The Sinking Effect
“Her gates are sunk into the ground; he hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the LORD.” Lamentations 2:9
With terrible grief and an abundance of tears, Jeremiah laments about the condition of Jerusalem. The people had long abandoned following the One True God and their nation was being judged. The nation was already divided and the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah were both overthrown. The Babylonian Empire had come to Jerusalem and totally leveled it. The year was 586 B.C. It was a difficult time to live in the holy land.
This ancient, historical, and holy city was utterly flattened. The king is gone, the temple is destroyed. As Jeremiah surveys the scene, we find the words of Lamentations 2:9. The pride the people because of the city walls for protection and the arrogance of relying on their gates for safety were a source of pride. Watch out for pride. Sometimes in the pride of life, we substitute our sense of safety and the stuff we have for trusting the Lord.
Jeremiah describes the aftermath of the defeat of Jerusalem. In his description, the city gates have sunk into the ground. If you go to the old city of Jerusalem today, you will discover that the city gates that were built during the time of the Old Testament can be found about 25 to 30 feet below where the current walls and gates stand. “Her gates are sunk into the ground.” Wow. Just like the Bible says. The wall and gates Jeremiah saw were rebuilt several times in later days, but it is something to consider while standing outside Jerusalem today to think about the old walls and gates buried below the surface.
God is always true, and His judgment is always right. The city of Jerusalem fell because of their rebellion and sin. Sin does this to us. At the sight of this devastation, Jeremiah cries to the Lord. He sheds real tears and demonstrates real grief for the condition of God’s people. They were away from the Lord.
We must understand that our spiritual lives have a direct connection to our emotional lives. He cried hard because of the spiritual problems his people had. When was the last time you shed real tears before the Lord on behalf of a brother in Christ? How about for the condition of your city or state? Many Christians tend to only show the emotion of anger while others only show the deadness of apathy. These are not the right responses. Jeremiah’s spiritual life affected his emotions.
His solution and remedy for the effects of sin is simple: be sorry for your sin. Jeremiahs speaks of the “mercies of God” being “new every morning” in chapter 3 verses 22-23. He says that there is hope for Jerusalem. This is great news for us as well. He confesses the sin of the people and begs the Lord for restoration. He asks the Lord to “renew our days…” (Lamentations 5:21).
As we look around our nation and around this world, people need to receive hope. Hope is real because of Jesus Christ. Jeremiah said in Lamentations 3:26 “It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.” Hope and waiting quietly are part of the solution to that sinking effect that is caused by our sin.
Pride will lift us up and because it is sin, we will be brought low. The city gates sunk down into the ground and could no longer help. What should I do when “the sinking effect” comes my way?
- Repent of sin and ask for restoration (forgiveness).
- Keep hope alive in your heart. As devastating as life was back then, Jeremiah kept hope that God was in charge and that God was willing to give new mercy every single day.
- Keep serving. “Waiting” on the Lord involves time, but it also includes service. Sitting around and doing nothing in our Christian life does not help anyone nor does it glorify the Lord. Find ways to share the Gospel, help your church, and serve the Lord today.
While waiting for God to take us home to enjoy our eternal salvation, let’s be faithful to avoid “The Sinking Effect” that sin can bring about.