“Is it nothing to you, all you that pass by? Behold and see if there is any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, with which the Lord has afflicted me in the day of His fierce anger.” ~Lamentations 1:12 ~
Today, September 11, 2016 is a very somber day for many of us here in the United States. 15 years ago, the nation, and the world, awoke to a very tragic event. A moment seared in time. One phrase carries into today’s remembrance: We shall never forget.
In his opening remarks, C. H. Spurgeon gave a sermon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle on the evening of September 11, 1881. His sermon is based on Lamentations 1:12. Here is what the great theologian shared:
SYMPATHY with suffering ones is never content to act her part alone. The man who is sorrowful for another is sure to invite others to join him in his sympathy. It seems to him so sad a thing that he would have all men weep over it with himself. It is so great a grief that he would hang the heavens with blackness and drape the world in sackcloth. Hence Jeremiah, when he saw the sorrows of Jerusalem, complained of all who dared to pass her by without a lamentation. He beheld that ancient and glorious city besieged by her adversaries, invaded by their fierce armies and given over to plunder, to murder, to fire and desolation. He beheld the streets running with the blood of her sons and daughters, her houses broken down and her glorious Temple defiled and laid in ashes.
Many of us have not forgotten. We recall where we were at when it seemed the entire world stopped – and mourned. Despite this, others may have long forgotten the events of that fateful morning. A tragic event that united us as a collective society 15 years ago seems so long ago.
Lamentations is a book that comprises the Prophet Jeremiah’s mourning over the destruction of Jerusalem, and the captivity of many people. In the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, we read the following:
And it came to pass after Israel was led into captivity that Jeremiah sat weeping and lamenting and lamented this lamentation over Jerusalem.
In the Jewish Study Bible, Lamentations is referred to as the “…form of mourning for a destruction that was to become a linchpin in Jewish history and…religious thought. More than that, Lamentations eternalizes the destruction, thereby helping to make it a central event in the Jewish memory. ”
Along with this, Lamentations is a book of rare Hebrew Poetry. It refers to Jerusalem as a woman that has become widowed, abandoned, and shamed. It is with this imagery that we come to read vs. 12. Jerusalem is calling out to those who pass by for their sympathy.
Her destitution and misery are because of the sins she had committed. The feeling of abandonment and rejection by Jehovah because of her sins, and the fateful consequences those sins has produced. The grief over the afflictions people are suffering because of the consequences from sinful behaviors. Present misery and anguish contrasted with days of prosperity and peace. Trust in God amidst persecution and prayer for mercy summarizes the poetic eulogy of Jerusalem.
Today, not all is well in America. Today, not all may be well in your own personal life. The tragic event’s of September 11, 2001 have eternally etched itself in the annals of history.
Each one of us carry the burden of our own destruction. We are calling out to those who are passing by to sympathize with us. Yet, we are left alone, destitute, and abandoned. There is no greater and powerful emotion than the grief and mourning of a loved one that has passed away.
Despite the anguish and distress we find ourselves enduring. There is hope in Jesus Christ. There is hope in the grace and miracle of his forgiveness toward us. The Nation of Israel endured great hardship and exile. God never truly abandoned them, for we read how the nation of Israel was restored, the temple rebuilt, and the coming of the Messiah to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of mankind.
American is enduring a great hardship. We have abandoned God, we have lost sight of the blessings and mercy he has given us. Today, our nation is gripped with civil unrest, anger, resentment, and bitterness.
In our own personal life, we may have forsaken Christ. And, because of it, we are left to the fate of our own sinful consequences.
Let us lament over our iniquities that have brought us to where we are. Let us proclaim the Lord is our salvation and come to mourn over how we have turned from God. Let us pray this Psalm:
O Remember not against us former iniquities:
Let thy tender mercies speedily prevent us for we are brought very low
Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name:
And deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake
~ Psalm 79:8-9, KJV ~