Is it Time for a National Lament?

3 March 2020

2.5 MINS

I recently preached through the much-neglected book of Lamentations. Set around the time God’s people were defeated by the Babylonians and subsequently sent into exile, it is a profound expression of godly sorry in the face of severe suffering.

What is not immediately obvious to most readers is that in the original Hebrew four of the five chapters are what is called an ‘acrostic’ or ‘alphabet poem’. That is, each verse starts with a subsequent letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It’s as though the author—whom I believe to be Jeremiah—is examining their grief from A to Z.

By the end of my five-week series (I did a sermon on each chapter) I started asking myself, ‘What would a corporate lament for my own nation look like?’ Even more to the point, what topics would I cover and how would I express myself?

What follows is my own very uninspired attempt to do such a thing. I’m sure that there will be some reading this who could do a lot better, so please share with others if you feel so led. But this is a modest attempt to try and give expression to the grief that I, and so many others feel, about the direction our country is heading.

May the LORD have mercy on us and restore us to Himself. And may He use these weak words to bring strength and encouragement to those who would seek to faithfully speak for Christ wherever He has placed us to be. But most of all, may it spur us all to intercede for our nation before our Heavenly Father asking for His forgiveness and blessing.

Australia is a land of immense riches, but now largely worships its own wealth.

Bushfires and disasters besiege us as a nation continually, but still we fail to repent.

Cricketers are worshipped more than Jesus, while the Church is mocked, ridiculed and scorned.

Daily we reject Your laws, and scoff at the prospect that we will ever be judged.

Eternity is a quaint historical slogan, rather than a future God has in store.

Forgiveness is something that we expect to be given, except for the one who still believes in sin.

Grace is the name of a person, rather than a gift from God that each of us desperately need.

History will view us differently, since we have exchanged what is bitter for what is sweet.

I is the centre of our universe, because self is the most important thing of all.

Jesus is used simply as a swearword, rather than honored for the King He truly is.

Kindness is a long forgotten virtue that belongs to everyone except to those of faith.

Love is now what once was lust, and is an expression of whatever one desires or pursues.

Marriage is now completely different to what it has always universally been.

Nothing left is sacred when a child themselves can determine whether they’re a boy or a girl.

Oppression and exclusion now awaits anyone who would challenge the status quo.

Politicians and their parties are divided on what is even right or wrong.

Queens and kings have lost authority, as they themselves are part of the moral malaise.

Religion too is perishing as people transfer their allegiance to things of stone and wood.

Sex is all-supreme, selling everything from food to clothes to souls to even young girls.

Temptation is no longer avoided, but instead a vice to be relentlessly pursued.

Unconfessed transgressions load down people’s hearts with shame and regret and guilt.

Virginity is derided as a sickness, rather than as a virtue to be pursued.

Women are abused and exploited, beaten by men who coerce and abuse.

X-rays of our internet search histories reveal the waywardness of our minds and heart.

Y2K hysteria has now been replaced by a much more apocalyptic and ecological kind.

Zillions of people are living in spiritual torpor, never questioning if there might possibly be something more.

[Photo by Manuel Meurisse on Unsplash]

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2 Comments

  1. warwick Marsh 3 March 2020 at 11:33 am - Reply

    The story in Ezxelkiel 9 below shows the importance of those who mourn and lament over the veil in our nation. Jesus scad in Matthew 5 “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.”

    1Then I heard him call out in a loud voice, “Bring near those who are appointed to execute judgment on the city, each with a weapon in his hand.” 2And I saw six men coming from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man clothed in linen who had a writing kit at his side. They came in and stood beside the bronze altar.

    3Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the Lord called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side 4and said to him, “Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.”

    5As I listened, he said to the others, “Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. 6Slaughter the old men, the young men and women, the mothers and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary.” So they began with the old men who were in front of the temple.

    7Then he said to them, “Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain. Go!” So they went out and began killing throughout the city. 8While they were killing and I was left alone, I fell facedown, crying out, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! Are you going to destroy the entire remnant of Israel in this outpouring of your wrath on Jerusalem?”

    9He answered me, “The sin of the people of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of injustice. They say, ‘The Lord has forsaken the land; the Lord does not see.’ 10So I will not look on them with pity or spare them, but I will bring down on their own heads what they have done.”

    11Then the man in linen with the writing kit at his side brought back word, saying, “I have done as you commanded.”

  2. Sharon Stay 3 March 2020 at 11:58 pm - Reply

    Blessed are those who grieve and lament over the detestable thing that are done in the land. The answer is “yes”,

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