A Stranger in Our Home
A stranger in our home can disrupt and eventually destroy what God has joined together and blessed according to His divine plan. How does this happen? It happens when we let our guard down and when our boundaries are not strong enough to protect the precious contents of our marriage and family. “Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to foreigners” (5:2). See also Jeremiah 51:51.
The Book of Lamentations is undeniable proof that God does what He says He will do. “The Lord has done what he planned; he has fulfilled his word” (2:17). He warned Israel and Judah repeatedly that their sin and rebellion would result in destruction to their beloved city, Jerusalem, and the land they loved. However, they refused to believe that anything terrible would ever happen to them, that they were somehow immune to the fallout from their sin. “The kings of the earth did not believe, nor did any of the peoples of the world, that enemies and foes could enter the gates of Jerusalem. But it happened because of the sins…” (4:12-13). It’s typical human nature to believe that bad things only happen to other people.
Flirtation with anyone other than your spouse is opening the door of your heart to the enemy who is intent on destroying you and God’s plan for your life, marriage, and children. We flirt with sin, and at the same time, think it’s ok and nothing evil will come from it. We’re wrong. No one is immune from the consequences of sin. No one.
God allowed the people He loved to experience the consequences of their sin. However, consequences are not the same as punishment. It’s reality. It’s the truth of God’s Word. We will reap what we sow (Gal. 6:7-8). God designed life this way so that suffering consequences might cause us to return to Him.
When we allow a stranger in our home and heart who has no business being there, one reserved for our spouse alone, we will reap trouble and heartache way beyond the present time. How much better it is for husband and wife to cling to each other and to the Lord in love and obedience.
God compares fallen Jerusalem to a widow who has lost not only her husband but everything she holds dear (1:1). “Joy is gone from our hearts; our dancing has turned to mourning” (5:15). She has so much regret. “Jerusalem remembers all the treasures that were hers in days of old” (1:7).
Nevertheless, God still loves Israel. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (3:22-23). Herein is the heart of Lamentations: “Great is your faithfulness!” Oh, that we would have that same love, compassion, and faithfulness to our spouse! It’s the “nevertheless” kind of love.
If we have allowed a stranger in our home, how do we regain that “nevertheless” kind of love? What does the widow do? She acknowledges the truth. “The Lord is righteous, yet I rebelled against his command” (1:18). “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord” (3:40). “Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands to him for the lives of your children” (2:19).
“For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone” (3:31-33). We always find hope in the Lord (3:19-27). So, in the middle of our sin, struggles, temptations, pain, and loss, God is there. We find Him when we admit our sin and rebellion against Him and His Word and turn away from our sin. “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deut. 4:29).
A stranger in our home may be the devil in disguise. Therefore, be on your guard. Reinforce the boundaries. Protect God’s gifts of marriage and family. Refuse to turn over your home and your inheritance to a stranger (5:2).
“Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old” (5:21).
How can suffering the consequences of our sin be a good thing?
Who is the stranger that would invade your marriage?
How do we protect our heart, marriage, and home from the stranger?
Why does God still love Israel even though they have forsaken Him numerous times?
Is it possible for us to have that “nevertheless” love for our spouse?