This is an exposition of Lamentations 5:1-22. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, February 11, 2018.
Given the fact we live in a sin-cursed world it would be easy to be a cynic. Life is hard. Bad things happen. The nightly news is a daily reminder.
World unrest, financial instability, murders, robberies, racial tensions, political divisions are all commonplace. Of course you don’t need a television to point out the problems just look at your own life. Struggling to pay bills, tensions within your family, worries about your children and grandchildren, sickness it can be depressing. Then some well-meaning soul comes along and tells you to, “Look on the bright side” or they tell you to, “Trust the Lord and everything will be alright.” It’s all you can do to keep from punching them right in the nose! I’m being a bit dramatic as I overstate the case but you get the idea, life in this world is not a leisurely stroll in the park. It is a life of peaks and valleys, of good days and bad days. A life in which joy and sorrow travel the same path. In this life it is not a matter of “if” you will experience heartache but rather “when” you experience heartache. Faith in Christ does not give you immunity. There is no, “Get out of sorrow free” card accompanying salvation. So, the questions is, “How do you, as a believer, respond to suffering?” Your faith is to impact your life. It is to make a difference in how you live, how you react to life’s struggles and grow in christlikeness. For the last four weeks we have been exploring the words of the “weeping prophet” as he laments God’s devastating judgment against the city of Jerusalem. The prophet graphically portrays the pain and sorrow brought on by Babylon’s destruction of the holy city yet through it all he makes it painfully clear that God is the great actor in this drama. Babylon, though responsible for her actions, is in fact, carrying out the will and purpose of God. Babylon is an instrument in the hand of the Sovereign One. This evening we come to the fifth and final lament. This one, though 22 verses like 1, 2, and 4 is not an acrostic. It is not so much a poem or song as it is a prayer. There is a spontaneity about it that just would not fit in neatly arranged verse. Our text is the fifth chapter of Lamentations.
Text: Lamentations 5:1-22
Jeremiah is writing soon after the destruction of Jerusalem.
Judah’s best and brightest have been carried away into exile.
Jeremiah is left to daily look upon the devastation.
It is not easy reading because it speaks uneasy truth.
Yet, its central message, found in chapter 3, is the faithfulness of God.
Even though God has brought this judgment He is still faithful to His promise.
Further, He is still sovereign ruling over nations.
As we conclude our study of this book we are reminded that…
Thesis: The believer responds to suffering with honesty and confession trusting that the Sovereign One providential works in all things to accomplish His will and purpose.
When suffering comes, you may not understand why it has come or how it can be part of God’s design but, as a child of God, you trust the Judge of all the earth always does what is right. As Spurgeon put it, “God is too wise to make a mistake; He is too kind to be cruel; so when I cannot trace His hand, I’ll trust His heart.”
As we work through this final lament I want to point out 3 things about how we are to respond to suffering.
- The believer responds to suffering by honestly acknowledging the hurt and devastation experienced in this life. (5:1-13)
- The believer rightly confesses the emotional impact of such devastation and accurately diagnoses its root cause. (5:14-18)
- The believer humbly bows before God’s sovereignty and confesses that God alone can restore and renew the broken. (5:19-22)
As it is written Lamentations ends with unrealized anguish. It ends with uncertainty. But Lamentations is not the last word!
We are often left with questions. Has the LORD abandoned me? Can I be saved? Is there any hope? Will my suffering ever end? How does this accomplish God’s will? What purpose is fulfilled in my suffering? But we must do more than ask such questions. We must trust the answer Did has provided through the atoning death of the Lord Jesus. Who made us this promise, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)