Read the full chapter here.
Lamentations 2 is hard to read, isn’t it? There is death, destruction, and profound disappointment. There is anger, wrath, and stomach-turning scenarios (v.20 in particular). Jeremiah is fully identifying with the grief of those around him (v.11) and is wholeheartedly encouraging people to turn to the only source of respite: the Lord (v.19).
Despite the judgement coming at the hand of the Babylonians, we see in v.17 that it really came by the Word of God:
“The LORD has done what he planned;
he has fulfilled his promise
that he threatened long ago:
He has overthrown you without mercy
and has enabled the enemy to gloat over you;
he has exalted your adversaries’ power”.
Had God’s people remained loyal to Him, nobody could have conquered them. However, because of their persistent sin and rebellion, God allowed them to be conquered.
How would you feel about facing the same kind of judgement?
Seeing it detailed and documented in what we call the Old Testament should really bring it to life for us: the sin and rebellion of God’s people brings about God’s judgement (Exodus 23.21, Joshua 24.19, Psalm 78.56).
How do we avoid this, then?
Do we work really, really hard to avoid sinning and earn our way out of punishment?
If that worked, surely people would have done it already.
There needs to be another way.
“… everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.”
(Romans 3.23-26, NLT)
God, in His grace, has offered you a path away from the punishment.
As Paul wrote to the Romans, we are made right with God when [we] believe that Jesus sacrificed His life.
Somebody had to suffer the consequences that our sin has accrued.
If you want to try and work it away yourself, you are very welcome to try, God will never force anything on you, but you face an impossible task. Rather, turn to Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, turn to Jesus to get right with God and avoid the death, destruction, and profound disappointment that Jeremiah saw here.