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August 20, 2020 7:05 am
Much about the current pandemic feels entirely new to us. Putting on masks, working from home, practicing safe social distance. These are unfamiliar disciplines that we've never exercised before. Well, today on INSIGHT for Living, Chuck Swindell presents another message in his brand new study of lamentations. In this series, we're reminded that while some of the mechanics differ, there are fascinating parallels between Jerusalem's destruction by the Babylonians and the cultural climate of 20-20. Originally preached to the congregation just a few weeks ago, Jack titled today's Message Jeremiahs Journal of Wolves.
This has been one of those weeks that was. I'll say more in my message about it. But. If you're like my wife and me, you have you have been heartsick.
To witness if you've lived long enough to witness yet again another. Heartbreaking scene or scenes that have stretched across some of the great cities of our grand nation. Following a most unfair death. There has been an extreme reaction by mobs in settings.
Failed to express grief for the one that was taken, but rather anger toward. Our land, for reasons very few can understand. And we who love this land of. Peace and liberty, joy and.
The grace of God have been saddened.
In fact, we've turned the news off early. Most evenings. Unable to watch any more of it. All of this prompted me to write a prayer. I rarely do that. My prayers are almost always spontaneous, but because of the gripping scenes.
That I have witnessed since the 60s. And you have too many of you.
I decided I would express my. Heart in. In words. That had been carefully chosen view about with me, please. I will lead us in this prayer.
Almighty God, do we reflect on your character this day?
As we seek wisdom for such a time as this. In these moments of fear, you remain perfect love in these unsafe days. You remain all powerful. And able to protect in these uncertain times. You remain all knowing. Leading us are right. In the unprecedented pandemic we're facing, you remain absolutely sovereign. And then the heartbreaking scenes of this week. We must remind ourselves that our times are still in your hands.
Therefore, our dependance on you is total, not partial. Our need for your forgiveness is constant, not occasional.
Our gratitude for Your Grace is profound, not casual. Now, love for you is deep. Not superficial or shallow. We ask that you guard and guide those who lead us as a nation. May uncompromising integrity mark their lives. And the lives who lead us as a state. In this nation, we also ask that you unite us again in harmony.
Those who know Christ as believers in one body. Committed to turning our world upside down. Through love. The love of Christ equip us with genuine humility and heartfelt compassion. Remind us, Lord, that we're not alone, though we often feel aloneness.
That we are yours. And that you live in us. That through us, you make known the full expression of your love and your mercy. Made that love heal our land and made that Mursi change our world. These things, Father, we ask. The powerful name of Jesus Christ.
Our savior and lord.
In all God's people, said a man.
You're listening to INSIGHT for Living to search the Scriptures with Chuck Swindal. Be sure to download his searching the Scripture studies by going to insight world dot org slash studies.
And now the message titled Jeremiahs Journal of Woes.
I think if I were to pick of a verse, that would be a theme verse for Lamentations. It wouldn't be in lamentations. It would be in Proverbs Proverbs 13 fifteen. The way of the transgressor is hard. The way of the transgressor is hard.
And Jeremiah lives to witness it.
The Babylonians come in and ultimately sack the city, destroy this magnificent temple of Solomon that has stood for four consecutive centuries, and now it's it's in ruins. And along with that, the people who were strong and many of them younger and and important for Babylon's future, are all marched away and taken 700 miles east to the region of Babylon. And there they live their lives.
Jeremiahs live with the ruins, which is why he's led to write this journal. I'm calling it this journal of Woe. His lamentations.
If you will let me for a few more months, I'd like to. Do a little literary excursion with you through the book. This is one sad book. It doesn't have a happy ending, though. It does have a few rays of hope in the middle. As I read for you in Chapter three four, we get there. You would have noticed something interesting about the book. Look at your Bible. Look at the number of verses in each chapter.
Look at chapter one. The company verses are in chapter one. There are 20 to look at Chapter two. How many verses are in Chapter two? Twenty two again. Look at Chapter four. I will skip three for a moment, look at Chapter four. Twenty two.
Now, I go back to Chapter three and notice how many are in that longest of the five.
Sixty six. When you go to Chapter five, look at this. Wouldn't you know it, back to 22?
One, two, four and five have twenty two verses. Chapter three has sixty six. Now, we'll give you a little hint as to why in the Hebrew alphabet there are 22 letters. Called characters, our alphabet begins with a C, the Hebrew alphabet begins with all if all F. Our second letter is B and the Hebrew letter is Beth BGH, like our word, our name Beth in. There are 22 of those letters all the way down to the last letter of Tao, which answers to our T, but our last letter is Z. Now, it's interesting that these chapters have the same number as the letters of the alphabet. It's because this is a very elaborate poem. You wouldn't know it because we read it in English. But when you read it in Hebrew, it's it's a beautiful poem. In each letter, in Chapter one and two. And for I'll get to five in a minute. One, two and four.
Each verse begins with the next letter in the alphabet. Why would Jeremiah Wright it that way? Well, it was a memory assistant for children to memorize the book.
He wanted the young never to forget. The fall of Jerusalem.
And the sadness of what he went through. And the heartbreaking scenes of a city he loved in all of its beauty, where people came from all around like they do today, they come from all over to visit the site. The city of Jerusalem.
But it's fallen. So he wrote a poem.
Chapter one, every letter in the alphabet beginning each of the verses, Chapter two. Well, you've already guessed Chapter three, the first three verses begin with all in the next three verses. Begin will be the next three verses. Begin with give them the next three verses. Begin Madeleine all the way through sixty six verses chapter four. He goes back to the same acrostic. It's called an acrostic. Would you go through the alphabet and begin. And if you memorize you know you need clues along the way. I certainly use them when I memorize and every clue you can find, the easier it is to memorize. And one wonders how many children memorized at the feet of their parents, along with parents memorizing the lamentations of Jeremiah Chapter five. Interesting is not an acrostic. Oh, shoot. I wanted it to be another acrostic, but it wasn't. But you know why? Because it's a prayer. And a prayer is to be a spontaneous thing. And it comes from the heart of the people that have been taken captive. And they are weeping and they are wailing in their captivity. And that's not to be shaped with an acrostic.
This is just a passionate prayer, which is Chapter five.
When you're on your own, when your memorized that one. But it's interesting. It flows together. When you read it in its context. These four chapters above that, I mean, chapters one, two, three and four are written in what is called a limping meter. This is deep result. Get in this. I'll promise. Now, the Hebrew class, so I won't bore you. But this called a limping like you would limp with a sore foot limping meter, which is the meter used in Hebrew poetry for a funeral dirge.
That fits also, doesn't it?
Jeremiah Wright said, feeling as if. He's leading a funeral. As if as a procession.
And from one sad scene to another, as the city has been torn apart, a city he remembered for its beauty and joy celebrations, all of the feasts all through the years of growing up in off off little village to the north of Jerusalem, the priestly village. But he would go into the city for this for the Passover. He would go in the city for the other celebrations. He remembered Jerusalem no more.
There was no celebration this week in America. There was no there was no singing.
Well, there were peaceful demonstrations, yes, and. Thank you, Lord, for those. There were some were they paused and sang and prayed, but they were quiet and they got no press coverage. What do you witness in what I witnessed? Was an out of control mob. That took delight in tearing apart what was once a beautiful. It took advantage of those who had spent so much of their lives building their shops and their businesses.
If you own your own business, I'm sure you entered into that with a deep ache. So does Jeremiah. He knew many of the shopkeepers.
He's been every year of his life there. Pause, we could tell Jeremiah, never travel. He focused his attention on the city and in this case, the city that has fallen.
One more. A little interesting comment, if I may. In each of the chapters, someone different speaks. This will help you appreciate what we read when we get from one chapter to the next.
So let's do that.
In chapter one, the city speaks. Now, this is poetry. OK, so you engineers will spend half your life trying to figure out poetry. So don't. Don't try. This is for the artists among us.
Poetry has has its liberties. And when poetry speaks, the city speaks and animal sings.
A child dances in summertime. The ages are made young. And the young are made older. It's all poetry. It's the beauty of art. To hear the city speaks. And it's so sad. I could probably really without crying.
Look at this.
Look at what he writes, Jerusalem. What an opening line once full of people.
Streets are empty. He says, later, the sound of a jackal can be heard. Animals feed on the dead bodies.
It's awful when you read through it.
You'll see that mothers kill their own children and eat them. In their starving condition, it's horrible, the cannibalism that happens. When depravity takes over.
She is now deserted. Chu was once great among the nations, now sits alone like a widow. Look at that analogy. He's not a widow hearing me right now who doesn't understand the word alone.
You understand it better than any of the rest of us.
Jeremiah draws on that analogy. She was once great among the nations.
She was the queen of all the earth is now a slave. And bad luck.
It's just wrong.
It should never have been. If they had only listened when I told them, you continue in this idolatry, you continue to walk in the ways of the flesh. You will suffer the consequences.
They are coming. You can't keep them out.
With will for wrongdoing. There is inevitably consequences. So it's like a father talking to his son before he sees him off into the military. Sounds like a mother talking to her daughter before she takes on her first year in college.
Sounds like the father of the prodigal. Here's the money. But listen to me, son. There are consequences to wrong choices.
Verse two. She saw. See the serious speaking. She sobs through the night. Tears streaming down her cheeks. In not a beautiful way to put it. The city is weeping. Among all those who loved her, there is no one left to comfort her. All of her friends betrayed or they've all become her enemies. And now the land of Judah. That's the kingdom over which godless kings reigned. Save Josiah. But as soon as his sons came, they fell again into San. But Juda now has been led away into captivity. This once great kingdom that God established, it's fallen into captivity. Pagan leaders now call the shots.
Bowed down and worship our gods.
And the people of the Jews or their. Who knows how many? I've never found a count.
But the city is emptied of those who were strong and young and had promise, and they're now on their way to Babylon. The roads are in mourning. The crowds no longer come to celebrate the festivals. The gates are silent.
The priests grown.
In the end of the chapter, he says, As the city speaks, my groans are many and I am I am sick at heart.
We take a break here and and give you a moment to. To a stretch, mentally heavy. Scenes.
I realize. Did you ever see. Judgment at Nuremberg? One of the classic films.
It's it's the story of the of the trials of the Nazi war criminals.
The officers of the SS and the Gestapo of Hitler's.
And they're on trial and it's it is the jury setting. As they are all facing the reality. The consequences of their years of brutality and and racial prejudice against the Jews.
The awful scene the judge in the movie is played by the very gifted actor Spencer Tracy. Some of you may remember Spencer Tracy, there's a scene I'll never forget in judgment at Nordberg. It is so heavy. Much like this scene I've been describing that he finally calls a recess and he alone walks out away from the courtroom and out into the war torn streets of Nurnberg.
And he makes his way along the avenues that were once filled with music.
And magnificence. And it's all destroyed. And he hears in the distance.
His imagination picks up the voice of the ranting of Hitler.
As he is spewing out his sewage to the people who are all believing him, all hailing him.
And Tracy stands in tears form in his eyes.
Is he thinks of that and looks at this.
It's a it's a magnificent moment in the film. What were you just gripped with, the consequences of Ron?
That's where we are here.
Now in Chapter two, interestingly.
The Lord speaks. He steps forth and.
And he's angry.
The people would not listen. That's made him furious at them. He gave them a faithful prophet in Jeremiah. And they they push him back and they mistreated him and they, in fact, tortured him.
And so he speaks to them with terms and tones that that are pretty tough to read. We want to connect with the Lord only those great moments of grace and mercy and and love and compassion.
But I'll tell you, there is a teather. To his compassion. And there was an end to his patients.
He is critically important that we comprehend all facets of God's character, both his love and his wrath. You're listening to a message that Chuck Swindal has titled Jeremiahs Journal of Woes. To learn more about Chuck Swindle or this ministry. Be sure to visit us online at Incyte World dot org at INSIGHT for Living. We believe your best learning often takes place apart from these daily programs when you have quiet time to pause and reflect on God's word. It's one of the many reasons we supply a daily dose of biblical encouragement from Chuck via your inbox by subscribing to Chuck's free e-mail. You'll be able to read and pray intentionally and with focus. Seven days a week, the devotional shows up automatically in your inbox. So subscribe today when you go to Insight dot org and follow the simple instructions. This daily program and the free daily devotionals are made possible through the voluntary donations of friends and our monthly companions. Together, we're bringing a message of truth and hope to people around the world who feel oppressed by the pressing issues of our times.
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Again, tomorrow, Chuck Swindell will describe Jeremiahs Journal of Woes.
Join us Friday to hear insight for living.
The preceding message, Jeremiah's Journal of Wolves and the sound recording were copyrighted in 2020 by Charles R. Swindell. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.