What does it mean to lament? This biblical term means to be full of sorrow and passionately grieve. Many of the psalms express lament, expressing raw emotions of despair and angst to God. It is not surprising that we also find lament in the book of Lamentations.
Lamentations is written in the style of Jewish funeral songs or chants. The author is the prophet Jeremiah who wrote two books. His first book predicted the fall of Jerusalem. Lamentations looked back to mourn the loss of the city.
Lamentations begins by mourning the destruction of Jerusalem (chapter one) and then proclaims God’s anger at the Israelites’ sin (chapter two). In chapter three, the prophet gives a glimmer of hope amid suffering. Jeremiah says Yahweh’s love and compassion for people are neverending and never-failing (v. 22). They are new every day (v. 23). His mercy and grace are greater than any sin in our lives and greater than any nations’ collective sin. While it is difficult, we put our hope exclusively in God and then wait patiently for Him to respond.
However, while we hope and wait for God’s mercies, Jeremiah tells us that we are to “bear the yoke,” v. 27). In other words, we must willingly submit to God’s discipline and learn from Him. We begin by silently reflecting on God (v. 28) and then repent in humility (v. 29). When opposition continues and temptations arise, we are to show self-control and turn the other cheek (v. 30). Suffering from sin is painful. But be encouraged by Jeremiah’s message: Every morning, when you wake up, God’s mercies are new. They are there waiting to give you a second chance.
>> Are you mourning over your own sin, the sin in your family, or the sins of your nation? Does your heart break for the same things that break God’s heart? Take time today to lament, expressing this pain to God and turning to Him for hope and healing.
No one is cast off by You forever. Though You bring grief, You also show compassion, so great is Your unfailing love. For You do not willingly bring affliction or grief on anyone (Lamentations 3:31–33).