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  • Eric Kampmann

The Doomed City

See Lamentations 1:1–2

It was inconceivable to the people of Jerusalem that their city would fall. After all, this was the city of David, and it was the site of the Holy Temple built by Solomon. The people, particularly the leaders, could not believe that God would permit the barbarians at the gate to prevail.

But the invasion should not have been a surprise because God had sent messengers to warn of what would come if the leaders and the people refused to turn away from their idols and corruption. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah warned of the impending doom: “Disaster will come upon you, and you will not know how to conjure it away. A calamity will fall upon you that you cannot ward off with a ransom; a catastrophe you cannot foresee will suddenly come upon you” (Isaiah 47:11).

The decline and fall of Jerusalem did not happen all at once. It had been “a shining city on a hill,” but over time it drifted away from God. When change is slow and incremental, it is hard for us to see that we have veered off from the original way. And it is still harder to hear that we need to stop doing what we are doing or we might face disaster.

Have we drifted away in our own time and place? The signs would suggest we have, and it appears that the way back will be long and hard.

—Eric Kampmann, Signposts

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