1:1-22 – Jerusalem had fallen into hard times – ‘she who once was great among the nations… has now become a slave’ (1). The explanation for this sad situation was not hard to find – ‘Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean…’ (8-9). Could things be turned around? Could there once again be blessing? There was a way back to God – the way of being honest before Him. They needed to look seriously at their way of life and think seriously about their attitude towards the Lord. They were not to adopt an arrogant attitude – ‘There’s really nothing wrong with us. We’re doing all right’. They were to come to God with a real confession of sin: ‘The Lord is righteous, yet I rebelled against His command… O Lord,… I have been most rebellious’ (18,20). God’s blessing will begin again when we confess our sin.
2:1-22 – Jerusalem’s fall into hard times was not ‘just one of those things that happens’. God’s people brought it on themselves. They did not take God seriously – but God continued to take them seriously. They ignored God – but God did not ignore their disobedience to Him. They sinned against God – and He was angry with them: ‘How the Lord in His anger has set the daughter of Zion under a cloud!’ (1). This was not just a case of glibly saying, ‘The good times will come again’. They needed to recognize why the bad times had come: ‘The Lord has… carried out His threat’ (17). The Lord had warned His sinful people. Judgment was on its way – if they refused to listen to Him. Now, in the time of His judgment, God is still calling us back to Himself: ‘Cry aloud to the Lord!…’ (18-19). Will we return to Him?