The LORD is in the right, for I have rebelled against his word (Lamentations 1:18).
The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah penned these words after the destruction of Jerusalem. The “I” in verse 18 refers to the city of Jerusalem as a representative of the people of Israel. The description of their wicked sins is definitely PG-13 at times. Yet, it really boils down to this one verse—they rebelled against God’s word. It always boils down to rejecting God’s word which, in turn, is rejecting God himself.
A few months ago, Dan Phillips wrote an interesting article called The most offensive verse in the Bible. In the article, he wisely identified Genesis 1:1 (“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”) as the most offensive verse in the Bible. For when we reject God’s word we are rejecting his claim to be who he says he is—the Creator. We can either accept Genesis 1:1 and bow the knee. Or, we can take offense at God and rebel against him.
Jerusalem rebelled against God and their wickedness was exposed (and compounded) over time. God was patient, but his justice and righteousness eventually prevailed. As it always will, because “the Lord is in the right.”
Lamentations should be a warning to us. The sins of the Hebrew people in the 6th century BC could never be as great as the sins of the world we live in today. Not just because of our debauchery, but because we have rejected the Son. We have been provided a more clear witness to God’s salvation than they had, yet we rebel. We are without excuse. One day, we will suffer a fate similar to Jerusalem when the Lord treads upon us as in a winepress (Lamentations 1:15). We have been warned.