28 But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ 30 Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ’ 31 For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry (Luke 23:28–31, NKJV)?”
Jesus used the figure of green and dry wood to warn the daughters of Jerusalem to mourn the difficult, deadly days ahead for Jerusalem (Luke 23:27-30). Verse 30 quotes and applies Hosea 10:8, which spoke of God’s judgment and punishment that Samaria would not escape. (This reference is used in Revelation 6:15-16, depicting the sure and inescapable nature of divine judgment.) The “green wood” period was no doubt when the Messiah was with them. His words and works brought life to Israel like a green spout. Yet they rejected and killed Him. Since that is how they acted when things were good, imagine what they would do when God removed His blessing and brought His judgment upon the city. Terrible things would be done (Matt. 24:9-12). Historians record accounts of cannibalism and other atrocities in Jerusalem during its siege and destruction by Rome in A.D. 70. We ought to believe, obey, and rejoice in the blessings of Christ (Eph. 1:3). If not, we will undoubtedly mourn when God’s wrath punishes our disobedience (2 Cor. 10:6; 2 Thess. 1:8-9).
2 Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart. 3 Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better. 4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. (Ecclesiastes 7:2–4, NKJV)
The Bible says there is “a time to mourn” (Eccl. 3:4). Today, September 11, 2016, is such a time. Fifteen years after that dreadful day in America, we remember the thousands of lives lost, pay tribute to their memory and honor the untold sacrifices of family, of friends and of our nation. May we never forget. May we never forget. Life is not simply one big party. Death crashes the party – often unexpectedly, yet eventually and inevitably – for us all. The value of sorrow in this life is found in its ability to motivate us to greater good, to live godly and so prepare for our own departure from this earth. The time is coming when our soul will be required of us; we will die. Be wise then, and “set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live” (2 Kings 20:1). The house of mourning helps you do that.
9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (James 4:9–10, NKJV)
Pride is subtle and sinister; a sin that is only overcome in Christ by godly sorrow and complete repentance. Pride lifts up a person in his own opinion of himself. Humility, on the other hand, lowers its estimation of itself before both God and men. Pride leads people to laugh at sin instead of mourning its pain, sorrow and spiritual death. We must mourn our transgressions instead of taking pleasure in sin. Then, our heart is in the right position for the Lord to lift us up. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4).