God’s Punishment For Jerusalem’s Sin

Once, when Mr. LaGuardia, the famous ex-mayor of New York, was presiding at a police court, they brought a trembling old man before him charged with stealing a loaf of bread. He said his family was starving. “Well, I’ve got to punish you,” said Mr. LaGuardia. “The … More

Famine

Jerusalem’s judgment is brought into sharp focus by comparing her present condition with that before the fall. Jeremiah makes a contrast of the happy conditions of former days with the present devastation of Jerusalem.

First the fate of the city is described; then the prophet gives the reasons for the unbelievable devastation. The prophet focuses his readers thoughts in an unusual way upon Judah’s tragic fate. He employs a series of striking contrasts:

  1. The fate of the gold and precious stones (vv. 1-2). Once bright and shining Jerusalem’s gold is now dimmed and marred.
  2. The tragedy of starving infants (vv. 3-6). Even the wealthiest and most cultured mothers now go hungry. While Sodom’s destruction was sudden, Jerusalem’s ruin came by prolonged torment.
  3. The debilitation of the Nazarites (vv. 7-8). These noble men, separated unto God and once physically magnificent, now are shriveled with hunger.
  4. The misery of famine (vv. 9-11). Far better to have perished by the sword than to be reduced to the inhuman extremities of hunger and want.
  5. The false confidence of Jerusalem’s people (vv. 12-13). Jerusalem was a mighty fortress which seemed secure. The people thought God would never allow the city where His presence dwelt to be destroyed.

Application

I must be careful not to glory in what I have and fall into spiritual bankruptcy.

Lamentations 4:1-13 (English Standard Version)


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