Read Lamentations 1
Focus on verse 1
A ghost town is what remains when all the people leave a town or village and all the buildings remain, standing empty and deserted. There is a creepy sort of loneliness that accompanies such a place. This often happens very suddenly to boom towns that grow very quickly into communities that are buzzing with people and activity. At that time no one imagines that a the mine could close, or the factory could shut down. When the anchor business leaves a small community, it often spells the beginning of the end for that community.
Jerusalem had more than just an anchor business leave. Jerusalem was besieged and destroyed by a brutal army. Most of the people were killed during or just after the siege. Of those who managed to survive, the brightest and healthiest were taken to Babylon as slaves. What remained was a rag tag bunch of stragglers who were not bright enough or strong enough to be worth taking along as slaves, and who by some chance managed to avoid meeting the edge of a sword or the point of a spear.
The buildings in Jerusalem were not just empty; most of them had been either torn down or burned or both. What remained were the smoking ruins of a pillaged city. With the last wisps of smoke slowly rising in the background. I suspect the silence would have been eerie. The once busy streets hauntingly vacant, littered with debris from the broken down buildings. Vultures circling as the jackals slink in an out of abandoned buildings sniffing out that last of the bodies left to decay in the sun.
The book of Lamentations is a eulogy for the nation of Israel. While it laments the sorrow and suffering, the author once again references hope in the God whose compassion is “new every morning” (3:23)
Yes, Jerusalem remains a ghost town for seventy years…after which King Darius is moved by God to send a contingent of Jews back to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. Interestingly he sends all the golden utensils, censers, tools and dishes that Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple back with this group. There was never a moment back then when God was not in control of the plan that He had for the redemption of humanity through His people. While there may be times when we feel like everything is out of control…we can be certain of this; God isn’t threatened, He hasn’t forgotten us, everything is going exactly according to His plan. If that happens to freak me out it is most likely because I failed to coordinate my plan with His plan.