But you, O LORD, reign forever; your throne endures to all generations (Lamentations 5:19).
Taken out of its context, this verse from the prophet Jeremiah appears similar to many other verses that extol the eternal reign of the almighty God. Read in the context of chapter 5 and the even the whole book of Lamentations, the statement is surprising. The Israelites have been utterly devastated. Here is a partial list from chapter 5 of the atrocities that have befallen them:
- Lost their homes and wealth to foreign invaders
- Lost family members
Jeremiah recognizes that these things can only occur because God has turned his back on that sinful nation. God had taken away his protection and favor. So, Jeremiah appeals to the sovereign Lord to restore the nation to himself. As much as we desire God’s favor, it often takes the trials of this life to remind us to turn back to him. Like Jeremiah, we must turn to the Lord in repentance and look for God’s mercy.