Lamentations 4:151(NIV) New International Version Translations
15 “Go away! You are unclean!” people cry to them. “Away! Away! Don’t touch us!” When they flee and wander about, people among the nations say, “They can stay here no longer.”
This book is called Lamentations because it is a collection of sad poems. The five poems are about Jerusalem. God wanted his people to take care of Jerusalem and His Temple. Most importantly, God wanted the Jews to worship Him there. Unfortunately, the people of Jerusalem did not obey God. In the end, God became very angry with them, allowing armies from another country to destroy their city. And God also let those armies take the Jews away and enslave them.
There was one man who loved God as well as his own people. He was saddened to see Jerusalem broken and destroyed. This man wrote this book of five poems about 586 years before Jesus was born. The Jews called this man Jeremiah. Some people think that he also wrote the book called Jeremiah.
In the first two poems the writer himself speaks. Then he makes the city’s people speak as if the city were a woman. In the next two poems, only the writer speaks. In the last poem, he writes as if the city’s people are praying to God. The first poem is about the lonely city. The second poem says that God was like an angry enemy. In the third poem, the writer remembers that God is good. God wants people to love him. Then the writer begins to be hopeful. In the fourth poem, the writer describes what the terrible enemies did to the people in the city. In the last poem, the city’s people realize that they have been bad. They repent and appeal to God for forgiveness.
Biblical Truths and Theology
This is about sin. The sins they were charged with, for which God brought this destruction upon them, and which served to justify God in it (v. 13, v. 14): It is for the sins of prophets and priests. Not that the people were innocent; no, they loved the sin (Jer. 5:31), and it was to please them that the prophets and priests did as they did. However, the fault is chiefly laid upon the leadership, who should have taught them better, should have reproved and admonished them, and told them what would be the results of such sinful behavior.
What was their sin? They shed the blood of their innocent children, whom they sacrificed to Moloch along with the blood of righteous men that were among them. The people’s sacrifice was under the pretext of religion. This was that sin which the Lord would not pardon (2 Ki. 24:4) and which brought the last destruction upon Jerusalem (Jam. 5:6) God tells them “You have condemned and killed the just.” The priests and prophets were the ringleaders in persecution, just as in Christ’s time the chief priests and scribes were the men that incensed the people against Him.
Now these are those that wandered as blind men in the streets, v. 14. They strayed from the paths of justice, were blind to everything that is good, but to quickly do evil. God says of corrupt judges, They know not, neither do they understand; they walk in darkness (Ps. 82:5); and Christ says of the corrupt teachers, They are blind leaders of the blind, Mt. 15:14. They have so polluted themselves with innocent blood, the blood of the saints, that men could not touch their garments; they made themselves odious to all about them, so that good men were as shy of touching them as of touching a dead body, which contracted a ceremonial pollution, or of touching the bloody clothes of one slain. There is nothing that will make prophets and priests to be abhorred so much as a spirit of persecution.
Items for Discussion
- In the days of Jeremiah, the prophets and priests were the teachers of the people. Who are today’s teachers of the people?
- Can you think of a few contemporary examples of where people are being misdirected, lead, taught to sin?
- There seems to be a correlation between the direction of leaders to facilitate sinful actions by the people and the people’s enjoyment of those sins – Does this go on today? Can you give some examples?
- Jeremiah is using the analogy of a “leper” when he talks about the sinful nature of people wandering through society. Why is this comparative example effective when today’s sinful actions of people are compared to their wondering around society as “lepers.”
- The sin of the people was to sacrifice children and innocent people. Do we do this today? Can you think of examples?
- How does God feel about this type of sinful behavior? (read 2 Kings 24:4)
12 While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” 13 And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately the leprosy left him.
In chapter 5 of Luke, we have the following:
- Christ preaching to the people out of Peter’s ship, for want of a better pulpit (v. 1-3).
- The compensation Jesus made to Peter for the loan of his boat, in a miraculous draught of fishes, by which he intimated to him and his partners his design to make them, as apostles, fishers of men (v. 4-11).
- His cleansing the leper (v. 12-15). IV. A short account of his private devotion and public ministry (v. 16, v. 17).
- His cure of the man sick of the palsy (v. 18-26).
- His calling Levi the publican, and conversing with publicans on that occasion (v. 27-32).
- His justifying his disciples in not fasting so frequently as the disciples of John and the Pharisees did (v. 33-39).
Biblical Truths and Theology
Leprosy is the word in the Bible for some serious skin diseases. But the original word that was used included other diseases, as well as what we know as leprosy. As the leprosy spreads, it eats away the sick person’s body. And in those days, there was no way to cure leprosy.
When a person had leprosy, they were considered unclean in the Jewish religion. That meant that the person with leprosy had to keep away from other people. When other people were near, they had to cover their upper lip. And they had to cry, ‘unclean, unclean’ (Leviticus 13:45-46). A person with leprosy could not work in order to earn the money that they needed. The leper had to depend on the kindness of other people in order to live.
Items for Discussion
- Is sin in our society today really as bad as having leprosy? Why or why not?
- Why were the lepers ostracized from society? Does this still work with sin today?
- What can you learn about Christ through this miracle?
- What can you learn about being healed from this leper?
- What can we learn about how society should co-exist with sin from this story?
- How do we create a sanctuary for the lepers of society in our churches today?
- 1(NIV) New International Version Translations