“Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord; let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven. We have transgressed and rebelled; You have not pardoned.” —Lamentations 3:40-42, NKJV
The word lamentation carries with it the idea of a funeral dirge or a funeral hymn, and the Book of Lamentations contains five funeral hymns. God’s people have been carried away into captivity because of their sin, and they are understandably lamenting over their Babylonian captivity. They are desperately sorry that they have been carried away into this captivity.
But here’s the thing that the Prophet Jeremiah is trying to get through to the people: The punishment for their sin is not as bad as the sin itself. They think that the worst thing that has ever happened to them is the fact that they have been carried away into captivity, but the worst thing that has happened is they have sinned against God!
What a person laments over is a real indication of their character. Jesus sitting on the hill and looking over Jerusalem and weeping over the state of Jerusalem. Paul weeping over the state of the Hebrew people and saying, “I could wish myself accursed from God” (Cf. Romans 9:3). Jeremiah in his prophecy saying, “I wish that my head were a fountain of tears so I could weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people” (Cf. Jeremiah 9:1).
When I was in seminary, I heard Dr. Carl Bates make a statement that has stayed with me all these years: “The thing that’s wrong with us is that the same things that break God’s heart are not breaking ours.”
I tell you what the beginning of revival is, in a real measure: when the things that break God’s heart begin to break our heart. When the things that God mourns over and weeps over and the things that God is concerned about become our concerns. Our problem is that the things that break God’s heart aren’t breaking ours.
When I come to the place where I loathe those things that nailed Jesus to that cross and I gladly acknowledge my own iniquity and I come to Him in heartfelt confession and repentance, that’s when real revival starts—in your own heart and in the life of your church and out into the life of your city. ©2005 Ron Dunn, LifeStyle Ministries
Taken by permission from the sermon “Something to Weep Over,” by Ron Dunn, at RonDunn.com.
Ron Dunn (1936-2001) was an author and pastor of MacArthur Boulevard Baptist Church in Irving, Texas, before launching an itinerate preaching ministry in 1975 that took him to dozens of countries and hundreds of churches and Bible conferences. The Ron Dunn Podcast (on iTunes, Spotify and RonDunn.com) offers many of his sermons.