Jeremiah, in Lamentations 3:4-6, tells of how God laid siege to Israel. The idea behind the ancient art of siege warfare is that a hostile force would encircle a city and slowly extinguish it. They would not let any provisions in and they would not let anything out. It was a long and terrible process for the citizens of the besieged city. The siege’s goal was to cause an air of desperation and hopelessness inside the city so that surrender was believed to be the best option. God does this to Israel. He lays siege to Israel.
God has removed the goodness of his presence from them. He does not permit anything good to them (comfort, peace, provision) and he is not relinquishing their misfortune (enslavement, starvation, and exile). The outcome of God’s siege is grievous, it is as if Israel has been plunged into a darkness similar to death. Israel’s suffering is so comprehensive, so long-lasting that they consider themselves as dead.
Why would God cause such a situation to His beloved people? To create desperation in Israel. Israel finds themselves besieged due to their unfaithfulness. God lays siege upon their hearts so that they would realize their beloved sins are futile to save. God lays siege upon their hearts so that their hope in sin would finally falter and break. God lays siege to their hearts so that they would finally consider surrendering to God. God’s aims to generate true desperation in Israel, a desperation for Him. He makes it so they can’t even find one morsel of comfort and peace from their sin. He makes it so they would understand their eternal death in sin and their need for repentance and faith in Him.
Praise God that he affords us the blessing of desperation in sin and that we only have one hope of life – our faithful surrender to Christ. Yet, how often do we fortress sin in our hearts. We won’t let go of it. In these moments, for the sake of salvation and His glory, God lays siege to our hearts. At times the only way we understand our eternal desperation is by experiencing the siege of a holy God against the sin we hope in. Is every trial an attack from God? No, sometimes it is simply the natural consequences of our sin. Will God use the destructive ends of sin to cause desperation in our hearts? Yes, as proof of sin’s murderous ends and His own salvific goodness. Is every situation that brings desperation and challenges to our hope a situation that God desires to use to strengthen our faith? Yes, for these trials are for our faith’s completion in God! By God’s grace He proves to us that surrender to Him is our best option.
Do you feel there are any areas in your life that you need to surrender to God?
Are there any areas of your life that you feel desperate in?
How does hope in Christ help you to remain faithful to him?