The look back usually raises more questions than answers. Of course, the answer man today has a very simple pro forma response to any question about cause. Today, it's the governments fault. More specifically, it's the President's fault. We're all-Pro at the blame game, as long as we can fling catalytic issues toward someone else. And, that's the deal with the Covid-19 virus. You're racist if you blame the Chinese or any other people group and a medical ignoramus if you link this thing to any other contagion. Even so, the questions persist. When did we learn about it? Where did it come from? Who were the first to know? Why was this virus not revealed before it rampaged through China or Italy? Or, the USA? Somewhere in the backdrop of our confinement are the many questions about how something so deadly could fester among us so suddenly!
Jeremiah's second poem mourns leadership. As a prophet Jeremiah held a very high view of God's sovereign reign over all things. As a result, Lamentations 2 heralds the majesty and glory of the glorious God who rules over his creation. Chapter 2 doesn't shift blame to Judah's enemies, their well-equipped armies, or to battlefield drama. In clear and straight-forward language Jeremiah acknowledged God's hand in the pain and suffering so visible around him. The opening verse of Chapter 2 establishes that central theme---
How the Lord in his anger has set the daughter of Zion under a cloud! He has cast down
from heaven to earth the splendor of Israel; he has not remembered his footstool
in the day of his anger.
Lamentations 2: 1, ESV
The realities of God's anger, wrath, lack of mercy, and scorn, while painful and difficult for Jeremiah to express, are referenced with distinct clarity. Reading it makes me wonder about God's patience in dealing with stubborn, self-centered humans like me.
Of course, Jeremiah didn't actually blame God for Judah's sorrowful circumstances. He blamed their religious and community leaders for not being faithful to their duties. Several phrases settle the issue of blame. Make note---
1. God had told his chosen people what would happen if they followed other God's or made treaties with other nations. Their condition was only a surprise because they had developed a lower reverence and obedience to God. .
Phrase 1: The Lord has done what he purposed, he has carried out his word which he commanded long ago (verse 17).
2. God had entrusted this truth to prophets who were expected to instruct the people and emphasize their obedience. These prophets had failed to do so.
Phrase 2: 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 that are false or misleading (verse 14).
3. Leaders had not faithfully prepared their people for such times. Phrase 3: The elders of the daughter of Zion sit on the ground in silence; they have thrown dust on their heads and put on sackcloth (verse 10).
Jeremiah wasn't mourning a lack of God's leadership. God had consistently expected the human leaders to teach the people about their covenant responsibilities and what would happen if they abandoned them. Jeremiah mourned the human leadership, the prophets, priests, and elders who were to be his spokesmen to the nation.
Who caused Covid-19 is only an issue for the blame game people tight now. It is here and is impacting our nation at many levels. We're mourning the loss of some freedoms, perhaps the death or infection of someone close, maybe some financial resources, certainly some comforts. Let's be humble and pray for our leaders at every level of American life. Reference 1 Timothy 2: 1-3. Let's pray that our leaders will be bold and truthful about dealing with Covid-19, whether in the pulpits of America, the state houses, halls of Congress, or the White House. And, let's ask God for a time of spiritual renewal in the hope that a raised awareness of God's truth will guide us in the future.
Pray for our leaders with urgency and hope!