By Earl E. Robertson
The five Lamentations of Jeremiah are composed on the fall of Jerusalem and Judah. The Chaldeans had triumphed in victory over God’s people because of their carelessness and sins. This collection of lamentations are so named because of the nature of its contents. The unutterable misery and disgrace which had befallen His chosen people are mournfully deplored in this book. The captivity and oppression, the destruction of the city, the spiritual carnage and realization of God’s visitation of judgment, produced an entreaty to Almighty God to remove their disgrace and restore them to His favors. In the midst of this nightmare the broken-hearted prophet, with tears running down his face, cried, “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger” (Lam. 1:12).
This scene is often reenacted among God’s people! Ancient Israel was God’s very own; spiritual Israel is today the church of Christ – washed and bought by the blood of Christ. It is the greatest institution in the world and demands the most sacred respect. It should be loved and cherished as Christ loves it (Eph. 5). Yet, it is all too often prostituted by men who claim they love it. They turn it aside from its sacred mission and work and say, “Look what the church is doing!” What they have it doing cannot be found in the word of God. Men cause the church to engage in secular, social, and athletic efforts while the word of God guides it into spiritual and moral missions. Fifty years ago N.B. Hardeman said, “Why, the church to-day in the eyes of the populace is reduced to about a parallel with the Red Cross.” Again, he preached thirty-five years ago, “It is not the work of the church to furnish entertainment for the members.” But the absence of Scripture and the dutiful warning of men like Hardeman mean absolutely nothing to the egg-head, social-type, fun-loving elders and preachers of our day. One church recently spent one quarter million dollars for a “Wildlife Oasis” in Tennessee; another church gave Freed-Hardeman College a check for $2,500. No, there is no Bible authority for this kind of church action, but the brethren have been told “Any `good work’ which the individual, as a Christian, is obligated to support financially, the church is equally obligated to support financially.” Where are the people who want Bible for church action?
Truth Magazine XXIII: 38, p. 620
September 27, 1979