Truth 1: The judgment can first be seen in the YOUTH (the resource of the future – 4:1-10). The generation of the youth were thrown to the dogs in successive stages, and should have been an adequate warning to the society to change!
Their value is diminished in society (4:1-2)
Lamentations 4:1 How dark the gold has become, How the pure gold has changed! The sacred stones are poured out – At the corner of every street. 2 The precious sons of Zion, Weighed against fine gold, How they are regarded as earthen jars, The work of a potter’s hands!
Normal bonds of caring wane (4:3-5)
Lamentations 4:3 Even jackals offer the breast, They nurse their young; But the daughter of my people has become cruel – Like ostriches in the wilderness. 4 The tongue of the infant cleaves to the roof of its mouth because of thirst; The little ones ask for bread, But no one breaks it for them.
Once protected without, they were destroyed from within (4:5-6)
Lamentations 4:5 Those who ate delicacies are desolate in the streets; Those reared in purple Embrace ash pits. 6 For the iniquity of the daughter of my people Is greater than the sin of Sodom, Which was overthrown as in a moment, And no hands were turned toward her.
They showed on their bodies the signs of devastation (4:7-9)
Lamentations 4:7 Her consecrated ones were purer than snow, They were whiter than milk; They were more ruddy in body than corals, Their polishing was like lapis lazuli. 8 Their appearance is blacker than soot, They are not recognized in the streets; Their skin is shriveled on their bones, It is withered, it has become like wood. 9 Better are those slain with the sword Than those slain with hunger; For they pine away, being stricken for lack of the fruits of the field.
Parents used them up for their own purposes (4:10)
Lamentations 4:10 The hands of compassionate women Boiled their own children; They became food for them Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people.
How sad, but the idea that parents would use their children for themselves is not new! Look around our society. We have the freedom to treat marriage like we used to treat dating, but the generation of children coming up should show us that such disregard to the covenant of marriage will undo us!
Truth 2: Not all judgment is FUTURE (4:11). Some judgment is playing out NOW in consequence. God has purposes to allow consequences of sin to be part of the judgment process. Those consequences are part of the down payment to justice.
Lamentations 4:11 The LORD has accomplished His wrath, He has poured out His fierce anger; And He has kindled a fire in Zion – Which has consumed its foundations.
Perhaps we think that God will let everything go now, and judge in the life to come – that isn’t Biblical. The consequences in our society today are PART of the beginnings of judgment. God’s loving justice requires that someone answer for the unjust behaviors that flourished.
Truth 3: The world was taken by surprise that God acted in this way (4:12). The confidence of the hollow believers was infectious, and others believed they were impervious and would last – but they were all proven wrong.
Lamentation 4:12 The kings of the earth did not believe, Nor did any of the inhabitants of the world, That the adversary and the enemy Could enter the gates of Jerusalem.
We wrap the truth of God’s power in the cloak that He will allow us the luxury of acting irresponsibly, and He made no such promise!
Truth 4: The problem began in spiritual leadership (4:13-16). It was SIN among the teachers of truth that began the problem. They offered false sacrifice in sinfulness, until God stripped them of their spiritual insights. When they understood it, they proclaimed their wretchedness and the outreach shriveled – and the Lord set their work aside.
Lamentations 4:13 Because of the sins of her prophets And the iniquities of her priests, Who have shed in her midst the blood of the righteous; 14 They wandered, blind, in the streets; They were defiled with blood So that no one could touch their garments. 15 “Depart! Unclean!” they cried of themselves. “Depart, depart, do not touch!” So they fled and wandered; Men among the nations said, “They shall not continue to dwell with us.” 16 The presence of the LORD has scattered them, He will not continue to regard them; They did not honor the priests (they did not honor the priesthood), They did not favor the elders (they did not favor the eldership).
Those who know and teach God’s Word must first pause and look within. Those who teach the youth of the nation are often the first to lay aside truth. Trouble starts in the teacher, and then infects the student.
Truth 5: We looked in the wrong direction for salvation! (4:17). It may mean we looked to another NATION rather than REPENTANCE. The second reading also makes sense – that we looked to our national heritage to save us, and not to the Lord!
Lamentations 4:17 Yet our eyes failed, Looking for help was useless; In our watching we have watched For a nation that could not save.
How many are looking for salvation from our FLAG our PARTIES and our GOVERNMENT? The answer has always been in a walk with God.
Truth 6: Our end came SWIFTLY as our enemies rallied (4:18-20). There is an illusion in history that all things will continue – but it is an illusion. The end can collapse swiftly, and will always be a surprise to most. God’s people will suffer along with the rest, but they must take God with them – not forsake Him!
Lamentations 4:18 They hunted our steps So that we could not walk in our streets; Our end drew near, Our days were finished For our end had come. 19 Our pursuers were swifter Than the eagles of the sky; They chased us on the mountains, They waited in ambush for us in the wilderness. 20 The breath of our nostrils, the LORD’S anointed, Was captured in their pits, Of whom we had said, “Under his shadow We shall live among the nations.”
Most people won’t believe judgment will happen until it DOES happen. That is why they continue to text while driving, “manage” their porn addiction or keep feeding bad behaviors.
Truth 7: Those who gaze at our judgment will live to see their own (4:21-22). Judgment begins with the house of God, but uit does not end there. It may begin with one nation, but all will eventually face judgment. One should be a warning to another!
Lamentation 4: 21 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, Who dwells in the land of Uz; But the cup will come around to you as well, You will become drunk and make yourself naked. 22 The punishment of your iniquity has been completed, O daughter of Zion; He will exile you no longer. But He will punish your iniquity, O daughter of Edom; He will expose your sins!
Part of the purpose of incremental judgment is GRACIOUS WARNING! When a nation begins to see its youth slipping away, when bonds of family are being loosened, they should pause and pull back. To keep going forward with the “liberating policies” that are pulling them ever downward is to ignore the warning signs!