3 STARK CONTRASTS BETWEEN SPIRITUAL GRIEF AND SPIRITUAL JOY
This passage should remind us of the riches we enjoy in union with our Lord Jesus Christ. The heart of the OT prophet was broken as he surveyed the landscape of the devastated former capital of the City of God. Certainly our fellowship within our local church should provide the stimulus to keep us on a path of spiritual joy rather than despairing in spiritual grief.
Steven Smith: Jerusalem was once lovely and vivacious, the center of the nation that was central to God’s plan. Was there a more envied place in the whole world? She was God’s bride! This is the place where David ruled with imperial, military gravitas. This is the place where Solomon built palaces so grand that the queen of Sheba came to visit. Jerusalem was spectacular, magnificent, marvelous! The beauty is important to remember because it makes Lamentations 1:1 more provocative. She went from epicenter to wasteland.
I. CONTRAST #1: LONELINESS VS COMMUNITY
“How lonely sits the city
That was full of people!”
A. Disadvantages of Loneliness
– Unnatural for a city to be empty and deserted and by itself – forsaken by all
– Painful Memories of former times of companionship now forfeited
– Subject to further decay and deterioration
B. Advantages of Community
– Life and activity should characterize a city rather than death and silence
– Possibility for growth and stimulus
– Full of hope and promise for the future
Yet God is able to gather the lonely under His wing and provide all of their emotional needs as the one who knows them the best.
If you are lonely, come to the Lord Jesus Christ today.
John 14:3 “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
II. CONTRAST #2: HELPLESSNESS VS GREATNESS
“She has become like a widow
Who was once great among the nations!”
A. Disadvantages of Widows:
– Dependent on others for financial support
– Bereft of companionship
– No possibility of offspring
Yet God is able to be the companion and the sustainer of widow and even provide joy in the midst of their grief.
B. Advantages of Greatness:
– Honored among the nations
– Powerful and prestigious
– Source of blessing for surrounding Gentile nations; a light and a witness
If you are helpless, come to the Lord Jesus Christ today.
Psalm 146:9 “The Lord protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, but He thwarts the way of the wicked.”
III. CONTRAST #3: SLAVE VS ROYALTY
“She who was a princess among the provinces
Has become a forced laborer!”
A. Advantages of Royalty
– In Control
– Lives in Comfort
B. Disadvantages of a Slave
– Dominated by others – the nation of Israel sent off into captivity
– Consigned to hard labor in Babylon – remember the former days in Egypt
Yet God is able to turn slavery into an opportunity to serve Him and look to Him for our ultimate reward and inheritance.
If you are in bondage, come to the Lord Jesus Christ today.
John 8:36 “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”
Matt. 11: 28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
So whatever our circumstances, we should look to the Lord for the fullness of joy. He is our portion and all that we need.