READ: Lamentations 5. Read slowly, keeping in mind other stories you’ve read and heard about the Israelite’s unreliable commitment to God and the times they walked away from him.

THINK: When you hold side-by-side this expression of Israel’s humility with stories of their pride, hardheartedness, idol worship, and rebellion, what is your response to their prayer in this passage? If you were God, how would you respond to them?

PRAY: Read and absorb the following words, spoken by Jesus many years later to the same people, when he came to live his life for them: “Jerusalem, killer of prophets, abuser of the messengers of God! How often I’ve longed to gather your children, gather your children like a hen, her brood safe under her wings – but you refused and turned away!” Stop for a moment, close your eyes, and consider those words from Jesus in Luke 13.

When you see this openhearted love that God continued to have for his people, despite their turning away, what do you feel? Ponder the reality that this is the God who rules the universe.

LIVE: What are the differences between the way that you would have responded to Israel and God’s response? In what ways might your responses and your own heart towards others cloud your perception of how God responds to people? Ask God to help you learn to distinguish your reaction from his, so that you might know more clearly what he is like and better reflect that to those around you.

Adapted from Eugene Peterson in Solo

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