“Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.” Lam. 5:21
I cannot wait for you or anyone else to turn, I must have "my turn." I don’t know for sure if there were what some call the “good old days.” Jeremiah seemed to think so. I suspect there were as well. I remember a world where we did not have to lock our doors. Now we have several dead bolts and a security alarm. Is it my imagination, or are things getting worse? Jeremiah’s Lamentation included this plea “renew our days as of old.” I am not sure what that means exactly.
Whatever this verse means, it is a prayer for revival. Jeremiah explains how revival works. In Jer. 31:18 he wrote “Turn thou me, and I shall be turned”
This sounds like the obvious. It is more. It is the servant’s prayer. It is the believer’s will slipping into its harness, getting ready to go out into the fields with God. It is the song of a soul who delights in being a “worker together” with God. It is meekness, that is, strength under control. It also reminds us of when, in unbelief, we were “out of control.”
Jeremiah explains. Once we thought being controlled by God was too restricting and restraining. We balked at the very idea of submission. Like Ephraim, we “moaned” at the idea of discipline. We were “unaccustomed to the yoke.” But one day, in faith we trusted the One who said “take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly…” His yoke did not chaff the neck. It was, for some strange reason, not only “easy,” but it was delightful to feel God's guidance system on our heart. The willing animal is easily turned with the slightest pull of the reins. Before we knew it the field was plowed, the goods were delivered, the cart returned to its place in the stable. "Turn thou me, and I shall be turned." A yoke is a guidance system, a power train, and a governor. There is one made for the outer and one for the inner man. He who will not know the one, will be forced to wear the other.
America, like Israel has thrown off the yoke of God. Now we wander and think we are free. Without the yoke of internal Christian government nudging us this way or that, our secular society is not sure about which way to turn. So we turn to public opinion, to politics, to fads, to entertainment, to shopping malls for direction. We wander and we wonder which way we should turn. Jeremiah prayed “turn thou us . . . and we shall be turned.” I cannot wait for fifty states to ratify constitutional amendments, instead, I slip my heart and will into the yoke of God and pray "Turn thou me, and I will be turned," or as another said it better, "Thy will be done." And if it be so today, today will go down in my history as one of the "good old days."