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  • Pastor Jason

New Sermon Series Preview: "Lamentations"

Updated: Feb 16



This weekend kicks off the season of Lent. Similar to Advent, Lent is a 40-day period of preparation leading up to Easter. Historically, this time was spent preparing new converts for baptism on Easter Sunday; for the rest of us, Lent encourages us to spend time reflecting on our need for Jesus' sacrifice, the reality of sin's influence in our life, and our own imminent death.


None of this is particularly enjoyable to think about. However, taking time to be especially mindful of the more unpleasant aspects of our faith, is intended to ultimately push us to an even greater appreciation for the full-scope of the gospel. Yes, we have a "sin problem;" yes, the "wages of sin is death"; yes, this all has the ability to really weigh us down and make us feel really crummy about ourselves. BUT...that's exactly what makes the gospel so incredible - it's this contrast between our sin and the hopelessness we are born into that gives Romans 5:10 ("...while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, [and] having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!") it's punch and why John 3:16 continues to be one of the first verses most people memorize.


Jeremiah's Lamentations invites us into this space - a space to step back and really come face-to-face with "the problem" and what exactly God is doing (has done!) about it. Lamentations can be an incredibly depressing and defeating book if not taken within it's historical context and relationship to the book of Jeremiah and being mindful of the bigger picture of what God was doing with his people.


Going all the way back to Israel's wilderness experience and the exodus in Leviticus 26, God had been warning Israel about the consequences that would come to them if they failed to worship God alone. In fact, Leviticus 26:14-46 almost reads like like a straight-up prediction/foretelling of what was going to happen roughly 1,000 years down the road! Israel consistently failed to heed God's warnings through the prophets, and time had run out. So when God sent Babylon to destroy Jerusalem, the temple, and take Jerusalem's residents into captivity, God's people perceived this as God abandoning them and turning against them. Timing-wise, all of this takes place before the famous promise of Jeremiah 29-30 (specifically verses 11-14) - those promises were given to a group of exiles already in captivity. Despite how they are often used, this is not a promise to anyone protect from captivity/suffering, but a promise of restoration while in the midst of captivity/suffering - a reminder that an end will come to our current captivity/suffering.


Lamentations, while seemingly focused on the fall of Jerusalem, is not so much about the loss of Israel's possession of the Promised Land, but a lament over the breakdown of the relationship between God and his people as a result of sin. In it's pages, we are confronted with an often violent view of God's wrath, which can be very difficult for American believers to see. However, it's also Lamentations that gives us the basic message and words of one of the greatest, most-comforting hymns ever written ("Great is Thy Faithfulness"; Lam 3:22-24):

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."

The point is: God is wrathful, and his wrath comes out when sin drives a wedge between himself and the creatures he loves most. And out of that wrath, God is not content to just sit back and let sin win - as the saying goes, "LOVE WINS." And out of his incredible love for his people, the full measure of God's wrath is unleashed upon sin, most effectively upon the cross. And three days later, God solidified his power over sin and it's wages via the resurrection on that first Easter morning.


It might not be the most pleasant next few weeks, but it will be good.


Join us on Sundays @ 9:30am as we make our way toward the cross and the empty tomb.

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