Weekly Devotionals

Week of Monday, March 15 ­– Sunday, March 21
Justice Served – Man as Instructor

Jerusalem remembers in the days of her affliction and wandering all the precious things that were hers from days of old. When her people fell into the hand of the foe, and there was none to help her, her foes gloated over her; they mocked at her downfall… Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, which was brought upon me, which the Lord inflicted on the day of his fierce anger. – Lamentations 1:7,12 ESV

Remember the good old days? You know, back when you could leave your doors unlocked. Back when a handshake and a man’s word was all you needed. Back when you could turn on the TV and everything was G-rated. Back when people were neighborly and were, for the most part, united on God and country and a certain standard of morality. Well, I realize that I am older than most of you so just believe me that there was a time in America when all this was part of our society in most places. In those days, America was looked upon with envy and national pride was the norm. And now? Well, now things are much different. While we have made some progress on racial equality in my lifetime, most of our “progress” has been in the wrong direction as a nation. The moral and spiritual decline is sad to see.

The message of Lamentations shares a similar kind of recognition of personal and national loss. Gone were the “days of old” wrote Jeremiah as he watched his city as well as the people of God reach a low point in their storied history. They, who had once been looked upon with honor, were now being mocked. Remember how the Babylonians invaded, the city of Jerusalem was besieged, then the temple, palace, and city were all burned, and most of the population was carried off as refugees into captivity? So Jeremiah takes up a lament. Now it would have been all too easy to moan and complain about their present circumstances and miss the point. Yet Jeremiah recognized in v. 12 that they were suffering from God’s judgment and the root cause was their sin: “the Lord has afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions” (v. 5).

As Jeremiah did, we must recognize that our sin is the culprit. Sometimes we watch with a similar lament at the culture’s alarming free-fall into immorality and the resultant suffering around us and wonder “where is God’s justice?” As Instructors, it is imperative to remind those in our charge that God is indeed a God of justice. Consequently, we can know that eventually everything will be put in its right place and everyone given what they deserve. But the darker side of that reality is that “everyone” includes you and me. Since God is a God of justice, He will do more than deal with the wicked and unjust circumstances we see around us. He must also deal with us as rebels who deserve His wrath.

Throughout the Book of Lamentations, the prophet Jeremiah addresses the painful reality of sin in the light of God’s justice. Against this backdrop we can see the significance of what God has done for us through Christ. Where sin leads to destruction, both personally and as a people, Jesus is able to restore and renew in response to our repentance. It’s only when we see the rightness of God’s wrath that we see the true greatness of His love, His grace, and His mercy demonstrated to us in the cross of Christ. So when your tribe moans and complains about how the world is going to hell around us, remind them that God is a Righteous Judge and Jesus is our Gracious Redeemer.

  • What circumstances of the world around you do you tend to lament instead of the spiritual condition of the people who are in the snare of Satan? Why?
  • Why is it important that we be mindful of God’s justice as we seek to advance His kingdom in these dark and difficult times?
  • Thank God that He is a God of justice and for the promise that He will one day right every wrong. Ask Him to help you deeply feel the rightness of judgment so that you might know the true greatness of His grace. Ask God for a heart of repentance and gratefulness for His unending mercy.