You likely do not read the book of Lamentations very often. It is a sad, heart-rending sob from the heart of Jeremiah. He was standing amidst the rubble of a once-great city, Jerusalem. The Chaldean nation had come and destroyed it. We are back in 586 BC. The unthinkable had happened! The poetic book reads almost like a funeral dirge, a long, low song in the minor key, expressing the grief of Jeremiah’s heart. Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, looked upon the devastation and ruin, the end result of a nation’s rebellion, and wept.
It was a sad day. No longer were the pilgrims streaming up to Zion to worship. The streets were now empty; the collective worship of God ceased. Had the work and things of God come to a standstill?
Fortunately, we can turn from the melancholy versification of Jeremiah to a few triumphant notes he strikes amidst his grief. Listen to the expression of his faith rising amidst the ashes of the city, “His compassions fail not; they are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness” (Lam 3:22, 23) It does not end there, he closes his lamentations with one of the great expressions of confidence and faith, “Thou O Lord remainest for ever, Thy throne from generation to generation” (5:19).
Jeremiah lived amidst change and confusion. While he had prophesied of the coming invasion, the majority of Israelites were taken by surprise. They had thought that something such as this would never happen. Jeremiah himself was overwhelmed when the reality was realized.
But Jeremiah’s refuge is the same refuge which each of us has in difficult days. While we have the prospect of being able to meet in the near future and have not suffered devastation, we have been under “siege” by a pandemic. We have known confusion and perplexity. Where do we turn?
Jeremiah turned to what was the single constant in a changing world: The throne of God remains, unchanged from age to age. Men come and go; disasters move in and then subside; dictators rise and fall – God remains.
Linked with that throne is a God, not only of stability and constancy, but One marked by compassion, mercy, and faithfulness (3:22, 23). So comforting are the words of Jeremiah in chapter 5:19, that many of the rabbis wanted the book to end with those words of hope. But for us, the truth remains whether in verse 19 or at the end of chapter 5.
We need not despair or become discouraged as we look above to a throne that is unmovable and unassailable.