I am reminded today again how important it is to read all the Bible. The Word of God reveals to us the nature of God, and that becomes important in understanding the will of God. One Christian blogger wrote recently that the Bible should be understood “as the story of God and God’s interaction with the world. Through reading (and living!) this story we come to know the character of God, and are drawn into imitation of that God.”
It sounds good, until you begin to understand that he means God doesn’t really have any specific will for us at all. We read God’s word and come to conclusions that fit us in our time and place.
If that sounds good to you too, it’s why today’s reading is so important. Lamentations is full of the anger of God. Just notice the repeated references to his anger and wrath in Lamentations 2. Then, take a close look at the results of His anger in chapter three. Who is this one whose bones have been broken, who has been surrounded with bitterness and hardship and whose teeth have been broken? It is, of course, Jeremiah, the prophet of the Lord. His life, however, is but a sample of the punishment God has meted out to His people.
Because they have been disobedient.
Why does good guy Jeremiah suffer so?
Because God’s people stand or fall as a community. It is why Jeremiah, suffering with and because of his people, weeps not for himself, but for them – but I digress.
God has a will. That will is determined, specific, revealed, and knowable. It’s not whatever you want it to be, or whatever suits you or your life situation. It is what suits God. And persistent disobedience has brought great ruin. God is, to use an expression of an aunt now long passed, “mad as fire.”
Can God get this way? What makes Him this way? The devotional reader who looks only for texts that will paint God as a doddering old grandfather who will let his grandchildren get away with murder will end up not knowing God at all, and likely suffering God’s wrath.
On the other hand, God has another side: “Because of His great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.”
Reading all the Bible gives us the balance we need to understand God.