Micah Bemenderfer

June 20, 2024

Passage Read: Lamentations 1-4
Meditation Verses: 4:13-16


The prophets and priests sinned against the Lord, shedding the blood of the righteous in their streets, so the people became defiled with blood. They themselves cried out that they were unclean, and the nations refused to give them refuge. But then the Lord says He scattered them and will not care for them because they did not honor priest or favor the elders. The priests were those who killed the righteous! But they were not always so. The priests did not turn away from the Lord without some incentive. They came to care about the opinion of the crowds over the Lord; the faithful priest gave way to the pragmatic priest who gave way to the godless priest, because the people wanted it that way. They didn't want teaching about righteousness and the call to repentance. They didn't want to walk in the old, established ways of God. They wanted freedom and release and new ideas, so they dishonored the elders and ignored the godly priests. New leaders and priests came up and agreed with their views and gave ground, opening the way for the next set of godless demands.


When a nation goes bad, it is both the leaders and the people who are to blame. The righteous leaders may stand against the sinful desires of the people, but the people are many and can agitate for less faithful leaders. The leaders age out or are ignored, but the wants of the people, their fleshly desires, never fade away. They endure and they seize every opportunity to install a lesser leader who will gradually rise in rank and authority, eventually to grant the wishes of the people. The slope is always slippery, and we all stand somewhere on it. To climb upward, toward the Lord and His standards, is difficult indeed; it is even harder to carry the weight of a community. A leader can dig in, take his stand wherever he is on that slope, perhaps hold the community for a time. Maybe another leader will arise, brace himself on the first and press upward another step, and the two can pull the community closer to the Lord, but that requires supernatural strength. "Unless the Lord builds the house, those who labor labor in vain." The righteous, those who truly seek the Lord to do His will, end up as enemies of the community, killed by the priests who were supposed to support them. There are only two choices: live quietly, minding my own business, or be the prophet who seeks the Lord and speaks for Him. Either way, if I walk in faithfulness to the Lord, I'll end up the enemy of even those who claim to worship God but care nothing for His ways.