Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure.
Lamentations 5:21-22 NIV
The book of Lamentations is one many believers tend to “skip” in their devotions. It’s a difficult book to understand. We read how God poured out His wrath upon the people of Israel for their continued rebellion against Him. “The Lord has given full vent to his wrath; he has poured out his fierce anger. He kindled a fire in Zion that consumed her foundations.”
(Lamentations 4:11 NIV) “Her foes have become her masters; her enemies are at ease. The Lord has brought her grief because of her many sins. Her children have gone into exile, captive before the foe.” (Lamentations 1:5 NIV)
This book ends with a prayer. The prophet Jeremiah asks to escape this righteous anger by asking God to restore the nation. He prays to God with confidence that only the Lord could change the hearts of the people. There is no hope for God’s people unless God Himself saves us. He is the only one who can change the heart of stone into one of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)
This reminds me of Jesus speaking to Peter in the Gospel of Luke. “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32 NIV) Jesus tells Simon, “when” you have turned back, not, “if.” Jesus tells Simon in a sense; my grace is enough for you. No matter how far you stray or even deny me, my grace will draw you back to me.
Like Simon, Jesus intercedes for us before God (Romans 8:23) and He is also able to keep us from stumbling. (Jude 1:24-25). Jesus remains the only hope not only for the world but also for the day-by-day life of the believer.
When we put our hope in Jesus as Lord and Savior, we not only have a perfect sacrifice who took on the full anger of God on the cross, but we also have an advocate who stands forever before the throne of God on our behalf.
Listen to this song for a time of reflection. May it be a blessing to you as you reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus for you.