Monday, February 25, 2013

2nd Sunday of Lent: Lamentations 2

The Book of  Lamentations was written about 586 B.C. just after the events he is lamenting, the siege of  Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, the destruction of the 1st Temple, the capture of Zedekiah and the exile of the Jerusalem.

Each poem shows graphically the destruction, and we are told very clearly that this is God's judgment.  Indeed, Nebuchadnezzar, nor Babylon are mentioned by name, according to many a sign to indicate even more that this is a judgement from God. 

It is a dangerous thing to be the chosen people.  The Jews were held to a higher standard of behaviour, because until the coming of Messiah, they were to be a blessing to the world around them, but part of the way they were to accomplish this was through holiness of life.  We see repeatedly that the prophets call Yehudah and Shomron to repentance over and over, but the people never seem to learn.  If anything, after Shomron was detroyed by Assyria, the people of Yehudah should have been quaking in their sandals.

The second chapter of Lamentations also throws blame on the prophets, not the real prophets whose preaching is found in the Bible, but those false prophets who tell us all is well, those self same prophets who said nothing when the people were worshiping false gods, were mistreating the poor, and forgetting the importance of fidelity in marriage. 

Today, Christendom stands at the cross roads.  There are some prophets trying to warn us.  Our churches have become worldly.  We have forgotten the poor, forcing them to work seven days a week for our convenience, making new workers work part time so they can be fired without increasing unemployment taxes, hiring illegals without providing for them a  living wage, nor health insurance in order to save money.  Sunday is no longer a day of rest, a day of worship, or a day for family, but the most important shopping day of the week.  We have forgotten that marriage is the icon of the relationship between Messiah and his church, and reflecting that, 50% of our kids are born out of wedlock.  We encourage premarital and extramarital sex, and then tut tut when the kids of such unions are abused and grow up in poverty.  God is trying to get our attention.  When 9/11 occurred, a few voices cried out, this is a warning from God.  But all too many laughed at them.  "God doesn't punish nor judge us!"   Ask the people of Israel, driven out of their country three times.  Ask the Jews of Germany, who according to their own Messianic preachers were driven out for reason of greed. At one time we believed in God, a God who moved mountains, a God who was leading this country.  Most Americans and Europeans no longer believe in the true living God.  They believe in the Santa Claus god who gives them what they want, but who makes no demands. 

Well, that is not God.  YHWH Shebaot,  EL Shadai is the Lord and Judge of the Universe, and when he returns, it will be in judgement.  It is time for the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand to repent.  The judgement will come soon, unless we repent.  Ninevah, that great and evil city was preserved because they repented after Jonah's preaching.  We too can be save if we truly repent, that is by treating the poor fairly, by restricting our sexual relationships to the marriage bed, by casting away the evils caused by putting money ahead of people, by casting away our greed. God wants us to take care of each other.  He wants justice to flow like water.  He wants to see people healed (body, mind and spirit) and reconciled to him, to nature and to one another.  When will it happen, or will the judgement come first?