Today’s readings are Ezekiel 19 and Hebrews 8.
“…This is a lament and it is to be used as a lament”( Ez 19:14).
In Ezekiel 19 the fate of Judah’s princes is sealed. The lions would be trapped (8-9), the vine chopped down from its lofty position and replanted in a desert land (12-13) and the rulers scepter was gone.
This is not a pretty picture. We can accept that there was still hope as spoken about in 17:22-24, but the present picture or situation that is being painted is one of unimaginable disaster and doom.
This is a true lament. Normally when you are at a funeral you here of the virtues and deeds of the person who has departed. The goal as many would say, is to literally eulogize the virtues of the deceased while grieving at the tragic or untimely nature of their passing (see 2 Sam 1:17-27). Here we see the prophets replace the list of virtues with another list. This list is a list of faults.
Too often we can feel uncomfortable with a lament. We always want the story to end on a high point. The hero returns, there was a surprising recovery, death was no longer immient, victory was snatched from the jaws of defeat and they lived happily ever after. Yet the truth is often very different.
For many people their present life or even existence is often less than wonderful. As Christians this really should not surprise us. Jesus speaks about this in John 16:33. It is good news that he has “overcome the world”, but there is an acknowledgment that we will have trouble while we live.
Today what are you lamenting over? How has your past driven you into the arms of our loving savior? As we lament over the things that once were, let us also hope and pray for the things that are to come.