How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow is she, who was great among the nations! The princess among the provinces has become a slave! She weeps bitterly in the night, her tears are on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has none to comfort her. All her friends have dealt treacherously with her; they have become her enemies.
In surveying Old Testament scriptures, there is a striking metaphor for the Christian to be found in the cycle of turmoil and victory, and early destruction, experienced by the city of Jerusalem. The daughter of Zion, this city was to stand as the residence of the Lord in his temple and as a beacon of light to the peoples and the nations living in darkness around her. The problem was that this city and her children had unfaithful straying hearts that repeatedly desired something else, someone else. Unsatisfied in the Lord, she and they enlisted their enemies not only as friends but as lovers. Idolatry and evil practices poured forth from the lips and hands that had been fashioned to worship the one true God.
The people Israel were stricken by an affliction that strikes us today and will continue to affect us while this system of things exists. They were constantly looking over the fence to the other side, and they thought that grass looked a lot greener. Whether they fell to peer pressure or the illusion of prosperity among their enemies, they easily and often strayed from their true friend and lover. They worshiped false gods, practiced abominable sacrifices, and taught their children to love that which is evil. They went from being God’s earthly representatives to resembling him not at all. When they looked like him no more and were indistinguishable from the world, He allowed their great city to fall.
This book walks us through the mourning process, but this is mourning over sin. The path taken by Jerusalem and her people is a dangerous path we might be tempted to take ourselves. When we make friends with the world and lie down with idols and false gods, we walk that path. Her story should be an example for the Christian who professes to be a lover of God, because her fate is not hers alone. Those who court sin and the enemy will face consequences, and that picture is not bright. As we mourn for Jerusalem through this book, let us mourn for our own sin and not return to it. Father, give us what we need to abandon once and for all any idolatry and sin still in our lives.