Hitting Rock Bottom

Today’s Passage – Lamentations 4 – 5 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text)

(Second Milers also read – 1 Corinthians 13 – 16; Psalms 146 – 150; Proverbs 30)

“They that did feed delicately are desolate in the streets: they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills.” – (Lamentations 4:5)

“The hands of the pitiful women have sodden {means – boiled} their own children: they were their meat in the destruction of the daughter of my people.” – (Lamentations 4:10)

My dad once told me that people need to hit “rock bottom” before they can start climbing back up. Such was the cas for the nation of Judah (Israel) in the passage that we read today. The Book of Lamentations is a very sad passage of Scripture. In these last two chapters of the book we see the end result of a nation that turns its back on the Lord. Israel was once the crowned jewel of all of the earth. At one point in their history they had experienced the marvelous blessing of God, with all of the provision and protection that came along with it. What happened? Slowly, they began to think that their prosperity was not a result of the favor that God had bestowed upon them. Instead, in their pride, they believed that all of the good things that had come their way were the result of their own works and wisdom. God was gradually pushed out of their minds; and as God was slowly losing His preeminence in their eyes, sin began to move in. At first it was very small and subtle, but eventually the nation became engulfed in full-scale immorality and idolatry.

Surprisingly, God did not bring about judgment immediately. He lovingly and patiently pleaded with the people, warning them about the eventual consequences of their actions. At some points in their history, the people even heeded the warnings, and turned back to the Lord, at least temporarily, and managed to postpone the judgment. Eventually, however, God’s patience ran out and the judgment that they long deserved came. These chapters in Lamentation portray a vivid picture of the payment that will eventually come upon any people that turn their back on God. What a shame!

I wonder how long it will be before God’s patience runs out on America. We have certainly been turning our back on the Lord for the past several decades. We’ve removed God from our schools and government. We murder innocent babies by the millions. We have thrown the towel in on decency and morality. We have become consumed with material things, and have forsaken the things that really matter. God cannot be pleased with this once godly nation. In recent years we have seen a number of natural and un-natural disasters that have hit our nation and our world. Were these events just natural occurrences or isolated coincidences, or is God trying to get our attention? I can’t answer that question definitively; but I do know that God allowed all of these events and may have even caused the natural ones, and He could have prevented them. I think that it is very likely that we will see more of the same in the future. I don’t think our economy will get much better, either. Things are getting rough out there. The prosperity and protection that we experienced for years is vanishing away. The only hope that we have is in turning back to God.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” – (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Sometimes when we think about passages like these we think only of the lost world around us. In our mind we blame the situation that our country is in on the unbelievers out there; but according to the verse above both the blame and the solution rest in the hands of God’s people. If “my people” didn’t get away from God in the first place then we wouldn’t have to get back to God today. Our churches and our families are gradually, slowly, subtly, and almost unconsciously moving away from the Lord. We need to repent, and revive, and radically move back to where we once were. How about you? Are you as close to the Lord now as you used to be at some point in your past. Do you allow things into your life and home now that you once wouldn’t even think of? How is your devotional life: your Bible reading and prayer time. Have you quietly slipped away in your personal relationship with God? These are hard questions, but we must give them some serious thought. Our flesh will rebel against the effort. It never wants to admit failure, but we must carefully and prayerfully take inventory of our spiritual lives. I want the blessings of God on my life, my ministry, my family, my church, and my nation. I’d be willing to bet that you do to. God hasn’t moved – we have. We need get back to where He is.

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