Take a look around and consider how you are taking care of the children. Are you like a wolf who takes care of her young? Are you like an ostrich who is cruel to her young? Do you realize what God wants? He desires that we take care of the orphans and widows while at the same time we keep ourselves from becoming polluted! Let’s turn to Jesus who is the answer! It’s not Jesus plus our good works for that would mean His death on the cross was not enough, but it was enough! It’s not about a performance based religion! It’s not about a striving based religion! It’s about an abiding in Him based religion! It’s about a living relationship with Jesus each and every day! Let’s walk with Him! Let’s walk in obedience to His will and His calling and His commandment upon our lives! Not because we need to be good enough, but because we want to show His love through us to the world around us! Let’s not grow weary in doing good work! It’s not easy, which is why we are told:
- He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
- In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
- Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Today’s Word continues in Lamentations about what has happened, but let us not forget and let us remember what we are to do before it is too late!
Jerusalem after Its Fall1Our glittering gold has grown dull; the stones of the Temple lie scattered in the streets. 2Zion’s young people were as precious to us as gold, but now they are treated like common clay pots. 3Even a mother wolf will nurse her cubs, but my people are like ostriches, cruel to their young. 4They let their babies die of hunger and thirst; children are begging for food that no one will give them. 5People who once ate the finest foods die starving in the streets; those raised in luxury are pawing through garbage for food. 6 My people have been punished even more than the inhabitants of Sodom, which met a sudden downfall at the hands of God. 7Our princes were undefiled and pure as snow, vigorous and strong, glowing with health. 8Now they lie unknown in the streets, their faces blackened in death; their skin, dry as wood, has shriveled on their bones. 9Those who died in the war were better off than those who died later, who starved slowly to death, with no food to keep them alive. 10 The disaster that came to my people brought horror; loving mothers boiled their own children for food. 11The Lord turned loose the full force of his fury; he lit a fire in Zion that burned it to the ground. 12No one anywhere, not even rulers of foreign nations, believed that any invader could enter Jerusalem’s gates. 13But it happened, because her prophets sinned and her priests were guilty of causing the death of innocent people. 14Her leaders wandered through the streets as though blind, so stained with blood that no one would touch them. 15“Get away!” people shouted. “You’re defiled! Don’t touch me!” So they wandered from nation to nation, welcomed by no one. 16The Lord had no more concern for them; he scattered them himself. He showed no regard for our priests and leaders. 17For help that never came, we looked until we could look no longer. We kept waiting for help from a nation that had none to give. 18The enemy was watching for us; we could not even walk in the streets. Our days were over; the end had come. 19Swifter than eagles swooping from the sky, they chased us down. They tracked us down in the hills; they took us by surprise in the desert. 20They captured the source of our life, the king the Lord had chosen, the one we had trusted to protect us from every invader. 21Laugh on, people of Edom and Uz; be glad while you can. Your disaster is coming too; you too will stagger naked in shame. 22Zion has paid for her sin; the Lord will not keep us in exile any longer. But Edom, the Lord will punish you; he will expose your guilty acts.–from Lamentations 4
A Prayer for Mercy1Remember, O Lord, what has happened to us. Look at us, and see our disgrace. 2Our property is in the hands of strangers; foreigners are living in our homes. 3Our fathers have been killed by the enemy, and now our mothers are widows. 4We must pay for the water we drink; we must buy the wood we need for fuel. 5Driven hard like donkeys or camels, we are tired, but are allowed no rest. 6To get food enough to stay alive, we went begging to Egypt and Assyria. 7Our ancestors sinned, but now they are gone, and we are suffering for their sins. 8Our rulers are no better than slaves, and no one can save us from their power. 9Murderers roam through the countryside; we risk our lives when we look for food. 10Hunger has made us burn with fever until our skin is as hot as an oven. 11Our wives have been raped on Mount Zion itself; in every Judean village our daughters have been forced to submit. 12Our leaders have been taken and hanged; our elders are shown no respect. 13Our young men are forced to grind grain like slaves; boys go staggering under heavy loads of wood. 14The old people no longer sit at the city gate, and the young people no longer make music. 15Happiness has gone out of our lives; grief has taken the place of our dances. 16Nothing is left of all we were proud of. We sinned, and now we are doomed. 17We are sick at our very hearts and can hardly see through our tears, 18because Mount Zion lies lonely and deserted, and wild jackals prowl through its ruins. 19But you, O Lord, are king forever and will rule to the end of time. 20Why have you abandoned us so long? Will you ever remember us again? 21Bring us back to you, Lord! Bring us back! Restore our ancient glory. 22Or have you rejected us forever? Is there no limit to your anger?–from Lamentations 5