BIBLE READING: Lamentations 1, 2, 3.1-36
Why study Lamentations?
The realities of sin, suffering, and evil persist in our world prompting many (especially young millennials) to question their faith. These same realities exist still today—post resurrection of Jesus. As Paul laments in Rom 7-8, the sinfulness of man and the suffering of all creation leave him and it groaning for a time of redemption.
Richard Oster calls Lamentations, “the best commentary on Romans 8.” Lamentations confronts these questions and God’s role in them while providing a voice of heartfelt emotion but steadfast hope in the God who chastens.
Lamentations deals with the reality of our world emotionally, and leaves it to marinate on the heart of the reader. The poems give voice to deep pains and questions for a 6th century BC audience, but still gives voice to many in pain today. But the poems are given to God in the form of lamenting prayer, petition for him to act differently in the future.
-Chapter one personifies God’s people in Jerusalem (Zion) as a widow who once had it all as a princess but now lives as a slave. The transgressions against God led to this lifestyle.
-Chapter two focuses on God’s anger with Jerusalem’s sins. God’s anger begins this poem (2:1a), ends it (2:22b), and covers everything in between (2:1c, 2b, 3a, 4c, 6c). It is clear that not only Zion suffers—God has been deeply hurt and moved by their sins.
-Chapter three: This poem, along with the voice of the Daughter of Zion (chapter 1), sandwiches the brutal acts of God enumerated in 2:1-22 (esp. 1-8). When we see this man lamenting we see glimpses of Job sitting and suffering in ashes.