The Lord has swallowed up; He has not spared
All the habitations of Jacob.
In His wrath He has thrown down
The strongholds of the daughter of Judah;
He has brought them down to the ground;
He has profaned the kingdom and its princes. (2:2).
God’s Anger is fiercely described against the daughter of Zion, His chosen people, and the land of His Promise. He has covered them with a cloud in His anger, cast from heaven their glory, swallowed up, not spared, thrown down, brought down, and profaned His people and their practices. His fierce anger has cut off their strength and burned like a flaming fire consuming round about. And that’s just in the first three verses.
From there we read, He bent His bow, poured out His wrath like fire, has become like an enemy, has violently treated His tabernacle, has destroyed the appointed meeting place, has caused their feasts to be forgotten, has despised, rejected, abandoned, and delivered His people into the hand of the enemy, and has determined to destroy them for He has not restrained His hand.
Did you find yourself asking why their punishment was so terrifyingly brutal and unrelenting? As I found myself in this place of wondering, I was reminded of the fifty years Jeremiah spent speaking God’s warnings to them, holding back nothing of what was coming, fifty years pleading with them to turn away from their false hopes and turn to the only One able to save and worthy of trust. Fifty years of them stopping their ears and refusing to hear, listen, repent, and obey.
And today, the end result of their refusal is graphically depicted. His wrath is released; and in His wrath, He has thrown down every stronghold. This word stronghold is also translated as fortified cities.
strongholds, fortified cities: 4013. מִבְצָר miḇṣār: I. A masculine noun meaning fortification. It is used of a building or set of structures designed for efficient military defenses… a strongly fortified city… fortresses in general… fortifications on a wall and including the wall …” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
But it is interesting to note that while we read in the Old Testament of God as a Stronghold, this Hebrew word in Lamentations 2 is not used to describe Him. This word is used to describe structures, walls, and cities built by man.
God’s anger was inflamed as His people had turned away from Him, to fortify themselves in their pride, convinced they were capable in and of themselves to construct their own place of purpose and protection in their own beauty and glory; their own kingdom and rulers; their palaces; their religion and priests; their ritual sacrifices; their walls and ramparts; the strength of their gates; the law and their prophets; the wisdom of their elders; their city; and their place in history.
They failed to see God’s hand of provision in all of these. They had willingly taken His gifts and willfully refused to acknowledge Him as the Giver of every good gift, and in so doing turned to the god of self as the master of their destiny.
And everything they had fastened their grip on, holding tightly for fulfillment and protection, safety, and salvation, would be thrown down. For even though they knew God, they had exchanged Him, Our Unshakable Stronghold, for their own ideas and designs, and had placed their faith in the shakiest of hope, in the work of their own hands.
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures, (Romans 1:21-22).
And the tragic outcome in this second chapter of the book that “consists solely of laments,” describes God throwing down every man-made hope, every self-effort of strength, every artificially manufactured method of religion, confirming that He alone is able to save, He alone is able to protect and defend; for He alone is Our Unshakeable Stronghold.
Consider Him, Our Unshakeable Stronghold
Only God is Our Unshakeable Stronghold. Any other thing we attempt to seek, every other thing we endeavor to make as our stronghold, He will shake loose from our grip that we would seek Him as our only refuge and Unshakeable Stronghold.
The Lord will roar from Zion
and raise His voice from Jerusalem;
heaven and earth will shake.
But the Lord will be a refuge for His people,
a stronghold for the Israelites, (Joel 3:16 HCSB).
And when our grip is loosened from the false hopes of self-help and we place our faith in what only He can do, we are placed in His hand to be held tightly and never shaken loose. Only in His Son do we have security, for only in Jesus do we find Our Unshakeable Stronghold in His gift of Eternal Life.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
How do we respond to Him, Our Unshakeable Stronghold?
Let us learn from the people of Judah. For in His Faithful Love, God will shake anything we are holding on to for our security other than Him. And that is His gift that will keep us from finding ourselves in life choices that lead to a life filled with lamentations. Let us live in gratitude that we are so positioned in His Unshakeable Kingdom to never be shaken, but let us be moved to offer our lives in reverence and awe to Him, Our Unshakeable Stronghold.
And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” 27 This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29 for our God is a consuming fire, (Hebrews 12:26-29).
Let us live each day in unshakeable faith seeking to see only Him as Our Unshakeable Stronghold.
I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken, (Psalm 18:8).
And when this world tries to shake our faith, let us find our rest in God alone as He has revealed Himself in the Truth of His Word. He only is our Salvation. He only is our Rock. He only is Our Unshakeable Stronghold, and on that Truth we can stand secure all the days of our life and forever.
I am at rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from Him.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold; I will never be shaken, (Psalm 62:1-2 HCSB).