Jerusalem, once so full of people,
is now deserted.
She who was once great among the nations
now sits alone like a widow.
Once the queen of all the earth,
she is now a slave.
She sobs through the night;
tears stream down her cheeks.
Among all her lovers,
there is no one left to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her
and become her enemies. (NLT)
Jerusalem was, humanly speaking, the dwelling place of God. In the time of David and Solomon it was a prosperous city in a relatively powerful nation. God had chosen this people among all people to advance his purposes in his world.
But the mighty had fallen. Our text describes the aftermath of the Babylonian invasion. Many of the people were now in exile. What was left was a pathetic remnant and the rubble of a ravaged city.
This was in one way a ‘one off’ historical event. But it still resonates with us today. Throughout history we have seen the rise and fall of empires. Cities and nations which once were beacons of enlightenment and wealth now amount to very little.
Countries which arrogantly exercise military or economic power over others are on borrowed time. No earthly power lasts forever. This is not only because of normal human cycles of strength and weakness, but is due to God’s judgement on the world.
Evil might triumph for a time, but not forever. Egocentric populists might win favour for a while but their time will pass. In democracies, voters may vote for self-interest over righteousness. In dictatorships, people may be misled and seduced into supporting whatever tinpot tyrant comes forward.
But God will always have the last word.