Day 3 of a three-day reflection
Read Lamentations 4 – 5
Lamentations 4: 17 As for us, our eyes as yet failed for our vain help: in our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save us.
These are not happy chapters. They describe a nation gone awry – away from God. They tell of a nation’s destruction and sorrow. Famine and death are rampant – even for the seemingly innocent. Israel had removed itself from God’s influence and care, and now they were suffering the devastating effects of the enemy’s control.
This tale does not end well.
The Message for Today
When we stray from God’s way, we bring on ourselves the consequences of sin. We choose to live outside God’s sheltering and open ourselves to all the wiles of the enemy. It seems worse for those, like the Israelites, who know God, because they can see what they are missing; they can see what they have lost.
One of the most devastating results of sin is the loss of joy. Nehemiah tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Sin snuffs out joy.
Evidence of this screams from every newscast and from every street corner. Our world has lost joy. We frantically try to recreate it on our own through frenzied activity, death-defying thrills, medications, self-help books, and fantasy relationships. But we fail. Even though we continue to up the ante of our efforts, we are left with broken hearts, damaged lives, and depressed souls. Finally, if or when we realize the error of our ways, we are so broken we believe that God cannot save us. We believe that there is no hope even though we read of His promises in Lamentations 3. Sin keeps us from the reality of God’s joy, from the reality of God’s great love.
God is the author of joy. He offers it freely in relationship with Himself, but He warns that it cannot survive as a companion to sin. The loss of joy as described in Lamentations 5:15 is the result of our turning from the God Who loves us.
Lamentations 5: 15 The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning. 16 The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned! 17 For this our heart is faint; for these things our eyes are dim.
The good news is that His mercies are new every morning.
In the life of a Christian, God’s joy lives in spite of circumstances. It bubbles up in a heart fixed on God. Contentment and peace are its companions, and quietness provides fertile ground for its growth.
We are not immune to the destruction in a world bent on its own way, but God’s grace sustains us through the trials and tribulations (verse 19).
Father, How often I reach for the baubles of this world while ignoring the jewels of Your presence. Guard my eyes, my mind, and my heart as I find true joy in You.
Photo – End of Day, Beth Mims