Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 12:23 am | Fair 60º


Jim Langley: Lamenting on Life

The prophet Jeremiah lived six centuries before the birth of Jesus. He’s sometimes called “The Weeping Prophet” and credited with writing the short poetic book of Lamentations as well as the much longer book of Jeremiah. His ministry task for the Lord was to preach to the recalcitrant Israelites that they needed to turn away from their sinful ways and come back to God.

In short, God’s people had lost their faith. They had become complacent and caught up in the ways of the world, and even worshipped the idols of other nations. Jeremiah prophesied that their enemies would overthrow the kingdom and take them into captivity. His prophecy came to pass during the 70-year Babylonian exile (586 to 516 BC).

His lamentations were certainly justified and he truly cared for his people’s well-being, but he had been told by God that there would be retribution for their disobedience. It’s one thing to lament for God, but it’s totally different to lament on life.

It’s quite easy to get caught up in our daily life issues. Whether dealing with business, church, family or individual matters, we need to see the bigger picture rather than the myopic view of our personal situation.

Life is not always a bed of roses, and the impact of those circumstances around us often has a much greater purpose than what we may personally experience. You see, we have this natural tendency to look only at the way circumstances affect us rather than the bigger picture.

Jeremiah was right in lamenting God’s severed relationship with His people. In Jeremiah 7:1-11, God instructs him to stand at the temple gate and warn His people to change their ways and He will let them “live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers forever and ever.”

In Proverbs 6:20-22, Solomon instructs us, “My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you.”

What God wants from each of us is obedience. In our business dealings, he wants us to consider the impact our actions will have on others and ourselves. In our church affairs, He wants us to simply worship Him, give Him the glory and come humbly to His altar.

In our family matters, He wants us to be pleasing to Him and instruct our family in all His ways. And in our individual endeavors, He wants us to simply place Him and others before ourselves.

If we sincerely look at all aspects of life in this manner, we, too, will lament over our shortcomings in our relationship to Him and others and start every day with a right heart attitude. He simply wants our faithfulness and a contrite heart for all those we meet who are unconvinced that He is the True God and the Author of Life.

In Matthew 5:6, Jesus tells us in the fourth beatitude, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

Do you have an insatiable desire to know God the way Jeremiah obviously knew Him? Let me put it another way: Can you see God lamenting over all who have never come to accept Him as Lord and Savior? Do you have His compassion for the lost?

In Matthew 20:29-34, as Jesus and His disciples were leaving Jericho, two blind men were sitting by the roadside. They shouted, asking Jesus to have mercy on them. They asked Jesus to restore their sight. In verse 34 we’re told that, “Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed Him.”

It’s that simple. Our Heavenly Father laments over all those who have strayed like lost sheep. He wants you to ask Him once and for all for the sight that will heal you and help you see all things differently. We need not lament in life!

Passages to Ponder

» Proverbs 6:16-20

» Jeremiah 7:1-11

» Matthew 20:29-34

» Galatians 5:19-23

— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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