13 What can I say for you, to what compare you,
O daughter of Jerusalem?
What can I liken to you, that I may comfort you,
O virgin daughter of Zion?
For your ruin is vast as the sea;
who can heal you?
14 Your prophets have seen for you
false and deceptive visions;
they have not exposed your iniquity
to restore your fortunes,
but have seen for you oracles
that are false and misleading.
We live in a world in which people want to hear, well, what they want to hear. People love to sit and be encouraged. I know that I certainly like to hear that I have done something, anything, good. We like to think about positive things. We like to fill our lives with positive thoughts.
Unfortunately, positive messages, if that is all we hear, are not nearly enough. We need more, far more. We need messages of truth. If we hear the truth, we will hear great messages of love and encouragement from God; but we will also hear messages that call us to repentance and life change.
The book of Lamentations is a poetic section of the Scripture in which a prophet of God has witnessed the judgment of God falling on the city of Jerusalem. The people of God in Judah had not obeyed God’s constant calls to repent. Thus, God allowed the Babylonians to come into the land and raze Jerusalem to the ground.
Notice one of the major causes of Jerusalem’s destruction. God, through the prophet, says to the people about their teachers, “they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes.” Get that point: if the people of God want their fortunes to be restored, they need teachers and leaders who will expose their iniquity. If the people of God want to please God, they need prophets who will make plain their sin.
It is not popular to discuss sin these days. It is not well-received by the masses. People want to be told they are good. I want to be told that I am good. Yet, if we ignore sin, if we do nothing but build self-esteem, we fail ourselves, our people, and our God. We must have the light of God’s word shined on our sin. We must learn to repent of sin and seek God’s restoration. We must learn to turn from what will never satisfy in order to be satisfied by the glory of our God.
Do you have a pastor who will, from the pulpit, call you by the word of God to turn from sin? Do you truly have someone who will show you what the Scripture says about what you do or how you think? If you have such a preacher, praise God for him and thank him for his work. If you do not have a preacher who will expose your iniquity, go to him and tell him you would welcome the honest, piercing, painful, yet powerful light of the word of God in your life. You need, you truly need, a person who will speak the truth to you. You need someone who will tell you of God’s great love and of his great holiness.