Why so Sad? Lamentation in Scripture

sacklothThis is a worksheet i am presenting to the Adult class on Sunday, November 17, 2013.

Click this: The Lament for the document or read the cut and paste version below.

The response of Mordecai to the decree against his people is found in Esther 4:1

 

“When Mordecai heard the news,

he tore his clothes into shreds,

wrapped himself in coarse burlap,

covered himself with ashes

and walked into the middle of the city,

wailing loudly and bitterly.”

             The response of Nehemiah to the news of the sad state of the remnant in Jerusalem is found in Nehemiah 1:4

 

“When I heard these things,

I sat down and wept.

For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed

before the God of heaven.”

 

These represent two categories of “Lament” found in the bible, especially the Psalms.  Biblical scholars are able to identify a particular order that these Psalms take.

There are a number of passages that contain the laments of communities: Psalm 44, 74, 79, 80, 83, 89; Lamentations 1,2,4,5; Jeremiah 14; Isaiah 63:7-64; Habakkuk 1.  When the whole community faced a crisis a time of fasting was called and prayers in the form of laments were heard.

There are also laments of individuals. There are about 50 in the Psalms (3-7, 10-14, 16-17, 22-23, 25-28, 31, 35-43, 51-59, 61-64, 69, 71, 73, 86,102, 109, 130; Lamentations 3, Jeremiah 11, 15, 17, 18, 20; parts of Job.

Jesus said,

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Mt 5:4  

            Question: Why do you think there is so much lamentation in the Bible?

Study:

Psalm 13

For the director of music. A psalm of David. 

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

This is a typical outline of an individual Psalm of Lament:  where do you find them is Psalm 13?  (Trick, psalms are not mechanical, they do not always contain all the parts.)

1. An Address to God and initial Petition

2. The Lament: often contains a statement about the prayer (“I”) about God (“you”) and an enemy (“they”).

3. A Confession of trust

4. A Petition, for God’s favor, his intervention and/or  a reason for God to act.

5. A Promise to God

6.  Thanksgiving in anticipation.

Key (don’t look here if you want to find your own answers first)

 

Psalm 13

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

 

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
for he has been good to me.

1. An Address to God and initial Petition

  • v. 1a “Lord”

2. The Lament: often contains a statement about the prayer (“I”) about God (“you”) and an enemy (“they”).

How Long (4x)

  • I – v. 2a
  • You – v. 1 a,b
  • Enemy – v. 2b

3. A Confession of trust

  • V. 5a

4. A Petition, for God’s favor, his intervention and/or  a reason for God to act.

  • Favor v. 3a
  • Intervention  v. 3b
  • Reason   v. 4a

5. A Promise to God

  • V. 6a

6.  Thanksgiving in anticipation.

  • V. 6b
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