Week 1 – Learning to Lament
I. Lamentations: FIVE heavy POEMS. (Lam. 1-5)
A. A CONTEXT of great LOSS. (2 Kings 24-25)
B. Attempting to bring STRUCTURE to CHAOS. (Lam. 1-4)
C. Hope BURIED in the MIDDLE. (Lam. 3)
The book of Lamentations is an acquired taste. 5 different poetic takes on what it’s like to live in the aftermath of the fall of Jerusalem. It’s the end of the empire, and the hopes and dreams of the Jewish people lie in rubble and ashes. Lamentations chronicles the words that come out of that time of tragedy and trauma.
1. Kid’s question: When were you sad? What caused that?
2. How does our society react to grief and sadness? How do you react to it? Why do you react in this way?
II. The PERSON who has seen AFFLICTION. (3:1-40)
A. The ROLE God has PLAYED. (v.1-18)
B. The UNCHANGEABLE NATURE of God. (v. 19-25)
C. An UNDERSTANDING of the PROCESS. (v.25-39)
D. A Response: EXAMINE and RETURN. (v.40)
The middle poem is told from the perspective of a man who has suffered through the event. As he speaks we hear the raw emotion of the pain and difficulty he has gone through. We also see what it is that keeps him grounded and moving forward through the process.
3. Did God do all the things that the writer accuses Him of in 3:1-18? Would you feel comfortable being that accusatory in your prayers? Why or why not?
4. Which aspects of God’s character are the most meaningful to you personally? Why?
5. As you look back to times of sadness and grief in your own life can you say it was good for you to bear that yoke (v.27)? Why or why not?
III. Practicing LAMENT during LENT. (v.26-28; Phil. 4:6-7)
A. Pray PRAYERS that are HONEST. (v.1-18; Ps. 10:1; Ps. 44:23; Hab. 1:2-3)
B. Hold TIGHTLY to God’s CHARACTER. (v.22-25; Ps 103:6,8)
C. Let the WAITING do its WORK. (v.26; Ex. 33:14; 2 Cor. 3:18; Phil. 1:6)
Lament is a skill that we don’t often develop. By most estimates almost half of the Jewish prayerbook, also known as the psalms, are prayers of lament. Lent gives us a chance to learn how to lament…and to let the lamenting process nourish a deeper and more rooted faith.
6. What is one thing in the world that you “lament” about presently? How can you pray about that honestly this week?
7. What are some specific ways you can grow in resting in God’s nature and character this week? Are there verses you can memorize to help remind you of the truth in difficult times?
8. If you are in a process of “waiting” take the time this week to write out your feelings in a prayer to God, asking Him to do the work in you that the waiting is instigating.