All who pass along the way
clap their hands at you;
they hiss and wag their heads
at the daughter of Jerusalem:
“Is this the city that was called
the perfection of beauty,
the joy of all the earth?”
All your enemies
rail against you;
they hiss, they gnash their teeth,
they cry: “We have swallowed her!
Ah, this is the day we longed for;
now we have it; we see it!”
The Lord has done what he purposed;
he has carried out his word,
which he commanded long ago;
he has thrown down without pity;
he has made the enemy rejoice over you
and exalted the might of your foes. Lamentations 2:15-17 ESV
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:10-11 ESV
John R. Fox was an American soldier during World War II. He was fighting in Germany, and one day German soldiers attacked the village he and other American soldiers were staying in. The other American soldiers retreated from the village because they were very outnumbered, but Lieutenant Fox volunteered to stay. He used radio communications to direct the artillery being fired by American soldiers who were stationed outside of town toward the German soldiers to slow their advance. Fox directed the fire closer and closer to where he was, and finally he directed the artillery to strike where he was. The American soldiers radioed back that if they did that, the place he was would be destroyed. John Fox knew that he would die if that happened, but he radioed back, “Fire it!” John Fox gave his life, but it was part of his plan to help his fellow American soldiers to reorganize and plan a counterattack. It seemed as if his enemies had defeated him, but John Fox was a real hero.
In Jeremiah’s lament over Jerusalem, he talked about how all the enemies of his people were gloating and rejoicing over what had happened to Jerusalem. They had been waiting for a long time to see Jerusalem’s defeat, and now that they had seen it, they rejoiced. But Jeremiah said that God had been planning what happened for a long time. It was the Lord’s will that Jerusalem would fall, and that the enemies of God’s people would be strong and gain the advantage over them. God was working out his purposes of judgment against his people. It was not for anyone to gloat over what had happened, because the Lord was in control, and they were only carrying out his will.
God’s purposes for his people include both judgment against sin and the promise of mercy and forgiveness. When he sent Jesus to be our Savior, Jesus brought both judgment and mercy. When Jesus died on the cross, all his enemies laughed at him. They were happy because they had been wanting to destroy him for awhile, and now they thought they had accomplished it. What they didn’t understand was that in putting Jesus to death, they were accomplishing the Lord’s purposes. God sent Jesus to die on the cross to take on the judgment of all the sins of the world. Because of what Jesus did, we have God’s mercy, and he forgives our sins. The Lord’s purpose is to save us and to make us his people, now and forever.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to be our Savior, and to take on your judgment so that we could have your mercy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.