While the first lament was of a sorrowing widow, Jerusalem, the second poem comes from the perspective of God’s anger and the devastation it can wield. The author was consumed with sadness and fear. What was going to happen? Writing these words in his own anguish would help people never forget. Do you think that was the author’s intent in the moment?
Lamentations is a book to read in Hebrew, if you can, because some of these poems are acrostic. That means each of the 22 verses starts with a letter from the Hebrew alphabet. One thought as to why the author wrote the laments like that was to facilitate memorization. We, as well as the original audience, should never forget what God’s anger can do. Lamentations helps us remember.
Continue reading “Lamentations 2:1-22 – God’s Anger”
Zephaniah’s oracle now shifts focus to “all” people, not just rebellious Judah. Churches today have coupled this passage with New Testament passages speaking of the final judgment. You may even recognize some of these images have become the lyrics in hymns and worship songs.
This day will be a day of bitter tears, men crying out, all while the Lord’s anger is poured out on all people. It’s not a pleasant picture at all. Yet, it is destruction we can anticipate will happen when the Lord’s Day finally arrives. Will we see it in our lifetime? Only God knows.
Continue reading “Zephaniah 1:14-18 – This Day”
Zephaniah was a contemporary of Jeremiah and would have spoken God’s words during the reign of King Josiah. You’ll recall when King Josiah learned of the scrolls containing God’s law, great reforms began to help the people of Judah to return to God. Zephaniah would help shake the people of Judah out of their complacency so they could understand their hope comes from God.
Zephaniah doesn’t sugar coat the radical message from God but gets right to the point. God’s wrath will sweep away everything and crush Jerusalem and Judah. Even his own creation will suffer. God’s anger has been fueled by all the idol worship that fills the land.
Continue reading “Zephaniah 1:1-6 – God’s Wrath”
How ironic that Nahum’s final oracle would begin with advice on how to prepare for the onslaught. It’s like warning the enemy because what’s coming is just that horrible. I think of the countless flyers the United States dumped from the air over Japan before sending the deadly bombs that ended World War II.
Do you think Nahum intended to give them another chance to redeem themselves? He was certainly making a personal effort to protect them, even though there was no chance for survival. Nahum must have had some difficulty in proclaiming such a message. Bricks would not save them!
Continue reading “Nahum 3:14-19 – Getting Personal”
The city of Thebes was the center of the Egyptian Empire for nearly 1400 years! They fell at the hands of the Assyrians in 663 B.C. Yet Nahum boldly asks Nineveh, “Are you any better than the city of Thebes, situated on the Nile River, surrounded by water?” Of course, arrogant Nineveh would answer, “Yes! We defeated them, didn’t we?” Yet Nahum taunts them just the same using yet another metaphor.
Nahum’s provocation is not meant to compare the relative strengths of the two empires, but to announce that human might is nothing compared to God’s power. This oracle is directed at Nineveh’s false sense of security. They apparently thought they were immune to the wrath of God. We probably know plenty of people even today that have that same false sense of security.
Continue reading “Nahum 3:8-13 – False Sense of Security”