While reading through Lamentations, I came across a moving passage that sent me running to Jesus and thought I’d share it with you.
Lamentations 1:14 “My transgressions were bound into a yoke; by his hand they were fastened together; they were set upon my neck; he caused my strength to fail; the Lord gave me into the hands of those whom I cannot withstand.”
Israel, after years and years of unfaithfulness to the Lord, highlighted by idolatry and social injustices and oppression, was sent into exile. Most of them were taken out of the land that they loved, the land they were promised by God Himself. However, he told them that if they didn’t follow Him faithfully, they would be given the old “heave-ho.” This is spelled out clearly in Deuteronomy 28.
Jeremiah really examines and reflects upon the depths they have fallen. Like a one hit wonder, they were on top for a time, and now they are on the bottom. And they are now experiencing the punishment, for a season, for their unfaithfulness. They are given but a taste of ultimate judgment, the experience of carrying their sins around their necks.
But there is hope to come. Jesus calls people to believe and follow Him, and he promises the opposite of this passage. Instead of carrying the yoke of sin, in Matthew 11:30, He claims “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” That’s way better.
How is this the case? Well, for one thing, Jesus experienced the wrath of God for us, being exiled from the love of the Father while on the cross. Israel’s exile foreshadowed Jesus’ exile.
The yoke of a Christian’s sin has been carried by another. So it is good to lament, and right for Jeremiah, or whoever wrote that book, to lament. But because of our vantage point, lamentations can ultimately end up in praise.