For a voice of wailing is heard from Zion:
‘How we are plundered!
We are greatly ashamed,
Because we have forsaken the land,
Because we have been cast out of our dwellings.’ ”
Yet hear the word of the LORD, O women,
And let your ear receive the word of His mouth;
Teach your daughters wailing,
And everyone her neighbor a lamentation.
For death has come through our windows,
Has entered our palaces,
To kill off the children— no longer to be outside!
And the young men— no longer on the streets!
Speak, “Thus says the LORD:
‘Even the carcasses of men shall fall as refuse on the open field,
Like cuttings after the harvester,
And no one shall gather them.’ ”
Thus says the LORD:
“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:19-24)
Life is more than our stuff. It is more than who we know, how talented we are, or how strong we are. Life consists in knowing God: knowing that he is strong, talented, knows everything, and owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Our treasure is in him, not in ourselves.
The Israelites had focused their attention on themselves and their needs. They forgot that God knew their needs better than they did. They stressed over their circumstances and tried to fix them on their own. They abandoned God and turned to the lies they thought would protect them. They lost everything because they misplaced life’s source.
God warned them they would need the services of professional mourners because what they would soon face from Babylon was so horrific. In ancient Israel, as in many ancient cultures, it was not uncommon to hire people to cry over a dead loved one at a funeral, much for the same reason so many television sit-coms have studio audiences.
Why is it, when tomorrow has an infinite number of possibilities ranging from horrible to wonderful, do we invest so much time and energy worrying about it? God has only given us today, after all. When tomorrow comes and if bad stuff happens, we’ll need our emotion and energy to live through that then. Why use what we’ll need tomorrow, now, when we’ll need it then?