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Mourning The Destruction Of A Great City Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
March 8, 2022 1:00 am

Mourning The Destruction Of A Great City Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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March 8, 2022 1:00 am

When the judgment of God falls, the things we hold dear are often laid to waste. The city of Jerusalem with its temple was sacked and looted by invading armies, acting under God’s ultimate plan. In this message, we’ll see how the book of Lamentations exposes Jeremiah’s heart as he looks at this devastated city. Through the grief, we’ll discover what God holds dear.  

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When the judgment of God falls things we hold dear often laid waste the city of Jerusalem with its temple was sacked and looted by invading armies whose actions came in the plan and will of God from the Moody Church in Chicago this morning to win when books are whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Today we continue a series on the church in Babylon unleashing the power of the spirit filled witness vasculature where in the Bible are we headed, as you speak on morning the description of the great city I'd like to make a recommendation to all who are listening today.

I think that at least twice a year. Christian should sit down and read the book of Lamentations. No wonder Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet. Imagine seeing that gorgeous temple that was built by Solomon stood there for a couple of hundred years and now totally completely destroyed.

God is proving that buildings are not important. It's people that are, and if he doesn't have our hearts the rest can be under judgment. Would you consider helping us get the message of running to win two more people right now we are in 20 different countries in three different languages but we are expanding. Consider becoming an endurance partner that someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts go to RTW when you're there, click on the endurance partner button or call us at 1-888-218-9337 and now to the book of Lamentations when I taught preaching to young seminarians. I used to tell them that a preacher should think clearly feel deeply and cause his hearers to do the same today.

I hope that we do indeed think clearly, but I also hope that we feel deep. If you are not touched emotionally today. It may be because you've really developed a hard heart may be because of some bad experiences because today's message in one respect is very difficult. It is intended to touch the emotion but it's intended to do more than that to show us the grace of God in the midst of the most awful devastation that we could describe. So at the end of the message, you will be given hope, no matter who you are, no matter what your problems are. You may be a drug addict. You may be going through a time of depression. I promise you, hope but first of all we have to look at a few texts, you know, there are different reasons why it is that cities can be destroyed.

One reason may be because of natural disasters. We think immediately of Katrina we think of New Orleans being destroyed largely with think for example of Tuscaloosa and even Washington in the middle of the state of Illinois where tornado comes in basically destroys a town we can also think of times when cities are destroyed because of war when Rebecca and I were in Belarus we took a trip out to what is known as catchy in Ketchikan. I wish I could take all of you to it is a place devoted to the destruction that took place under the Nazis.

What happened is the Nazis came in.

In retaliation, they decided to destroy 189 villages, and to destroy everyone in those villages. So it catchy and what they did is they took the townspeople about 145 force them into a barn and then they lit the barn there was hay in the barn and if anyone ran out of the barn. They shot 75 of the 145 were children. Today there is a monument where the barn is there is a monument where the ashes were of all the dead and all of the many of the names of the children are listed. Can you even imagine the devastation but you know there are other times when a city is destroyed because of the direct judgment of God. I think for example of the instances I mentioned natural disasters and war.

We could refer to those often as undeserved judgments but when you get to Jerusalem in 586 BC.

That is a deserved judgment predict did by God that it wasn't God just acting randomly from our standpoint. God was fulfilling his holy word and if I might say it plainly. Jerusalem was getting exactly what it deserved. Now, for example, Jeremiah was preaching things like this. Listen to his words all Jerusalem. Wash your heart from evil, that you may be saved. How long shall your wicked thoughts lodged within you for a voice declares from Dannon proclaims trouble from Mount Hebron warned the nations that he is coming announced to Jerusalem procedures come from a distant land they showed against the cities of Judah like keepers of appeal they are against her all around because she has rebelled against me, declares the Lord God is speaking your ways and your deeds have brought this upon you. This is your doom and it is better it has reached your very heart deserved judgment and of course you know what happened the last message I mentioned, the Babylonians came destroyed the city burned the city took about 15,000 to Babylon and you have huge starvation along the way. The suffering was unbelievable. All deserved. While which leads me to the book of Lamentations the book of Lamentations and I want you to take your Bibles and turn to it. Would you turn please to the book of Lamentations.

It comes after the book of Jeremiah, and it's important for you to have a Bible in your hand.

You know there's some Christians who come to church without their Bibles, I have learned to love them because of the fact that many of them are my friends and I've learned to love people whom I do not understand alright so I love you and you have to love me even on the needle you a little bit about not bringing your Bible if you did, but if you bring your Bible regularly you say pastor as I always do. But today I happen to forget it. Then you can find it there if you can find a pew Bible on page 685 all right because you need the Bible in your hand and the book of Lamentations is the book that we are looking at because Lamentations is by funeral dirge is, it is allergies. That is to say, songs, composed in a graveyard.

The book of Lamentations exposes the heart of Jeremiah and the heart of God as he looks at this devastated city, somebody has said that the book of Lamentations is really a cloudburst of it is an ocean of sobs and a river of tears will get to it in a moment.

Your Bibles are open. Notice that Ted the chapters.

Some except the middle chapter all of 22 verses chapter 122 verses chapter 222 verses chapter 3 happens at 66 chapter 422 522 what's going on there in the text in Hebrew.

It is actually an acrostic. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, and each of these verses in the four of the chapters refers and begins with another letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Now, in the case of the middle chapter. Chapter 3 what you have is I understand that the letters of the alphabet are again use but in each instance, there are three verses connected to one letter, so 322 is 66 and that gives you a bit of an outline of the book. What you do understand that because Lamentations wasn't just Jeremiah walking through the city making random comments. It was really a proem composed of these five different laments it was composed by him very carefully so that it could be used in liturgical worship, so that the Jews were able to use it. They use it today at the Wailing Wall they use it on special occasions when they lament the destruction of Jerusalem and their history. Also, it reminds us that God's destruction is from a to Z as we say from the beginning of the alphabet to the last of the alphabet.

I'm only going to introduce you to the first two chapters that were going to make some observations and I'm going to be giving you hope, but what chapters they are.

Let me read a few verses of chapter 1 how lonely since the city. First of all I have to comment before I say that want you to visualize the city visualize the devastation that takes place, not only when there's a tornado but when there's a fire that burns the city so there you can see some of the dolls that the girls played with and you can see the toys that the boys had their all gone there all destroyed their all either dead or with their moms and dads on the way to Babylon. Visualize your area. Visualize also the devastation that you are going through some of you may say this is the story of my life. If you're saying that. Remember I am going to give you hope, but I want you to enter in to what Jeremiah is saying and seeing he's weeping not only of what happened, but the good that could have been well how lonely since the city that was full of people. How like a widow she has become. She who was great among the nations. Verse two she weeps bitterly in the night with tears on her cheeks among all her lovers. She has none to comfort her all of her friends and dealt treacherously with her. They become her enemies.

Judah has gone into exile because of affliction and hard servitude. She now dwells among the nations, but finds no resting place. Her pursuers have all overtaken her in the midst of her distress I'm skipping to verse nine. Her uncleanness was in her skirts. That is to say, she was filled with immorality. She took no thought of her future is not America today. She took no thought of her future. Therefore, her fall is terrible. She has no comforter, old Lord, behold, my affliction for the enemy has triumphed. The enemy has stretched out his hands all over her precious things, for she has seen the nations entered her sanctuary. Those whom you for bed to enter your congregation what's going on. There is real thought to itself.

Judah thought to itself.

We have Jerusalem and the Temple and this is where the glory of God once came. There's no way that God is going to destroy us. We are his chosen people. We have God bless Jerusalem as stickers on the back of every one of our chariots. There's no way that God is going to destroy us.

God says foreigners have entered into your sanctuary, your temple is gone and your temple is destroyed, you're going to have to learn to live without the Temple will find out what that is like in a future message verse 11 older people grown as they search for bread, they made their treasures for food to revive their strength, old Lord look and see for I'm spies now. That's verses 1 to 11 when you get to verse 12 Jeremiah now personifies the city. It is as if the city is speaking.

Is it nothing to you all those who pass by, look and see if there's any sorrow like my sorrow, which was brought upon me, which the Lord inflicted on the Davis Spears anger and on it goes. Let me read a few other verses. Let's go to verse 16 for these things. I weep my eyes flowed with tears for comfort is far from me is no one to revive my spirit. My children are desolate for the enemy prevailed. Verse 19 I called all my lovers but they deceived me my priests and elders perished in the city while they sought food to revive their strength. You'll notice what the priests and the false prophets were doing. If you can glance quickly 2 to 14 your Prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes, but have seen for you. Oracles are false and misleading.

I preached about false prophets, all kinds of visions you know of happiness and money and wealth, but no exposure of sin while when you get to chapter 2 what you find is here that God over and over again takes personal responsibility for what happened, destruction chapter 2 verse one how the Lord in his anger has set the daughter of Zion under a cloud verse two.

The Lord has swallowed up without mercy.

All the inhabitants of Jacob verse three, he has cut down his fierce anger and in the midst of these verses. It keeps saying he did this he did this verse, for he has banned his bowl like an enemy. Verse five the Lord has become like an enemy has swallowed up Israel.

Verse six he laid waste more than 13 times in this chapter, God says I did it while you notice what Jeremiah says now in verse 11. My eyes are spent with weeping.

My stomach turns my violence poured out to the ground because of the destruction of the daughter of my people because infants and babies faint in the streets of the city, they cried to their mothers wears bread and wine. And they think like a wounded man in the streets of the city is there life is poured out on their mother's bosom. My mom and dad lived through World War I, they were Germans, but they were living in the Ukraine and my mother once turned away with tears in her eyes and told me what it was like to see a baby die because of starvation and hunger and how would they cry and cry and cry, but there was no food, even if the parents were there was nothing to drink and eventually it would be a whimper and then they would cry no more than that of course is happening even around the world today because of starvation and hunger. God says this is what I did because you know what I hate sin and I hate your idolatry. This takes my breath away. Now in chapter 3, he goes on to talk about his own sorrow and there is much there also that reiterates it. But what I want to do is to take and just back off a little bit and ask ourselves the question what does this book mean for us. I mean, where does this take us as a congregation as a church as a nation, so I'd like to leave some lessons with you and then refer to the text again in a few moments.

First of all, it's very clear that God can bless a nation. God can also destroy a nation. God said to Israel in Deuteronomy chapter 11 behold, I put before you both blessings and cursing, follow me, and you get blessing if not and you will be destroyed. In fact, Deuteronomy 28 talks about all this.

Everything that happened is foreshadowed in Deuteronomy 28 there are scholars who have taken Deuteronomy 28 the judgments of God promised, and they have put them up against the book of Lamentations and mixing the parallels God says you have a choice.

You know after 9/11, God was brought off the reservation and it was okay to say God bless you in the public square. Even our Congress together jointly. I think if I remember correctly saying God bless America of all things, you know, in the in the public square.

God bless America.

Signs were everywhere. In fact, there was a God bless America sign on the porn shop in Nashville. Everybody will of course were better than they are a God can bless America.

Now, after he was used to kind of mop up after 9/11, God was put back on a shelf and said that you can't intrude in the so-called public square. What makes us think that God can only bless America.

God may also judge America in the day may come.

I hope I don't see it. I hope your children don't see it when God can. If he wishes to destroy America because God says if I don't have your heart.

God bless America stickers as bumper stickers simply will not work.

I mean I look at this and I'm incredulous.

Any these are your people. You chose that mining this is Jerusalem where you put your glory. I mean, don't remember the Shekinah glory coming after Solomon built the temple cuts as it doesn't mean a thing to me. If I don't have your heart to God can bless us. I don't pray for justice for America.

I do pray for mercy because we have turned away from so much light and we continue to do so very deliberately and I could give you lots of evidence for that, but I assume that you know what is happening in the world and in our government and so forth. Secondly, God has various forms of judgment. God is various forms of judgment. You think back to Adam and Eve. They had specific judgments didn't God says you can't go back into paradise.

And so he puts up the cherry them to make sure that that wouldn't happen and then not long behold sin enters into the world and they have the first very very dysfunctional family and Cain kills Abel so they got a problem with one of their sons, and then the whole history of the human race. And so there is some immediate judgments and then you think of the way in which the judgments begin to overwriting all throughout history, you know, there's such a thing as sin. Having immediate judgments and some of you know about that, don't you yesterday Rebecca and I were talking about someone who was hooked on drugs and how eventually they were found dead and in you know there are immediate judgments you know and and goddesses all rescue you, behold, I put before you as individuals, both blessings and curse things. Some of you have to choose God and to choose that which is right because you have understood the unintended consequences of sin are very bad and they have a long-term effect immediately and then long-term effects, and sometimes God destroys the civilization or a city like he destroyed Jerusalem and sometimes that destruction is internal as is happening in America today with the destruction of our families and with the rise of hostility toward the Christian message. There is no doubt that we are under some kind of judgment we are to be a people of God in a nation that clearly has lost its way. You know when I read this and I read the book of Lamentations.

A couple of times in the last few weeks. I think to myself wow if God is willing to do this to Jerusalem, the city that he loved says in the Psalms, you know, Zion is the place where I put my name and I love Zion over really well doesn't seem as if there's a lot of love lost here, but if God is willing to do that temporally in this life. I read this book and I say what must hell be like God has various judgments.

But beware, you as an individual. I taught both as a nation today, but also use individual that sin has immediate judgments always and sometimes they accumulate to something very very catastrophic.

There's another lesson and that is this I'm just sharing my heart with you today that we should weep over our nation even as Jeremiah wept over his nation. This is has diluted this morning in my prayer time I was thinking of the United States. I was thinking of the church of Jesus Christ and all of the attacks that are coming against us were divided for all kinds of different reasons. Politically, racially, issues regarding the pandemic, what we need to do is to humble ourselves, to repent, and yes to weep.

I want to thank the many of you who help us get this ministry to thousands upon thousands of people I'm holding in my hands a letter from someone who says about 10 years ago my husband backslid, but every day after church I would come home and turn on pastor Luther. It is through your ministry that he came back to the Lord well I have to smile at that because sometimes when wives turn on the radio to a sermon, their husbands might not put up with that. But in this case. Thankfully he came back to the Lord, would you help us get this message to more people and become an endurance partner that someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts.

Here's what you can do. Go to RTW that's RTW know when you're there, click on the endurance partner button or do you prefer, call us at 1-888-218-9337.

As a matter fact you can call right away. 1-888-218-9337 you can write to access running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 running to win is all about helping you find God's roadmap for your race of life. Jesus looked on Jerusalem and wept over the destruction he knew the Romans would soon bring centuries earlier, Jeremiah wept when the city was destroyed. Next time I'm running to when we weep for our nation. Soon the field judgment for Dr. Erwin lutes are this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the Moody Church

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