SIN brings BONDAGE & AFFLICTION back in our LIVES: "Judah has gone into captivity, under affliction and hard servitude; she dwells among the nations, she finds no rest; all her persecutors overtake her in dire straits. Her adversaries have become the master; her enemies prosper; for the Lord has afflicted her because of the multitude of her transgressions. Her children have gone into captivity before the enemy." (Lam 1:3, 5)
They people of Israel has lived through experiences unparalleled and unsurpassed by any other country of the world. They are a unique nation that was carved by God Himself, who redeemed them out of bondage and servitude from their oppressors (Egypt). Their hardship was due to no fault of their own but because they were ‘fruitful and multiplying’ (Exodus 1:9) as God had designed at creation (Genesis 1:28). In fact, they were subjected to tremendous suffering, and had cried out for deliverance. "Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage." (Exodus 2:23)
After God had delivered the children of Egypt through many signs and wonders under the leadership of Moses, God had warned His people time and again that sin and disobedience would bring the bondage and affliction back in their lives. In order to drive the point home, God had Moses remind the younger generation of the children of Israel about this, the details of which are recorded in the book of Deuteronomy. Joshua, who succeeded Moses, also warned the Israelites in his farewell address and the covenant at Shechem (see Joshua 24). Many of the judges who judged Israel after Joshua displayed the need for serving God alone. Even the kings who ruled thereafter (especially David) emphasized the need to serve God and forsake sin through songs, proverbs and words of wisdom. Finally, God sent mighty prophets like Jeremiah who pleaded with the Israelites to turn away from their sins and back to God!
However, the Israelites continued to disregard God and His prophets by committing gross sins and living immoral lives. Due to their constant transgressions, God allowed foreign nations like Assyria and Babylon to take over the countries of Israel and Judah into captivity. For the people of Judah, the fall of Jerusalem was a time of terrible suffering and anguish. It was this fearful catastrophe that brought forth the book of Lamentations as the heart-cry of the prophet Jeremiah. In the book, Jeremiah laments the former excellency and the present misery of Jerusalem for her sin (vv. 1-11). This book was read publicly each year to remind the Jews that their sin had caused their captivity and the destruction of the city of Jerusalem where Solomon’s Temple was situated.
Let us understand that sin brings bondage into our lives! Due to the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, we have been born in sin and trespasses. However, Jesus Christ, the Son of God paid the price of our sin with His own life. "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience..." (Eph. 2:1-2) Jesus had given us true freedom that we need so desperately. "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." (John 8:36)