-The completion of God’s anger towards His rebellious house is ghastly portrayed in this fourth chapter. The scene of destruction almost overwhelms us when we consider the suffering of little ones with no food to eat and mothers who have become cannibals (Lamentations 4:4, 10). Their sin is called “greater than the sin of Sodom, which was overthrown as in a moment (Lamentations 4:6).” What was and what has become is the topic of discussion as the chapter elaborates on the scene of God’s suffering people. Pure white snow-like individuals are now “blacker than soot” with shriveled skin on their bones. They have withered like wood and are slain with hunger. The slaying sword is said to have been a better plight. “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 (Lamentations 4:7-11).” This overtaking seemed unbelievable even to the kings of the earth, but the gates of Jerusalem were entered and all was taken by force (Lamentations 4:12). Why did the unthinkable happen? Because of the sins of Israel’s prophets and the iniquities of her priests. They shed the blood of the righteous with wicked violence themselves. They wandered, blind, in the streets; they were defiled with blood so that no one could touch their garments (Lamentations 4:13-14). As priests and prophets of Israel they should have been the most consecrated and holy, but they did much evil and were defiled before the LORD despite their ritualistic show. Their example greatly led their people astray in God’s country. This lead to the downfall of the nation and the capture of Jerusalem, the once proud and blessed city. Now they were to be scattered among the nations and not even received there, far from the presence of the LORD. They trusted in that which could not save. Their end drew near, their days were finished, their end had come, their pursuers were swifter than the eagles of the sky, and they were chased on the mountains and in the wilderness. They were captured in their pits trusting in a king, King Zedekiah, who neglected the true prophecy of Jeremiah but listened to the false oracles of evil men (Lamentations 4:15-20).
-Edom is lambasted in the final two verses of this text. They get sarcastic derision and predictions of coming judgment from the true prophet as they have deserved because of their own iniquity and sin, which has made them drunk and naked. They had conspired with Nebuchadnezzar to overtake Judah in supreme treachery. God was certainly not pleased with Edom. Meanwhile, God’s just punishment of Zion is now completed according to the genuine prophetic word, and they are promised a return from their exile (Lamentation 4:21-22).
-*Application* We should be careful to heed historical lessons as to following after false gods and idols in times of prosperity. While things seem to be going fine, in an instant God can sweep in with His judgment upon those who are self-righteous and have no need for Him in their own pride and arrogance. Again, we see that the effects are devastating upon all involved. Stay tuned in to the LORD and His mercies with humble reverence. Also, notice that leadership in a nation is key. Israel fell because of corrupt governance in kings, priests, and prophets. In our democratic-republic of the United States, we have the right and privilege to elect our leadership. So we the people will either bear the brunt of our own bad or uninformed decisions, or reap the reward for electing to office Godly individuals to run our nation. The onus really is on us.
Verses to Memorize: Lamentations 4:11, 13