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by Saundra Washington  
11/30/2010 / Devotionals

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under... Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: 'A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.'" Matthew 2:16-18.

Here is the problem of pain and suffering in its rawness. Ramah is our world, and the cry heard in Ramah reverberates through the corridors of history to our very age.

David is hurting deeply. Not physically, but emotionally and spiritually. The end of Absalom is sad, especially when we reflect upon what that young man "might have been:" and the saddest wail which ever went up from a broken heart was that of David at Mahanaim when he learned of his son's death: "The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: 'O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!" 2 Samuel 18:33. This is the cry of humanity.

Tear bottles, called lacrymatories, were used among the ancients for collecting the tears of mourners. These bottles were then placed in the tombs of the deceased. They were made mostly of glass but other materials as well such as pottery.

We discern from Psalm 56: 8 that they were known in the time of David. The application made by David is to his own tears of sorrow of which God had kept an exact record. He varies his prayer in this metaphor on the basis that God had already anticipated his request and entered an account of every tear in His book. In fact, David realized that all the details of his life were in the foreknowledge of God.

We recall that as Jesus approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace, but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you." Luke 19:41-44.

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing" Matthew 23:37.

The destruction of Jerusalem was a horrific historical event. Countless people died in unspeakable ways. Jesus understood that it would be so, and he mourned over the devastation and human cost. However, Jesus knew God well enough that He could envision YHWH working through such a tragedy to bring about His creative desire. Jesus drew solace, hope, and a prophetic inclination from Isaiah 29 to express His vision for Jerusalem renewed.

He is weeping over lost people, judgment, and disaster. We must not lift our heads up too quickly from the page lest we miss the Master's heart. Think and ask yourself about how often (if ever) you have wept over your city.

Saundra L. Washington D.D., Founder, AMEN Ministries., serving spiritual and bereavement needs:

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