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Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Out of the Ruins - Our Daily Bread Ministries daily devotional 4 May Wednesday
He has granted us new life to rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins. Ezra 9:9
In the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem you’ll find Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue. Built in the 19th century, the synagogue was dynamited by commandos during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
For years the site lay in ruins. Then, in 2014, rebuilding began. As city officials set a piece of rubble as the cornerstone, one of them quoted from Lamentations: “Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old” (5:21).
Lamentations is Jeremiah’s funeral song for Jerusalem. With graphic imagery the prophet describes the impact of war on his city. Verse 21 is his heartfelt prayer for God to intervene. Still, the prophet wonders if that is even possible. He concludes his anguished song with this fearful caveat: “unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure” (v. 22). Decades later, God did answer that prayer as the exiles returned to Jerusalem.
Our lives too may seem to be in ruins. Troubles of our own making and conflicts we can’t avoid may leave us devastated. But we have a Father who understands. Gently, patiently, He clears away the rubble, repurposes it, and builds something better. It takes time, but we can always trust Him. He specializes in rebuilding projects.
Lord, You have reclaimed us, and You are remaking us. Thank You for Your love and Your care despite our self-centered and destructive ways. Thank You for true forgiveness and unity in You.
God will one day restore all the beauty lost before.
According to The Bible Knowledge Commentary, one characteristic of the book of Lamentations is the pattern of its laments. “Lamentations is a series of five laments, or funeral dirges; each chapter is a separate lament. A lament was a funeral poem or song written and recited for someone who had just died (cf. 2 Sam. 1:17–27). The song usually emphasized the good qualities of the departed and the tragedy or loss felt by those mourning his death. Jeremiah was lamenting the tragic ‘death’ of the city of Jerusalem and the results of her demise that were being experienced by the people. Thus he used the form of a funeral lament to convey the feeling of sadness and loss being experienced by the survivors.”