Waiting on the World to Change… The Light of Hope in a Dark World Ps. 142 and Lamentations 3:1-32 November 27th, 2016
I. WHAT is a LAMENT? (Ps. 142)
A. An expression of SUFFERING or COMPLAINT. (Ps. 142:2)
B. A PRAYER for HELP. (Ps. 142:5)
C. A DECLARATION of TRUST/HOPE. (Ps. 142:7)
Lament is a word we recognize, but not one that we often use in day to day
conversation. But for the Jews, it was a whole genre of poetry. And when it comes to
the text we are focusing in on today…the whole book is a lament. Let’s take a minute
just to understand what this is before we start listening for what it says to us.
1. Have you ever known someone who complained all the time? What about someone
who never complained? Is it okay to complain to God?
2. How honest can you be about your own doubts or struggles? With yourself? With
those around you? Is that good or bad?
3. If you had to write out a sentence or phrase expressing your trust in God or your
hope, what would you write?
II. Why THIS LAMENTATION? (Lam. 1-5)
A. The FALL of JERUSALEM. (Lam. 1:1-6; 3:2,5)
B. Incredible SUFFERING and STRUGGLE. (3:1-17)
C. The POWER of HOPE. (3:22-26)
Why a whole book of Lamentations? Not going to make the best seller list anytime
soon, is it? Things were tough as Jeremiah put quill to parchment. There was a lot of
suffering and brokenness as his people were killed or marched off to exile in Babylon.
Jeremiah doesn’t hide any of it. But right in the middle of the book he embeds 5 verses
that remind everyone of the hope that can have. Great is thy faithfulness…
4. Read (slowly and with feeling) Lam. 1:1-6. Try to imagine what it would be like to be
leaving Jerusalem and heading into exile in Babylon. What might the people be
feeling and thinking?
5. Read Lam. 3:1-18. In what ways can you identify with Jeremiah in these words?
Have you ever felt like God was against you?
6. When have you had to wait on God? What was that like?
7. When has God shown his “new every morning” faithfulness to you?
III. Why LAMENT during ADVENT?
A. To be HONEST about the WORLD as it is. (Mark 8:31-33)
B. To see the GOODNESS of WAITING. (3:24-26; I Jn. 3:2)
C. To REMEMBER God’s FAITHFULNESS. (3:23; Num. 13:27-30)
D. To give the world the gift of HONEST HOPE. (Jn 16:33)
So Jeremiah wrote out of his experience, but why go there during Advent? Aren’t we
gearing up to celebrate Christmas? Shouldn’t these texts be uplifting and focused on
the good instead of the struggle? The Bible doesn’t always work that way. It reminds
us of the reality of suffering so that we can fully appreciate the glory of God’s coming.
There is something powerful about waiting. It shapes us in ways nothing else can.
8. When have you experienced the “goodness of waiting”? What was that like?
9. How honest is the hope that you are offering to the world around you? How can you
continue to offer that hope more effectively?
10.What is the one thing you are longing for God to do during this Advent and