Lamentations 5: It’s Not Fair! Oh Wait…
This is a pretty fast book, and today we’re in the fifth and final chapter of Lamentations. This chapter is basically a prayer to God about all of the terrible things that the people of Judah were going through. It afflicted everyone from men to women, young to old and rich to poor. Everyone was suffering as a result of captivity, and here is now Jeremiah ended his prayer.
Lam 5:19 Thou, O LORD, remainest for ever; thy throne from generation to generation.
Lam 5:20 Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever, and forsake us so long time?
Lam 5:21 Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.
Lam 5:22 But thou hast utterly rejected us; thou art very wroth against us.
I wanted to point this out because it never says that God was not just. Of course, Jeremiah would prefer that the people come back to God and that the relationship be repaired. However, at the same time, he recognized that God was angry at the people for continually violating His law for a long time. Jeremiah never said that God was wrong for being angry.
This can be difficult one for all of us today. We get mad at God for bringing consequences. We say that God isn’t just, and we want something different to be happening. There are two separate issues here though. Asking God that something different happens is perfectly acceptable. Coming back to God and asking for forgiveness can be the first step in asking God to help us handle difficult situations.
However, it is a different thing to say that God is not just. Jeremiah understood that this was not the problem here. The people deserved the punishment because they had violated the law, and when people violate the law, there are consequences. That is the entire point of our justice system. I entirely understand that the courts are a human system and are occasionally faulty, but the ideal intent of the justice system is that people who break the law and receive appropriate punishment.
Why would we expect anything different of a perfect judge? God knows everything, so He can appropriately adjudicate cases. God’s justice system is certainly capable of bringing punishment when people have violated it, and that is what Jeremiah recognized.
I think that is why we never see Jeremiah say it wasn’t fair. While he certainly seemed to want things to be different, he never once said that God was not fair.