Oh, oh, oh . . .
How empty the city, once teeming with people.
A widow, this city, once in the front rank of nations,
once queen of the ball, she’s now a drudge in the kitchen (1)…
…Jerusalem, who outsinned the whole world, is an outcast.
All who admired her despise her now that they see beneath the surface.
Miserable, she groans and turns away in shame.
She played fast and loose with life, she never considered tomorrow,,, (8,9a),
I have quoted just a fraction of Lamentations 1. Please do read the whole chapter. But you should be able to see from the above verses that it paints a sad picture of former glory,
Tragically, it happens, and we have to say of someone: he/she are not what they once were.
It can happen to anyone of us, so let’s take guard. The grey almost imperceptibly begins to grow and gather ground on the once dark crown. The muscles start to atrophy. The joints stiffen and movement becomes progressively more difficult. In most cases it doesn’t happen overnight, but there is a slow decline through the years. The tide gradually recedes.
In Judah’s case, in today’s passage, the fading of outer glory was the manifestation of an inner spiritual rot. When things go wrong on the inside it will eventually show on the outside.
Recently, I heard an esteemed older colleague speak in public, and he said it was the first time he had done so in a number of years. My thoughts were, ‘He has lost nothing.’ The old clarity and power were there – and the impact. For those who genuinely seek to walk with God, it doesn’t have to be a case of faded glory.
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the Lord,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, ‘The Lord is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.’ (Psalm 92:12-15).