Read Lamentations Three
These last few weeks, we’ve been camping out in Lamentations three. There is so much for us to glean in these verses – both in terms of exegetical richness and in personal application.
I don’t know the life circumstances you bring to the Lamentations study. I don’t know if you are hungry for exegetical study, wrestling through personal sin, or experiencing deep loss. But here is something that I have come to firmly grasp through our study in chapter three: learning biblical lament is something that can be applied in every season of life. When things are difficult and daily life feels painful, we can lean on the pattern of the text to teach us what to do with our grief, letting it point us to God. When our life is stagnant with sin and our hearts have grown hard, we can recite the words of repentance right from the heart of Lamentations, learning the language of grief over our sin, and being reminded what sin costs. And when life is smooth sailing and everything feels just fine, we are warned about the dangers of sin in the pages of Scripture, and we fill our reserves with biblical truth to carry into whatever season lies ahead.
Truly, Lamentations is for every single season of life.
And today, just like the last several, we are going to continue wading through chapter three.
Recall: What place does chapter three have in the overall literary structure of the book of Lamentations?
We closed our study last week by looking at Lamentations 3:25. Even in his darkest days, the poet reminds himself that God is good.
What does the Hebrew word for “good” mean? Flesh out its meaning, looking back at last week’s word study if necessary.
Read Lamentations 3:26-27. Where does this word appear again?
What does the poet have to say about it?
How is “goodness” in verse 25 linked to “goodness” in verses 26 & 27?
The people of God were promised that their sin would lead to destruction. From the very giving of the Law, God outlined for His people blessings that would result from obedience and curses that would result from disobedience. This is where the term “covenant” comes fully into view: God made a legal agreement with His people, a divine contract if you will, to lead them and provide for them. And He wrote right into the heart of His covenant the dim and destructive results that would come from His people’s unfaithfulness to the covenant.
In the book of Lamentations, Israel finds herself squarely in the middle of those curses. The promises of God have been kept, but not in the way of abundant blessing, as we are used to celebrating God’s faithfulness. Instead, the curses that God promised would come have come.
Read verses 26-27 again. What does the poet call good? With this context in mind, why do you think he does this?
God’s goodness – the beautiful nature of His character – is on display before the poet’s eyes as he walks through this season of consequences for his and his people’s sin. He knows that God is good, and he also knows there is inherent goodness in waiting for his good God.
Read Deuteronomy 30:4. Remember that this verse comes in the middle of God’s covenant promises. How does it relate to Lamentations 3:26-27?
When we walk far from God and to our ruin, you and I can know God is good because He promised us – from the very beginning – that sin would lead to death. In the garden God assured His people that sin would separate us from His life-giving Self and would result in spiritual and eventual physical death. And today, in our own lives riddled with sin, we know the pain of this death. It sits with us as we sit with other Christians and feel the pain of jealousy, bitterness, and unholy anger in our chests. Sin separates us from God and others. Sin truly leads to death.
And what should our response be? Wait on the Lord. Turn your eyes toward the good God who brought the consequences He promised, and trust that He will, in His timing, bring you back to Himself. Friends, this is repentance. This is what it means to turn from our sin and towards God. Repentance is less of an “I’m sorry, God” prayer, and more of a sitting in silence, quieting our defensive lips, and waiting for God to come and save us.
In what areas is God calling you to repentance? How can you practice waiting on the Lord in repentance even today and this week?
PRAY & REFLECT
Ask God to reveal any areas of unrepentant sin in your own heart. Ask Him to lead you into repentance. Ask Him to teach you to wait on Him.