God has given us the capacity to weep. In Jeremiah 9, not only was the prophet Jeremiah truly distressed, but also God Himself grieved concerning the spiritual condition of His people.
Why was God mourning? Judah had succumbed to the worst moral failures. They ought to have been holy and righteous as imitators of the Lord, but they were adulterous and treacherous. The prophet very forcefully exposed their lying ways. They were deceivers and liars who kept on adding to their iniquity, moving from oppression and deceit to more of the same.
God needed to respond with correction. “I will refine them and test them.” Ignoring the offenses of His people forever would have been an affront to His own character.
Jeremiah exposed the hypocrisy of the nation, particularly among the religious leaders that were called to speak about the danger of rejecting the Word of God. They should have all been sounding the alarm. Instead they continually said that God would give immediate peace. The people also spoke words of pretense to their neighbors, pretending to love those around them, but then setting up traps to abuse them.
Those who would not listen to the truth did not want to be reminded of the Lord’s Word. They preferred idols and foreign gods. They would soon be thrust out of the land by God.
The Lord Jesus wept over sin and death. He looked over Jerusalem, and mourned about her unwillingness to hear, repent, and draw near to hear His Word. He was brought to the tomb of His friend Lazarus, and He wept, though He knew that He would bring him back to life. God is moved by sin and by the sad consequences of our hardhearted rebellion.
Christ grieved about our sin and misery, but He did more than cry. He defeated sin and death for us through the cross. He took away our guilt and changed our hearts. By His Spirit we have been marked as His and granted a new willingness to hear and follow His voice in the Word.
The One who obeyed the Law so perfectly for us could not be left in tears forever. His victory will soon do more than remove His own grief. He will wipe away every tear from the eyes of all who have been granted new hearts and lives by the Holy Spirit.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord God, we mourn for our loved ones in Your church. They are Your people, but they are adulterers, slanderers, and workers of iniquity who refuse to know You. Refine them, O Lord. Is there some other way besides suffering? Father, we pray not merely about some unknown creatures, but about our own friends, even our sons and daughters, who have not obeyed Your voice. We raise a wailing because of Zion. Lord, we lament concerning Your people everywhere. Young men and women who should have more sense and maturity are in love with foolishness. How can we reach their hearts, O Lord? You must touch them, O Lord, and draw us all back to You.