Lamentations 2:13-17 (ESV)
It is a sad sight to see a believer fall into sin. Even sadder is the sight of a Christian who is receiving the discipline of God when they refuse to return and repent. Though Jeremiah’s words here were spoken to the city of Jerusalem at its fall, they also speak to the heart of every believer as a warning to repent before it is too late. Come with me as I try to paint the picture of the fallen Christian. Mark well what is seen here, and let its lesson not fall upon deaf ears.
“What can I say for you, to what compare you, O daughter of Jerusalem? What can I liken to you, that I may comfort you, O virgin daughter of Zion? For your ruin is as vast as the sea; who can heal you?” Look at this one who is fallen. They were a “daughter of Jerusalem…a virgin daughter of Zion.” Now they are covered with shame and disgrace. What words can be spoken to comfort such a one? There is no comparison in all the world to that of the fallen believer. Their “ruin is as vast as the sea.” The heart is broken, the body exhausted, and the spirit brought low. “Who can heal you?”
O, but how did they get in this condition? “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 and misleading.” This terrible discipline has come about because the believer would not heed correction and rebuke from the Word of God and those who teach it. Instead, they listened to the voices of this world, leading them astray into the way that leads to death. Popular opinion has acted as a false prophet, predicting a future and hope where none existed. Look long upon this sad image and learn her lesson. Beware the false prophets of the world!
How now do her neighbors see her? “All who pass along the way clap their hands at you; they hiss and wag their heads at the daughter of Jerusalem: ‘Is this the city that was called the perfection of beauty, the joy of all the earth?'” Those who once believed the best for this fallen believer now see nothing but disgrace. The shame of her sin touches all of the community, not just herself. She is no longer “the joy of all the earth.” Now she is repugnant and terrible to look upon. Do not linger long near her or you will catch her deadly disease!
As for her enemies, they laugh her to scorn. “All your enemies rail against you; they hiss, they gnash their teeth, they cry, ‘We have swallowed her! Ah, this is the day we longed for; now we have it; we see it!'” The children of the devil, the enemies of Christ, pass by in procession and look with scorn and derision at this fallen believer. “Never again will she rise! We have won the victory!” This adds nothing but more pain and shame to her already horrible state.
But now there is a small glimmer of hope. When we see Who is resonsible for this discipline, we stand in awe and dare not speak a word. “The Lord has done what he purposed; he has carried out his word, which he commanded long ago; he has thrown down without pity; he has made the enemy rejoice over you and exalted the might of your foes.” Yes, it was the Lord Himself Who has done this! But fear not; even now He acts only in love. This wounded warrior of Christ has not fallen eternally, for He can raise her up again! His discipline is stern, but always regulated by His mercy and grace.
Has this pictured your current conditon, Christian? Are you smarting under the correction rod of Almighty God? There is still hope for you! You do not have to continue in this state. Call upon Him, the One Who gave His Only Begotten Son for you. He will surely heed your cries for mercy still. The pain of His discipline may feel intense, “but this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (3:21-23). The Lord is still your portion; therefore continue to hope in Him (3:24).
This does not have to be your fate. Rise up, believer, and return to your God! Return to your Lord Who purchased you at the price of His Own blood. As long as the blood is still there, hope lives on. And He has promised that even your darkest sin and shame cannot wash the blood of Christ away. Come home, dear one! Come home!