Have you read Lamentations lately? Ever? It’s a small book with dark content, and it is tucked away between Jeremiah and Ezekiel. So, it’s not likely regular reading for the average Christian. But it should be. There are many reasons why we should read the book of Lamentations (regularly). One reason is that it helps us to speak candidly about sin and suffering.

Lamentations was probably penned by the prophet Jeremiah after the Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and expresses the hurt of the immense suffering God’s people experienced and the hope of salvation that He held out to them. Sadly, it is one of the most neglected book in the Bible today (because of its age and dark content), and yet Lamentations is a book for today because, let’s face it, we live in a world marred by sin, suffering, and death. And so, if we have eyes to see and ears to hear, the book of Lamentations is a big help to us in that it exposes the true end of sin for what it is. You don’t have to wonder what the outcome of a life committed to sinning will be: Lamentations forces you to take a long and hard look at it.

In just the first three verses alone, we see the outcome of a life of sin. There are three notable metaphors given to depict Jerusalem’s pitiable condition (Lamentations 1:1)—three great reversals that have been brought upon her. The bustling city has become desolate, the great nation has become poor, and the princess has become a slave.

There is a horrific reality that the Poet requires us to grapple with here. The one whose fortunes had previously been fullness, greatness, and grandeur has been reduced to the empty isolation of slavery. This is the ultimate effect of sin on the world. Sin offers fullness, greatness, and power but delivers emptiness, loneliness, and slavery.

Beware of the consequences of sin, and also remember that for those who have looked to the Sufferer of sufferers—the Lord Jesus Christ—there is no wrath to fear. Click To Tweet

So, ask yourself this question: With what sin are you flirting and believing its lies? Into which schemes of sin are you most prone to fall prey? Think about it. Hold it in your mind. Own it. Don’t hide, don’t cast your mind elsewhere. Think of the sin (or sins) that you find most tempting. It’s unpleasant, isn’t it? Hold that thought; we will come back to it.

In Lamentations 1:2, we see the agonizing response of the city. She weeps bitterly in the night with tears on her cheeks. And here, we see even more reversals. She lies alone (though surrounded), comfortless, and at enmity with those she once called “friend.”

The woman sits alone even while among “all her lovers.” Adultery is a metaphor often used to depict idolatry. Put another way: Idolatry is spiritual adultery. Consider what we read in Jeremiah 2:2-3, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.” God had married his people, and yet they “had forgotten God days without number” (Jeremiah 2:32). She had turned from the Lord, forgetting her bridal attire, chasing after other lovers, and so ends up widowed, surrounded by merciless “lovers” who refuse to comfort her.

Think again, therefore, on the sin that clings so closely to you; are you prepared to weep bitterly at the destruction it shall bring upon you? Are you prepared to lay among your sins with none to comfort you, completely alone? Are you prepared for the heartache that shall come when these things with which you are so amicable desert you?

Lamentations unmasks sin for us, showing us its bitter end, which brings us to an important closing point. Beware of the consequences of sin, and also remember that for those who have looked to the Sufferer of sufferers—the Lord Jesus Christ—there is no wrath to fear. You will suffer in this life, and things may get really bad—even unbearable. But you shall not receive an ounce of the wrath of God.

Why? Because Jesus bore it for you. Jesus, surrounded by the crowds, died alone. Jesus, king of the world, died as a slave. Jesus wept over Lazarus, over Jerusalem, and in the garden. On the cross, Jesus was comforted by none, and his closest Friend—His Father in heaven—turned His face away. Jesus was exiled on the cross, was denied rest for which He longed, and was overtaken by those who pursued Him.

The experience of OT Israel heading into, during, and leaving exile is but a foreshadowing of the experience of Christ on the cross and his resurrection. And for God’s people—for all who put their trust in Messiah—we are brought into the new creation, brought about by the death and resurrection of Christ. And so, are you stricken by sin? There is hope. Look up. Look to Jesus Christ, who died for sinners like you.

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