Lamentations: Jeremiah recounts the sins of the people and the judgement of God. In the first chapter he expresses two important needs of the people. First, he points out how there was no one to comfort them during this difficult time. The people didn’t deserve a comforter but genuinely desired one. Second, he identifies the people’s need for restoration. Not only to be restored to the land of Israel but more importantly the need to restore their relationship with God.
Jesus provides for these needs in the lives of His followers. First, He is the means of restoration for our broken relationship with our heavenly Father. Second He sent a comforter to support His disciples. The night before His crucifixion, Jesus promises to send them a comforter (John 14:26). The comforter will teach them all things and will empower them to face the trials and persecution that they would suffer.
Lamentations also teaches us about prayer and the fact God may choose to not listen when we pray. Jeremiah complained that because of the sins of the people, God had “blocked out my prayer” (Jeremiah 3:8) and had “covered yourself with a cloud so no prayer can pass through (3:44). The good news is that because of God’s great faithfulness (3:22-23) He does not “hide Your ear from my prayer for relief” from the repentant and the persecuted. When we pray we must come humbly, repent and ask forgiveness for our sins and ask that all things be done in a way that is consistent with God’s will for our lives.
Ezekiel: While Jeremiah ministered to the remnant that remained in Judah, Ezekiel was God’s messenger to those in exile. It is not surprising that they communicated similar messages. God promises make a new covenant with Israel as He had in Jeremiah chapter 31. He adds that He will “give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 11:17).
Through Ezekiel God also reassures the people that He will regather them from where they had been scattered Just as He promised in Jeremiah 16:14-15. “I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries among which you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel” (Ezekiel 11:16-17).
The broken state of Israel’s relationship with God was reflected in God’s saying He could not find a single righteous man among them (Ezekiel 22:30). In Jeremiah He dais even Moses or Samuel could not intervene for them (15:1); in Ezekiel God says that even Noah, Daniel and Job could not advocate for them (Ezekiel 22:30). We have an advocate with the Father which is His Son Jesus. By His blood our sins are forgiven and our relationship with God restored. The Holy Spirit also intervenes on our behalf to help us in our weakness and to intercede for us and our prayers.
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