Lamentations 5:16, 17
The crown is fallen from our head: woe to us, that we have sinned!
The promise of sin is something very different from this; no flattery is untried, no prospect withheld, which may induce men to rebel against God. But, as with our first parents, as with the dwellers in Jerusalem, so is it in the experience of all men; the promises which sin makes are unfulfilled; the wages of sin are death.
I. THE PICTURE OF DEGRADATION. It is highly figurative language which the prophet here employs; but it is not exaggerated, it is not unjust.
1. The head is uncrowned. Judah's independence and freedom was as a crown to the head; but the Chaldeans tore it off and flung it away. They who defy God must lose in so doing all that is most honourable, most sacred, most precious.
2. The heart is faint. Judah's joy was turned into mourning, her hopes were dashed to the ground; how could the heart be other than faint? The ways of sin are ways of disappointment, weariness, and distress. The heart of the transgressor sinks within him when he sees the fruit of his doings.
3. The eyes are dim with watching for deliverance, with tears of woe.
II. THE CAUSE OF DEGRADATION. Judah may have been unwilling to admit the truth, and may have been disposed to attribute calamities to second causes. But the prophet was just, and laid his hand upon the true explanation when he confessed on behalf of his countrymen, "We have sinned!" Trace up human misery and national disaster to the source, and this is to be reached only when we come to defection and departure from the righteous Lord.
III. THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF DEGRADATION. "Woe unto us!" is the cry of the prophet. When men sin and suffer but fail to acknowledge their own ill desert, the intentions of Providence are as yet unfulfilled. The sin must be taken home; the punishment must be acknowledged just; the confession must be penitent, sincere, and frank.
IV. THE LESSONS OF DEGRADATION.
1. Let the virtuous and obedient abjure self-confidence and cherish trust in God.
2. Let the tempted beware of the foe, and watch and pray lest they sin and come into this torment.
3. Let the smitten sinner repent and turn unto the Lord and seek pardon and renewal. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned!