The Anger of God
Verse 1 – How the Lord has covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in His anger! He cast down from heaven to the earth the beauty of Israel, and did not remember His footstool in the day of His anger.
Isaiah 66:1 – Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is My throne, and earth is my footstool…
Verse 2 – The Lord has swallowed up and has not pitted all the habitations of Jacob. He has thrown down in His wrath the strongholds of the daughter of Judah; He has brought them down to the ground; He has profaned the kingdom and its princes.
Verse 3 – He has cut off in fierce anger every horn of Israel; He has drawn back His right hand from before the enemy. He has blazed against Jacob like a flaming fire which devours all around.
When God withdrew His right hand, He took Judah’s strength and power and passivity.
Verse 4 – Standing like an enemy, He has bent His bow; with His right hand, like an adversary, He has slain all who were pleasing to His eye; on the tent of the daughter of Zion, He poured out His fury like fire.
Verse 5 – The Lord was like an enemy. He has swallowed up Israel, He has swallowed up all her palaces; He has destroyed her strongholds, and has increased mourning and lamentation in the daughter of Judah.
Verse 6 – He has done violence to His tabernacle, as if it were a garden; He has destroyed His place of assembly; the Lord has caused the appointed feasts and Sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion. In His burning indignation He has spurned the king and the priests.
When God allowed the tabernacle to be destroyed by the enemy, He withdrew His presence among His people. When the temple was gone, it symbolized God’s rejection of His people and was no longer among them.
Verse 7 – The Lord has spurned His altar, He has abandon His sanctuary; He has given up the walls of her palaces into the hand of the enemy. They have made a noise in the house of the Lord as on the day of a set feast.
The building where we worship will decay from within if God’s not in His people there. The people of Judah, despite the beautiful temple, had rejected, in their daily lives what they proclaimed in their worship rituals. Thus their worship had turned into a mocking lie.
Verse 8 – The Lord has purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion. He has stretched out a line; He has not withdrawn His hand from destroying; therefore He has caused the rampart and wall to lament; they languish together.
Verse 9 – Her gates have sunk into the ground; He has destroyed and broken her bars. Her king and her princes are among the nations; the Law is no more, and her prophets find no vision from the Lord.
The ramparts and walls grieve as God measures them for destruction. Their ruin leaves Jerusalem defenseless. God gives them no more instruction for guidance.
Verse 10 – The elder of the daughter of Zion sit on the ground and keep silence; they throw dust on their heads and gird themselves with sackcloth. The virgins of Jerusalem bow their heads to the ground. (This was a sign of distress and mourning.)
Verse 11 – My eyes fail with tears, my heart is troubled; my bile is poured on the ground because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, because the children and the infants faint in the streets of the city.
Verse 12 – They say to their mothers, “Where is grain and wine?” As they swoon like the wounded in the streets of the city, as their life is poured out in their mother’s bosom.
Verse 13 – How shall I console you? To what shall I liken you, O daughter of Jerusalem? What shall I compare with you, that I am comfort you, O virgin daughter of Zion? For your ruin is spread wide as the sea; who can heal you?
Verse 14 – Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not uncovered your iniquity, to bring back your captives, but have envisioned for you false prophecies and delusions.
False prophets were everywhere in Jeremiah’s day. They would rather give false and misleading “oracles”, rather than truly repent. While destruction was immanent from happening, the prophets told the people, “All is well!” However, everything that Jeremiah had told them came true because the was a true prophet of God.
Verse 15 – All who pass by clap their hands at you; they hiss and shake their heads at the daughter of Jerusalem: “Is this the city that is called the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth’?”
Verse 16 – All your enemies have opened their mouth against you; they hiss and gnash their teeth. They say, “We have swallowed her up! Surely this is the day we have waited for; we have found it, we have seen it.”
The city had been known as a perfect beauty and the joy of the whole earth, but now it was the object of ridicule.
Verse 17 – The Lord has done what He has purposed; He has fulfilled His word which He commanded in days of old. He has thrown down and has not pitied, and He has caused your horn of your adversaries.
Judah had been forewarned over and over about the coming destruction, but in the enemies eyes, they thought it was due to their power that they were destroyed. Not true. God had decreed it and carried it out.
Verse 18 – Their heart cried out to the Lord, “O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night; give yourself no relief; give your eyes no rest.
Verse 19 – “Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches; pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord.
God wanted Judah to cry out to Him in the hours from sunset until 10:00 pm – beginning of the night watch. Only when our hearts break over our sin can God come to our rescue. Just feeling sorry over the consequences of sin will not bring forgiveness. But wholeheartedly surrendering will bring His mercy and grace which involves forgiveness.
Verse 20 – “See, O Lord, and consider! To whom You have done this? Should the women eat their offspring, the children they have cuddled? Should the priest and prophet be slain in the sanctuary of the Lord?
During the siege of Jerusalem, the people became so desperate for food, that they fought over whose child they would eat next. How sad that they only had to repent, and then God would have fed them. But their stubborn hearts only kept rebelling against God.
Verse 21 – “Young and old lie on the ground in the streets; my virgins and my young men have fallen by the sword; You have slain them in the day of Your anger, You have slaughtered and not pitied.
Verse 22 – “You have invited as to a feast day the terrors that surround me. Int he day of the Lord’s anger there was no refugee or survivor. Those whom I have born and brought up my enemies have destroyed.”
How much sorrow and destruction does it take for a nation to turn from their ways back to God? Jeremiah had warned them for forty years judgement was coming. When disaster strikes, are you willing to stand on your rebellion or will you stand on the Word of God? His arms are out-stretched to all those who will come to Him!