Scripture Reading: Lamentations 1:1-2:6 / Titus 3:1-15 / Psalm 119:113-120
Thousands upon thousands of Jews take a holy pilgrimage to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. The wall is located in the old city of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount. It is a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple’s courtyard. It is the most sacred site besides the Temple Mount.
Throughout the ages, the Wall is where Jews have gathered to express gratitude to God or to pray for divine mercy. The wall has thousands of prayer requests, written on small pieces of paper, crammed in the stone’s crevices. This is a holy site, as the Holy of Holies is believed to be located opposite the wall on the temple mount.
The wall is known as a “place of weeping” because the Jewish people would come to the site to mourn and grieve the destruction of the Temple. According to Jewish Law, Jews are to grieve and tear their garments after seeing the desolation and destruction of the Temple. They are to respond like Jeremiah, the prophet of old.
Jeremiah sat outside Jerusalem, grieving over the destruction, famine, emptiness and helplessness of the city. Jeremiah warned Israel of their great apostasy, now he mourns their destruction. His prophecy of divine judgment was unheeded and now it comes to pass with a fervency that surpasses even his imagination. The book of Lamentations is Jeremiah’s words of grief, dismay and sorrow.
“How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has not become a slave.” (Lamentations 1:1) The nation turned their back on God. They acknowledged Him but did not honor Him as God. Israel even renounced, rebuked and burned God’s Word.
God’s holiness and justice demanded the judgment of Israel but God’s heart was never the less grieved for them. Like Jesus who wept over Jerusalem and desired to gather them to Himself, God longed for Israel to turn to Him in repentance. He longed to forgive yet they hardened their hearts and minds. The aftermath of rebellion is certain… the sure wrath of God. Nations are brought to their knees; families are destroyed; lives crumble in the shambles of regret and remorse.
We have all grieved over the sins of others and our own sins. Some live with the pain of the past and guilt of what they should have done or did not do. I believe Adam and Eve would have never disobeyed God if they could truly understand the consequences of the sin. If we could only fast-forward life and then rewind it…our lives would be much different. God doesn’t do that but gives us something of greater value and reward. He gives us His promises that we can believe in, His judgment that we are to fear and His love that we are to embrace. We are not called to a Wailing Wall of grief, but to throne room of grace, mercy and hope!