Monday, October 31, 2011

October 31- Suffering Through A Siege

October 31, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Lamentation 4:1-5:22; Hebrews 2:1-18;
Psalm 103:1-22; Proverbs 26:23

Where is there beauty when you see deprivation and starvation? 
~Rosalind Russell

Lamentations 4:1-5:22

Starvation is a terrible way to die. This extreme form of malnutrition in humans will cause the organs to experience permanent damage.  Anyone experiencing starvation will lose muscle mass.  Vitamin deficiency can lead to anemia, beriberi, and scurvy.  In late stages, the weakness and lethargy of the body can lead a person to be too weak to sense thirst.  This can lead to dehydration.  As Jeremiah laments the conditions in Jerusalem, we get a description of what King Nebuchadnezzar's siege of Jerusalem has caused.  This prosperous and golden city has lost its luster. The children are starving in the streets. Their parched tongues are sticking to the roof of their mouths.  There is nothing to eat.

Being unable to bring food in and out of the city has devastated a once prosperous people.  Can you imagine your brimming grocery store shelves being empty and desolate? Can you imagine an enemy preventing your whole city from getting any food?  This is the predicament in which God has placed Jerusalem. Jeremiah describes people's skin as being blackened from starvation and malnutrition.

Jeremiah is looking at a city whose inhabitants have survived a siege, the burning of their city, and the captivity of their noblemen. No ally was able to save the city. The king in charge was of no help.  He, too, was carted away. Jeremiah comforts himself with God's promise that the Jews will return to the land from exile.

The final chapter of Lamentations is a prayer to God to remember the people. Remember that their dancing has turned to mourning. Thier own sins have brought this disaster. Dim with tears, their hearts are sick and weary.  With humility, Jeremiah admits that they have caused their own suffering.

Once again, Jeremiah comforts himself with the truth that God remains the same forever. He is the King of the Universe and His throne does not get overthrown by an enemy. Jeremiah cries out for God to restore the people. His prayer is for the God who controls the universe to restore their joy. 

Do you ask God to change your circumstances?  He is able. The question that Jeremiah asks of God and we must ask is "Are You willing?" This takes humility.

Hebrews 2:1-18

Are you ready for a bucket load of logic and a wagon full of truth?  Here we go...

Speaking to the Jewish nation, who is well aware of their history of punishment by God and warnings from angels, the author entreats the Hebrews to listen carefully to the message of salvation announced by the Lord Himself. His message was verified by signs, miracles and the gift of the Holy Spirit, which now indwells believers. The question is raised, "Who can escape if we neglect such a great salvation?"  The answer one will escape judgment for neglecting Jesus' offer of salvation.

The author reminds the readers that the future world will not be run or controlled by angels, but by the Son of God, who lowered himself to become a man.  They and we are reminded that mankind is a little lower than the angels in his humanity, but after his death is crowned with glory and honor.  After completing his work on earth, God will give the Son authority over all of the earth.

It is explained that presently Jesus has fulfilled the parts of Scripture that describe Him as a little lower than the angels and having been given a place of honor and glory.  Jesus is not yet ruling with complete authority on this earth.  For now, Satan is the prince of the air and the ruler of the earth. Christ's earthly reign will be in the future. In that day we will have no need of hospitals and jails.  Jesus will rule with perfection.  For now, Satan is allowed to run the capitals of this world without God.  Satan is a fallen angel attempting to rule this world. We can all see how this is working out. An angel is not designed to rule this world.  We learn in Genesis 1:28 that man is designed to have authority over the earth.  Adam was given authority, which was lost when he sinned in the Garden.  Jesus is the man that regains the authority over the earth that Adam squandered. Scripture reveals that God's plan is for a man of His choosing to rule the world in righteousness.  This man must have the qualifications to run this planet.

The book of Hebrews teaches that Jesus is fit to be that perfect leader because of his suffering. He was fit to bring salvation through His actions. Jesus is a Son of man, who is able to legitimately call us brothers and sisters.  He shares human DNA with us.  He is holy and yet not ashamed to call other humans his brothers and sisters. He had to be a human being in order to die.  He had to die to solve the problem of sin. Only his death could break the power of the devil, who had the power of death that he holds over mankind.  Jesus came to deliver people from the fear of death. Hebrews 2:14-15 says,

"Because God's children are human beings-made of flesh and blood-the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying."

Jesus came to help all Hebrews who are descendants of Abraham.  He did not come to help angels. This is why God came down to earth Himself as a human being. As a human, Jesus is able to be a merciful High Priest, who acts an an intermediary between God and man. What sacrifice did Jesus offer as a Priest to take away sin?  His own body was the sacrifice.  He is also to able to help us with the temptation to sin, because in his own body Jesus was tempted and suffered from temptation.  Do you ever feel that you are literally suffering in your temptation?  Jesus can relate to that and rescue you.

What an amazing piece of Scripture.  Doesn't the truth of this just overwhelm you?  What an amazing story.  What a beautiful solution.  Thank you, God.

Psalm 103:1-22

Oh, recite this psalm to yourself out loud.  The truth of it will wash over you like a Spring rain.

Proverbs 26:23

Be wary of smooth words.  They can cover a wicked heart.

What did you learn today?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

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