This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I am focusing in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will post a summary page with some thoughts about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey! Click here to see where we’ve been so far!
The Big Picture of Lamentations:
The entire book of Lamentations is in poetic form. It compiles various individual and community laments. Laments like these are found in Psalms as well as almost every other prophetic book (except Haggai) but this is the only book in the Bible that contains only this type of writing. We can’t really tell who the author is though some attribute it to Jeremiah.
Fun Facts about Lamentations:
- Each of the five laments is 22 verses (except the 3rd one which is 3 sets of 22).
- The first four are acrostics from the Hebrew alphabet, each verse starting with the next letter in the Hebrew alphabet.
- These laments are primarily about the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.
A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:
Some of us are planning to read through the whole book each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.
- “See, O Lord, how distressed I am! I am in torment within, and in my heart I am disturbed, for I have been most rebellious.“ (Lamentations 1:20)
REFLECTION: When was the last time you were “distressed” and “in torment”? What was it about? When was the last time you were that distraught over your sin? What might the benefit be of lamenting our sin before God?
- “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” (Lamentations 3:21-22)
REFLECTION: What threatens to consume you this week? What is overwhelming and stressful? Spend some time “calling to mind” God’s love and ask him to use that to help you be “not consumed”.
- “I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: ‘Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.’ You came near when I called you and you said, ‘Do not fear.'” (Lamentations 3:55-57)
REFLECTION: What in your life or world around you is worthy of some lamenting right now? Get our a piece of paper or a journal page and write a lament of your own. (If you want to get fancy like the author of Lamenations you can even use the alphabet to guide you.)
God’s Grace in Lamentations:
As I skimmed through the book preparing to write this blog what caught my attention wasn’t any specific words on the page, rather, it was the concept of the book itself that almost brought me to tears. So many ‘gods’ in our world are impersonal demanding you to meet some impossible standard and walking away when you don’t. But our God, the hearer of these laments and our own, He leans in even closer in those times. He not only hears our laments but listens and responds. Whether our hard situations are our own fault, at the hand of someone else, or just the reality of living in a fallen world, He stands ready to listen and pour out His love. That’s grace right there!
Some Other Resources:
- The Bible Project summary video of Lamentations
- A Pinterest board with resources and pictures for Lamentations
- Reflections from last week in Jeremiah
- The 66 in 52 Schedule and Tracking Sheet
So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!