ODJ: restore us

May 12, 2014 

READ: Lamentations 5:1-22 

Restore us, O LORD and bring us back to you again! Give us back the joys we once had! (v.21).

He brazenly told me of his life as both a drug user and dealer. I strived to show him that I cared as I described the real and fulfilling life that can be found only in Jesus. He described the death and destruction that he had experienced. My instinct was to try to rescue him, to help him find restoration in God. But, after just a few minutes, he said goodbye and walked away. As I watched him slip into the shadows of the streets, I silently lamented.

Jeremiah was lamenting the destruction of his nation Judah and his treasured city Jerusalem. Most of his people had been destroyed or forced into exile in Babylon. With eyes filled with tears and a heavy heart, he called out to God: “LORD, remember what has happened to us. See how we have been disgraced!” (Lamentations 5:1). He acknowledged the sins of his people that had led to their destruction (v.7). Then he admitted that no human power or remedy could “rescue” them (v.8).

Just like the young drug dealer I talked with, the people of Judah desperately needed the rescuing, restoring power of God.

As he surveyed the condition of his people, Jeremiah plaintively stated, “Joy has left our hearts” (v.15). Why? Because of the brutal things that had been done to them (vv.8-18). But instead of dwelling in self-pity or despair, the prophet lifted his eyes to heaven and proclaimed, “LORD, you remain the same forever!” (v.19). He fervently prayed, “Restore us, O LORD and bring us back to you again! Give us back the joys we once had!” (v.21).

Joy and restoration can be found in Jesus. You have a choice today. Don’t slip into the shadows, but humble yourself before God. Seek His love and healing power, for He alone can restore us. —Tom Felten

Psalm 1:1-6 ‹365-day plan

Read 2 Chronicles 7:14 and consider what is required before God will do His restoring work. 
What sinful attitudes or behaviours do you need to bring to God? Why is He the only One who can truly restore your life?