S192P3 – A people’s lament: the Lord’s withdrawal

Lam. 2:9

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.

I never thought I would gain any spiritual life lessons from a mobster movie, but there was the golden nugget right before me.  The younger man had committed the cardinal sin of the organization and betrayed his fellow brothers.  He decided to work on the side of the law to save himself, and word had gotten out about his plan.  He rushed to his mentor and explained his position, looking for sympathy and help.  The older man listened, then gave him a handful of cash and sent him on his way with the words, “Now I gotta turn my back on you.”  Although the older man was like a father to him and loved him very much, he had no choice in that moment but to withdraw his hand.

The Lord is wise and just, and He knows what it will take for us to be chastened as we need it.  He withdrew his hand from Jerusalem because that is what was necessary for her to learn.  The sinking of the gates is his removing his hand of protection.  The scattering of her royalty means He no longer would ensure their unity.  He even ceased to speak through his own people; the prophets were silent.  These people behaved in such a way that their defiance of God showed that they did not want him.  The gentleman that He is, and the wise teacher and Father that He is, He withdrew his hand from them simply to give them what they desired.  The hope was that they would learn that what they chose was not what they needed.

We can push God away enough to make him withdraw from us.  He is long-suffering and gracious, but He also knows the hearts of men.  When we have grown hard and cold, and we have resigned ourselves to be without him, He will give us the room to see life without him.  If we are wise, we will learn from Jerusalem and her people, and we will ask God to reveal the errors in our ways that push him far from us.  Let us pray that we will live in a way that brings us closer to God.  Let us seek revelation for repentance that we would have our hearts changed to be more inclined to him.  Father, if we have drawn away from You in any way, correct us and draw us nearer.