Saturday, December 22, 2018

December 22 - Lamentations 1

Today's reading in our daily plan is Lamentations 1. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • The book of Lamentations is a 5 chapter poem of grief and mourning over the suffering of the people of Israel during the 18 months of the Babylonians attack. Lamentations is a sad book that describes the plight of the people, their land, and the sacred city of Jerusalem.
  • The author of this book is not identified but many scholars believe it was written by the prophet Jeremiah.
  • Chapter 1 is a description of the present condition of Jerusalem and the people that used to live there but who are now in exile in Babylon. In spite of the multiple prophets over many years who warned of the coming destruction, the Israelites were, in general, totally unprepared for it. They didn’t believe it would ever happen to them.
  • The first chapter begins with an illustration of the humiliation in Jerusalem as it is now deserted with no one traveling the roads or entering the gates. The city has been overtaken by enemies who laughed at the destruction. Verses 8-10 explain that the disaster in Jerusalem was because of the sins of the people of Israel.
  • In the second half of the chapter, Jerusalem is depicted as a lonely, tearful widow who appeals for help by crying out to passers-by, neighboring nations, and to God.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Speaking your grief and pain out loud, whether it is physical or spiritual suffering, has therapeutic value. The poems in Lamentations served as a way for the people of Israel to express sorrow over their losses. They do not dismiss that there is current pain but they also express the conviction that God has dealt justly with his people because they ignored his direction for so long. Recognizing this helps the people maintain their faith in God in the midst of overwhelming disaster.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What emptiness are you grieving over today? Is it a loss that already happened? Or fear of a future loss? Perhaps you’ve lost a friend or family member to illness; maybe it’s the end of a relationship; or worry about potential unemployment. Do you feel abandoned by God? Today, reach out to a trusted friend and be honest with them. Share the pain in your life right now. Take a moment to talk to God about it too. Tell him about the hurt you have. It’s okay to tell him if it doesn’t make sense to you and to ask for comfort.