As we read through the Book of Jeremiah we are confronted with a very familiar refrain, “God would never do that!” This is what the Lord’s faithful spokesman encountered when he exposed the gaping distance between the standards God had commanded in his word, and the values his society had settled into—especially when he began to speak of the Holy One’s response to the unrepentant:“Why are you always so negative Jeremiah?” “Don’t you know the Lord loves us?” “I could never imagine God being harsh toward us.”
When Jeremiah diagnosed their sin problem few people listened. When he tearfully went on to relay the prognosis of sin’s consequences they turned to persecute him. Sadly, the Book of Lamentations follows the Book of Jeremiah. “God,” as Paul wrote, “will not be mocked” (Gal.6:7). The law of reaping and sowing will most assuredly prevail—that is, unless penitent sinners humbly reach out for the grace of God. Jeremiah pleaded with his generation; why should anyone stubbornly resist God’s grace and be forced to face his justice? (27:12-13; 38:20)
Let us be thankful that for our generation the gracious opportunity still exists. Our “Book of Lamentations” need not be written. Grace can prevail. Forgiveness is available. In Christ we can instead inscribe songs of restoration and relief.