Two books of “gloom and doom” are found in the Old Testament: Job and Lamentations. The main body of both of these is a series of laments over tragedy. For Job, it was personal tragedy—rather, a whole series of them. For Jeremiah, who wrote Lamentations, it was national tragedy as he toured the ruins of what had been his beloved Jerusalem.
But in the middle of each book shines an outstanding expression of hope.
Job, after expressing a lot of complaint and despair, bursts out with a statement of faith that on which Handel based a beautiful air in his Messiah:
But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
and he will stand upon the earth at last.
And after my body has decayed,
yet in my body I will see God!
I will see him for myself.
Yes, I will see him with my own eyes.
I am overwhelmed at the thought! (Job 19:25-17 NLT)
And Jeremiah—right smack dab in the middle of his anguish, he exclaims:
The faithful love of the LORD never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!” (Lamentations 3:22-24)
When gloom and doom loom on my horizon, Lord, let me see that silver lining and hope in You!
Imagine yourself living in Jerusalem during the last days before Nebuchadnezzar and his armies wiped it out. As your world rushes toward oblivion, what is going on in this nation?
–Idol worship, with its immoral practices, is rampant .
–Crime and violence are everywhere. (Ezekiel 7:23)
–God’s holy place is the site of blasphemous practices. (Ezekiel 8)
–Preachers assure the people that God won’t punish sin. (Ezekiel 13:8-10)
–Parents are sacrificing their children. (2 Chron. 28:3 & 33:6)
–Bearers of God’s warnings are mocked and silenced.
What parts of this are not happening again today? As our nation and the whole world hurtles headlong toward certain catastrophe, how do we live?
Do we stick our heads in the sand? Do we shrug our shoulders? Do we drown it all out with false assurances? Do we commit to being faithful to God regardless of the consequences? Do we “stand up and raise [y]our heads, because [y]our redemption is drawing near”? (Luke 21:28)
Is God still in control? Yes! It’s all written in the book of Daniel. All present (and future) human governments will be demolished as those in the past have been, and will be replaced by God’s glorious and eternal kingdom. And the good news is that know I’ll be part of that! You can be, too .
God’s chosen nation was collapsing from the moral vacuum caused by rebellion against God and corruption in leadership. And on the outside, Nebuchadnezzar’s army was attacking. God’s patience had finally run out.
Jeremiah was God’s man on the scene. A dozen times in his book he debunks the false prophets’ repeated assurances that all would be well. Like this in chapter 14:
13 Then I said, “O Sovereign LORD, their prophets are telling them, ‘All is well—no war or famine will come. The LORD will surely send you peace.’ ”
14 Then the LORD said, “These prophets are telling lies in my name. I did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own lying hearts.
But there is hope of peace after the punishment has been endured and the hard lessons have been learned. Peace on God’s terms necessarily involves cleansing from sin and rebellion. But wow, the benefits are out of this world!
“The time will come when I will heal Jerusalem’s wounds and give it prosperity and true peace. I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and rebuild their towns. I will cleanse them of their sins against me and forgive all their sins of rebellion. Then this city will bring me joy, glory, and honor before all the nations of the earth!” Jeremiah 33:6-8
What kind of peace are we looking for in our world and our lives?
A fragile peace on this earth, IF nations and individuals can solve their differences and piece back together shattered economies?
Or the true and lasting peace that comes only by turning to God and accepting it on His terms?