Read Lamentations Three
Waiting on the Lord is often a form of repentance. When we’ve come face to face with our sin, acknowledged it before God as the poet has, and recognized God’s own goodness in keeping His promises (even when they’re for our discomfort), we can then wait on God’s response. This is a vital part of repentance.
How do you see the connection between waiting on the Lord and repentance in the book of Lamentations?
How do you see the connection between waiting on the Lord and repentance in your own life?
We’re going to come back to this question at the end of today’s study, but for now, let’s look at the poet’s ongoing description of what it means to wait on the Lord.
Read Lamentations 3:28-30. Make a few notes about what you think each phrase means:
Let him sit alone:
When it is laid on him:
Let him put his mouth in the dust:
There may yet be hope:
Let him give his cheek to the one who strikes:
Let him be filled with insults:
This is a grace picture. And we can’t help but notice that this is what the poet is encouraging the people of Israel to do, and including himself in the action. He is saying of himself and his people, “Let’s sit and wait for only God to deliver us. We need to wait here, all by ourselves when we see the curses of God come on us for our sin. We will stop up our mouths and be quiet before God. We will bend ourselves low, low into the dust before Him. Maybe even yet God will save us. Let’s lean into the God who is punishing us for our sin, pressing into the One who is bringing this calamity on us.”
Do you see themes of repentance in this passage? Where?
What place does waiting on the Lord have in the process of repentance?
The poet has recognized his sin and the sin of the nation before God. He has taken the first step in repentance: acknowledging God’s character and the ways in which his own actions and Israel’s do not line up with God’s perfect nature. He has also taken the second step of repentance: he has confessed his sin to God, telling God that he and his people were wrong to disobey. Then, the third step is found just a few verses prior: he tells God that He is right to punish him and his country for their disobedience, and he confesses that even this punishment is in God’s good character.
Now he comes to the last step of repentance: he waits.
Waiting on God is the final stage we find in the process of repentance in Lamentations. In this waiting, the poet is acknowledging that he does not deserve for God to come and save him, as he felt in the first chapter. Instead, from the middle of the consequences of his sin, he shuts his mouth, bows before God, and waits. There is no whiff of entitlement to restoration in the poet’s mind. We don’t get the sense that the poet believes that his penance will abate God’s justice. He simply sits in silence, and, knowing the generous character of God, says that there may yet be hope of God’s rescue.
What does this reveal about the poet’s attitude toward sin?
How do you need to adopt this attitude toward sin?
Is there any way in your own life that God would call you to practice waiting on Him as a final step in the process of repentance?
PRAY & REFLECT
Continue to pray about any areas of sin that God has revealed to you. Ask Him to show you what it would look like in your own life to wait on Him as a part of repentance. Ask Him to forgive the times in which you feel you deserve restoration (justice) rather than receiving His restoration as a gift (grace).