judges 2:6-23).
The words which we find here in the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Judges reveals the tremendous fact that as early as that second generation which dwelt within and inhabited the land of Canaan the people would forsake the Law of the LORD their God, would go a whoring after other gods, and would refuse to hearken unto the voice of the LORD who brought their ancestors up out of Egypt. What’s so incredibly intriguing about this is when you think about and consider the fact that even in that generation the LORD would do exactly what He said He would do—namely, give them over into the hands of their enemies and allow their enemies to exercise dominion and authority over them. As early as that second generation in the midst of the land the LORD would give the people over into the hands of those that would spoil them—those that would plunder them, and those that would rise up against them and oppress them. It was true their ancestors just a couple generations earlier were oppressed in the land of Egypt, and were oppressed within that land for just over four-hundred years. The children of Israel would be delivered out of the slavery, the bondage and oppression of the taskmasters in the land of Egypt, and yet as early as that second generation the children of Israel would find themselves oppressed and afflicted—not by taskmasters in the land of Egypt, but by the nations which the LORD left within the land, and those round about. Nations such as Moab, Ammon, Syria, and Philistia would be permitted by the LORD to not only oppress the people of God, but also to spoil and plunder them according to the word of the LORD. It’s actually quite astonishing to think about and consider the fact that not only did all this happen and take place according to their iniquity and transgression before the LORD, but it would also take place as a direct result of that which the LORD had warned their ancestors, and those who had gone before them. What so amazes me is that you don’t even have to look beyond that second generation in the land of Canaan to see the people of God already forsaking the Law and voice of the LORD, refusing to heed His commands and statutes, and walking after, worshipping and serving other gods. You need look no further than this generation to encounter and come face to face with the truly tragic reality that it wouldn’t take long for the people of God to turn their hearts and their backs on the Law of the LORD their God, and from worshipping and serving Him wholly, fully and completely. That second generation would face and experience the direct fulfillment of that which the LORD had spoken by the mouth of His servant Moses—although it would not be to the full scope and magnitude as what took place during the days of Jehoiakim and Zedekiah when Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon and the full Babylonian army would lay siege to the city of Jerusalem.
As you read the Old Testament book of Lamentations there are essentially three themes that run through it—the first is that of the LORD allowing the enemies and adversaries to enter into the land and essentially wreak havoc within it; the second is that of the LORD Himself seeming and appearing as an enemy and adversary against the people; and the third is that of the enemies and adversaries whom Jeremiah spoke of rising up against him. You cannot read the words which are found within these chapters and not encounter this incredibly powerful theme which runs through the book, and in all reality, it’s quite astounding to consider just how much language is found within these five chapters concerning the LORD allowing the enemy and adversary to enter into and invade the land. Jeremiah would be overwhelmed and overcome with sorrow and anguish within the depths of his soul because the enemy and adversary had been given authority and dominion—not only over the land itself, and not only over the people of God, but also over the sanctuary and Temple of the LORD. The language that is found within this poetic and prophetic book is such that warrants strong consideration, for it lines up perfectly with the words which the psalmist recorded—not only in the seventy-fourth chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms, but also in the seventy-ninth chapter. You cannot read the words which are found in the book of Lamentations and not look back over the words which are found in these two chapters and see just how much the enemy and adversary was able to exercise their dominion, their authority, their might, their strength, and their power over the people of God, over the land given unto them, and over the sanctuary. I am convinced that in order to truly understand that which is found in this Old Testament poetic/prophetic book it is necessary to turn and direct your attention to the words which the palmist(s) wrote as their heart and their soul was broken up and anguished within them. The words you find in these two chapters in the book of the Psalms call and draw your attention to the tremendous weight and significance of what Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah lamented before the LORD, as Jeremiah not only lived in the days of the judgment and wrath of the LORD, and not only lived during the days of the enemies and adversaries of the people of God being given into the hands of their enemies, but also the devastation and destruction that was brought about within the land. With that in mind, I invite you to consider the following words found in these two chapters in the Old Testament poetic book of the Psalms:
“O God, why hast thou cast us off for ever? Why doth thine anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture? Remember thy congregation, which thou hast purchased of old; the rod of thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed; this mount Zion, wherein thou hast dwelt. Lift up thy feet unto the perpetual desolations; even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary. Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy congregations; they set up their ensigns for signs. A man was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees. But now they break down the carved work thereof at once with axes and hammers. They have cast fire into thy sanctuary, they have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of thy name to the ground. They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together: they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land. We see not our signs: there is no more any prophet: neither is there among us any that knoweth how long. O God, who long shall the adversary reproach? Shall the enemy blaspheme thy name for ever? Why withdrawest thou thy hand, even thy right hand? Pluck it out of thy bosom. For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth. Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. Thou brakest the heads of Leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness. Thou didst cleave the fountain and the flood: thou driedst up mighty rivers. The day is thine, the night also is thine: thou hast prepared the light and the sun. Thou hast set all the borders of the earth: thou hast made summer and winter. Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O LORD, and that the foolish people have blasphemed thy name. O deliver not the soul of thy turtle dove unto the multitude of the wicked: forget not the congregation of thy poor for ever” (Psalm 74:1-19).
“O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps. The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth. Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there was none to bury them. We are become a reproach to our neighbors, a scorn and derision to them that are found about us. How long, LORD? Wilt thou be angry for ever? Shall thy jealousy burn like fire? Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name. For they have devoured Jacob, and laid waste his dwelling place. O remember not against us former iniquities: Let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us: for we are brought very low. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake” Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God? Let him be known among the heathen in our sight by the reverting of the blood of thy servants which is shed. Let the sighing of the prisoner come before thee; according to the greatness of thy power preserve thou those that are appointed to die; and render unto our neighbors seven fold into their bosom their reproach, wherewith they have reproached thee, O LORD. So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations” (Psalm 79:1-13).
With each of these passages we find in the poetic book of the Psalms the same language that Jeremiah spoke before and in the presence of the LORD during the days of the judgment and wrath of the LORD. Within these two chapters we find a tremendous amount of language surrounding the enemies and adversaries of the LORD—and not only of the LORD, but also of the people of God—and how the enemies and adversaries had been able to enter into and invade the inheritance of the people of God. It is necessary that we recognize and understand this—particularly when reading the prophetic/poetic book of Lamentations—for within the book of Lamentations we find Jeremiah not only living in the days of the judgment and wrath of the living God, but also during the days of the enemy reproaching and the enemy devastating the inheritance of the people of God. As surely and as much as the days which Jeremiah was living were days of the judgment and wrath of the LORD, they were also days of the enemy and adversary, as not only were the people of God powerless before their enemies, but their enemies were able to invade the land, lay siege to the city of Jerusalem, capture the defenced cities within the land, take the people of God into captivity in the land of the Chaldeans, as well as destroy the Temple and sanctuary of the living God. Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah not only prophesied concerning the days when the enemy and adversary would march against the holy city of Jerusalem, but he would also witness the direct fulfillment of the enemy and adversary. Jeremiah would witness the enemy and adversary outside the wall of the city of Jerusalem, would witness the enemy and adversary entering into the city, and would even see the face of Nebuzar-Adan the captain of the guard. Surely those days during the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah were dark and dangerous days as the enemy and adversary was permitted to exercise their dominion and their authority over the inheritance of the people of God, and were able to carry that which was sacred and holy away into the land of the Chaldeans. How incredibly telling it is to think about and consider the fact that not only were the treasures of the house of the LORD carried away by the enemy and adversary, but so also were the people themselves carried away captive into that land. When the enemy and adversary came in like a raging flood and a consuming fire it would leave nothing but a trail or rubble, ruin, devastation and destruction behind them. The enemy and adversary would come swiftly into the land, would surround the holy city of Jerusalem where He had put His holy name, and would ultimately break through the walls and gates, burn them with fire, and utterly destroy the house of the LORD together with the houses of all the prominent men in the land.
The more I think about the words and language that is found in the prophetic book of Lamentations the more I can’t help but be captivated by the tremendous amount of language that is used to describe the presence of the enemy and adversary within the land. Not only does Jeremiah lament, weep and mourn over the advance of the enemy and adversary, but Jeremiah also laments over that which the enemy had been permitted and allowed to do within the land. What makes this truly astonishing to think about is when you consider how the LORD let happen exactly what He warned would happen through His servant Moses. Through. Moses the LORD declared that the people would be powerless to stand before and against their enemies, and through Moses the LORD declared that as a direct result of their stubborn refusal to hearken unto the voice of the LORD, as well as their deliberate and conscious choice to go a whoring after false gods and idols, He would bring against them enemies who would plunder and spoil them. What’s more, is not only would these enemies plunder and spoil them, and not only would they oppress them, but the LORD warned of an even greater enemy and adversary who would essentially be given cart Blanche over the people of God and over the land. The LORD would not only turn over the people into the hands of the enemy, but the LORD would also turn over all their good and pleasant things as well. As if this weren’t enough the LORD would allow His holy sanctuary to be defiled, polluted, devastated and consumed with fire to the point where there would only be rubble and ashes that would remain. Stop for a moment and think about what such a scenario would have been like for Jeremiah to walk through, as that which he had spent more than three decades prophesying about would actually come to pass. Imagine being Jeremiah being loosed from the court of the prison in the king’s house and being allowed to move freely during the days when the judgment and wrath was no longer at the door and on the horizon, but actually in the land, and within the city of Jerusalem. I can’t help but wonder what it was like for Jeremiah to be loosed from the chains which bound him in the court of the prison in the king’s house, and when he was allowed to survey the damage, the devastation and destruction that swept through the land. LIVING THROUGH WRATH, WALKING THROUGH WRECKAGE! LIVING THROUGH WRATH, WALKING IN WRECKAGE! Jeremiah had spent several years warning of the judgment and calamity that would come upon the city, and what we find here within the prophetic book of Lamentations is a powerful picture of Jeremiah walking through and walking in the midst of the aftermath of what he had prophesied concerning. Jeremiah had warned of wrath and judgment, and here we find Jeremiah actually weeping, mourning and lamenting over the devastation and destruction that had swept through the city. With that in mind, consider if you will the words which are found within this Old Testament book concerning the presence of the enemies and adversaries, and their being given authority and dominion within the land:
“All her friends. Have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies”
“She dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits”
“Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper; for the LORD hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her children are gone into captivity before the enemy”
“When her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help h ear: the adversaries saw her, and dI mock at her sabbaths”
“O LORD, behold my affliction: for the e enemy hath magnified himself. The adversary hath spread out his hand upon all her pleasant things: for she hath seen that the heathen entered into her s anctuary, whom thou didst command that they should not enter into thy congregation”
“The LORD hath commanded concerning Jacob, that his adversaries should be round about him: Jerusalem is as a monstrous woman among them”
“The LORD hath cast off his altar, he hath abhorred his sanctuary, he hath given up into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces; they have mad e a noise in the house of the LORD, as in the day of a solemn feast”
“All thine enemies have opened their mouth against thee: they hiss and gnash the teeth: they say, We have swallowed her up”
Each of these passages which are all found within this prophetic book point to the tremendous influence and impact the enemy and adversary was given within the land, and over the people of God. Jeremiah was loosed from the court of the prison, and he was able to move freely in the midst of the city of Jerusalem, and in the midst of the land, and he had seen just what the enemies and adversaries of the LORD and His people had done. Jeremiah found himself. In a position and place where he was completely and utterly overwhelmed with the devastation and destruction the enemy had wrought in the midst of the land. Imagine being Jeremiah and not only seeing the aftermath of the wrath and judgment of the LORD, but also witnessing just how much devastation and destruction the enemy had actually wrought in the midst of the land. Jeremiah moved freely in the midst of the land and saw how the LORD had given His heritage and His people over into the hands of the enemy, and over into the hands of the adversary. What we find within this Old Testament book is not only enemies and adversaries which rose up against the people of God, but also enemies and adversaries which rose up against Jeremiah—a reality which Jeremiah had known for much of his time walking faithfully before the LORD as His holy prophet. THE DAY OF THE ENEMY! THE DAY OF THE ADVERSARY! In all reality, the prophetic book of Lamentations can most readily be described as sorrow and anguish in the midst of the enemy and adversary who had been present within the land. Scripture speaks a lot about the day of the LORD, and yet when I read the words found in this book I can’t help but think about and consider it in light of Jeremiah living in the midst of “the day of the enemy” and “the day of the adversary.” In all reality we witnessed something like nearly twenty years ago when terrorists hijacked two planes and crashed each one into one of the buildings of the World Trade Center. Most of us who are alive right now lived during those days when the enemy and adversary had invaded our land and had brought down our symbol of financial prosperity, wealth, and material possessions. What’s more, is the enemy and adversary also crashed a plane into the Pentagon which was and still is the symbol of our military might within the land. We remember living during those days when the enemy and adversary was given access to our nation and our country, and when we watched in stunned horror as the enemy not only struck symbols of our might and strength, but also caused the land to be filled with much ruin and much rubble. We dare not miss and lose sight of this, for it shines a great deal of light on to what Jeremiah faced during those days when not only had the enemy and adversary invaded the lands, but the enemy and adversary also wrought devastation and destruction upon the land.
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely incredible to think about and consider the fact that we are undoubtedly living during the days when it appears that enemies and adversaries are not only present within and throughout the land, but have also been wreaking havoc in the midst of the land. Although we are almost twenty years removed from the attacks and events of September 11th we cannot ignore, nor can we deny the fact that we are living in, and have been living in days when the enemy and adversary has been allowed to exercise dominion and authority in the midst of the land. What we saw and witnessed almost twenty years was a manifestation of a physical and earthly enemy which was permitted to touch and cripple our nation for a time, however, this nation has been crippled and paralyzed by unseen enemies and adversaries for years now. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this reality, for to do so would be to miss out on the awesome reality of what is found in the book of Lamentations. In all reality, I am absolutely convinced that there is a great need within this generation for men and women who are willing to be broken over the devastation and no destruction of the enemy and adversary within and upon the land. Just as Jeremiah was anguished and sorrowful over the presence of the enemy in the midst of the land, and the enemy’s ability to exercise dominion and authority over the land, over the people, and over the sanctuary, so too must we discern the presence and activity of the enemy, weep and mourn over it, and cry out in anguish and mourning over it. The question we must ask ourselves is who among us is willing to stand in the gap and make up the hedge, and who among us is willing to weep and mourn and give ourselves over to tears in this generation? Who among us is truly willing to give ourselves to weeping between the porch and the altar, and who among us is willing to fast and weep and mourn before and in the presence of the living God. We are undoubtedly living during the days of the enemy and adversary, and the enemy and adversary has been permitted to invade, devastate, destroy, steal, kill, and utterly wreak havoc in the midst of the land, in the midst of our homes, in the midst of our families, in the midst of our churches, and in the midst of our lives. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this reality, for the entire prophetic book of Lamentations is a call to anguish and a call to sorrow in the midst of the land, and we must not only see it as such, but also allow ourselves to discern that which is found within our own land, and respond between the porch and the altar with fasting, with weeping, with mourning, with anguish, and with sorrow as we cry out to the LORD for mercy knowing that judgment and wrath has been poured out and has yet to be poured out in the midst of and upon this land—yea, even the whole earth.