Best of Daily Reflections: When God Feels Like Your Enemy

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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My Lord has become like an enemy. He devoured Israel; he devoured all her palaces; he made ruins of her city walls. In Daughter Judah he multiplied mourning along with more mourning! (CEB)

Lamentations 2:5

Talk about contrast! In yesterday’s reflection from Psalm 104, we saw the playfulness of God, who created Leviathan to play in the sea. Today, we confront a text that envisions God, not as a playful creator, but as our enemy.

Lamentations 2:5, like the chapter in which it is located, attributes the destruction of Jerusalem to God’s activity. Yes, he did this through human enemies (2:7). But behind the agency of Babylon was the strong arm of God. Thus, the writer of Lamentations says, “My Lord has become like an enemy. He devoured Israel; he devoured all her palaces; he made ruins of her city walls. In Daughter Judah, he multiplied mourning along with more mourning” (2:5).

Notice that God started to be like Israel’s enemy. The writer knows that, in fact, God wants the best for his people. He does not say, “My Lord has become an enemy,” but “My Lord has become like an enemy.” Thus, Lamentations 2:5 models, on the one hand, the kind of stunning bluntness that we have already seen in this biblical book. Yet, on the other hand, this verse gives evidence of faith, embattled faith, struggling faith, but faith that God is not really the enemy.

Most Christians will go through seasons of life when God feels like anything but a friend. Perhaps we’ll wonder if God has simply turned his back on us. Maybe we’ll suffer so much that we’ll begin to feel as if God were our enemy. Lamentations urges us not to hide these feelings or pretend that they don’t exist. At the same time, this book encourages us to hang onto the truth about God, to trust that he is who he has revealed himself to be, even if we can’t make sense of his actions or inactions.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Has it ever seemed to you as if God were your enemy? If so, what did you do? Why might God allow us to get into a situation where he seems to be our enemy?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, I know you are not my enemy. In so many ways, you have revealed to me your grace, kindness, and love. Thank you.

Yet, there have been times in my life when you have mystified me, times when I could not understand what you were doing or what you were not doing. Though I have never said that you feel like my enemy, my secret thoughts have come pretty close to this. Thank you for seeing everything about me, even that which I try to keep away from you. Thank you for looking upon me in mercy. And thank you for reaching out to me in love, making sure that I know you are a friend like no other.

I pray in the name of Jesus, who reveals the true nature of God. Amen.