I remember my surprise to learn that Lamentations 3:22-23, which inspired the lyrics to “Great is Thy Faithfulness” was the end of a lament. I thought it was simply a hymn of praise. How much more meaningful it makes the lyrics to realize that in the midst of EARTH-SHATTERING SORROW, Jeremiah is buoying up his soul by remembering God’s mercies from the past.
How I remember the grief of young friends at the loss of their child,
they signed their letter to family and friends with Lament. 3:22:
Because of His mercies, we are not consumed.
That is our “yet” as well.
We will all walk through deep waters, through the fire, but the difference for believers is that when we walk through the waters, He will be with us, and, this is not the end of the story.
HIGHLIGHTS from LAST WEEK:
I will give just a few highlights each week. I am so impressed with how you are lamenting for one another, holding one another up. You were particularly wonderful with Laura last week.
Sharon gave this great picture of Jonathan’s Edwards point that God looks at us through a narrow and wide focus lens:
Being a photographer this is very helpful. I love macro photography and have taken close up pictures of our huge garden spiders that we have hanging around. It is a much different perspective to see them up close, their eight legs…two long ones in the back, two short ones in the middle, and then the other four are long ones in the front, they look so soft and fuzzy with beautiful colors of yellow, gold, black and white and the webs they weave look like rope. I have also photographed them from a distance and to see their webs in the morning dew with the sun shining through them…they look like pearl beads, not ropes, but you can see in the bigger picture of all the work they’ve accomplished with those eight little legs! I think that’s what God sees through the wide-angle lens is His purpose for us, but yet up close He sees every detail of what will accomplish that purpose.
Diane gave this link from a missionary in Lebanon — his lament posted on The Gospel Coalition. Let us pray together for them:
- When did you realize that Lamentations 3:22-23 was the end of a lament? What does this tell you?
- Tim Keller says that when our hearts say: “There is no hope!” We should argue back. Was there a time you did this? If so, share what you told your heart.
- Read the opening of Chapter 6 in Dark Clouds up to “No Hope” and share what stands out to you.
Monday: Some of Our Best Songs Follow Laments
Prepare your heart with this:
Great is Thy Faithfulness is based on the hope that follows Jeremiah’s lament.
I Know That My Redeemer Liveth is based on the hope that follows Job’s lament.
4. Can you think of any other well-known hymns or songs that are the end of a lament?
There are so many parallels between Job 19 and Lamentations 3!“I am nothing but skin and bones. I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.” (Job 19:20)
The opening of Lamentations 3 so reminds me of Job and his laments – he said very similar things, yet at the close, we have what Handel put to music: “I know my Redeemer liveth!”
5. Read Job 19:17-27
A. What are some of the pictures Job gives God of his woes?
B. In Job 25-27, what vision is Job given? (This is amazing for Job lived in the time of
Genesis.) Find everything you can about heaven!
6. Read Lamentations 3:1-20
A. Find at least 3 pictures Jeremiah paints to tell the Lord of his sorrow.
B. Do any of these remind you of Job?
C. Do any of these remind you of Jesus?
7. Read Lamentations 3:21-24
A. What does Jeremiah do in verse 21? Why is it important to take our souls in hand
and speak truth to them?
B. Why is the believer not consumed by sorrow?
C. How often are His mercies new? Have you found this to be true? Explain.
D. What does verse 24 mean?
Tuesday: No Hope — Dare To Hope
8. In Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy, chapter 6, read the section “No Hope” and share what
stands out to you.
9. Now read “You Have Taken Up My Cause” and share the main point.
10. Bring to mind one time when God “took up your cause.”
11. Read “Dare to Hope”
A. Why is verse 21 the pivot point in this lament?
B. Share a time you had to trust before you knew God would meet you.
C. What do you learn from the Tim Keller quote or anything else in this section?
Wednesday: It is Good
12. Read Lamentations 3:20-24 very slowly and find a nugget of gold to remember. Ponder and apply. This is a rich text.
13. Pastor Mark says that in the Hebrew Lament. 3:25-27 begins with Good — rephrase each of the sentences beginning with Good.
14. What are some good ways according to Lament. 3:28-42 to respond to the Lord’s discipline?
15. How might you do this now? Pray silently or here.
16. Finish Lamentations 3 and find 2 examples each of:
Thursday: Hope Springs From Truth Rehearsed
The reason we keep Gratitude Journals, share God Hunts, or rehearse His promises is to prepare for the inevitable storms of life.
17. Share a recent God Hunt or express gratitude here.
18. Finish Chapter 6 (Hope Springs from Truth Rehearsed) and share notes and comments.
Friday: Reflection Questions
18. In your own personal lament for right now, what are some truths you need to speak to your soul?
19. Choose another reflection question from the book to answer.
20. What is your take-a-way and why?