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Like an Enemy

Read: Lamentations 2:1-5

He has bent his bow like an enemy. (v. 4)

In the years leading up to the exile, God identified himself as Israel’s husband and characterized their idolatry as marital infidelity (Jer. 31:32). In Lamentations 2, Jeremiah describes an alarming transformation: God has gone from being a lover to an enemy. Israel’s God has gone to war. However, a careful reading reveals that God wages war not against Israel herself, but against her strongholds, her splendor, the “horn” of her pride and power—all the vain things that Israel substituted for God. His “bow is bent,” but God doesn’t release the arrow of his final judgment.

At times, God may feel more like an enemy than a lover. Carefully laid plans fall flat, ambitions fall short, meticulously constructed lives fall apart. When bad things happen, I sometimes wonder, Is God for me or against me? I may even fear I’m suffering his judgment for some sin. God responds to my question, and my fear, with the sign of the bow. In Genesis 9, God promised never again to destroy the human race. He sealed it with a sign: “I have set my bow in the cloud”(v. 13). God’s bow is strung. But it points upward, away from us, toward the heart of heaven. When God released the arrow of his judgment, it pierced not us but the one who left heaven to be on our side (Isa. 53:5). If you’re in Christ, God is always for you, your friend, your lover, never your enemy.

As you pray, ask God to reassure you of his loving hand at work in all things.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon

Ben Van Arragon is the Minister of Worship and Leadership at Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He preaches and teaches the Bible in church, online, and anywhere else he has the opportunity.

This entry is part 5 of 15 in the series Lamentations: When God is Silent