Sunday, August 5, 2018

Lament Psalms

We've looked at Praise and Thanksgiving Psalms.
Today - Psalms of Lament and Complaint - Psm. 88:1-18  - no word of praise in entire psalm.

Complaints = physical illness, weakness (wiped out,worn out physically)
(more often) = mental anguish, emotional distress
No sense of God's Presence, of God's concern.
Oppression by enemies, abandonment by friends, gross injustices ... prosperity of the wicked, constant troubles of the righteous.  Therefore ... confusion!  perplexity!

The writers express (mostly mental) pain, sorrow, loss, fear, confusion, discouragement, despair, depression.
A weariness with life!!

Laments = (1)  approximately 1/3 of the Psalms, (contain laments)
                 (2) they are part of the Hebrew Hymnal
                 (3)  are used for individual devotions AND public worship
                 (4)  part of inspired Scripture!  - came from God
                 (5)  not unique to Psalms.
Other lament scriptures:
Jer. 20:7-8
Job 6:1-4
Habakkuk 1:2-4
Ezek. 19:1, 14 - to be used as lament and sung as lament
Lamentations 1:1, 5

Laments were very common in Scripture.

AND (6) God does not respond with condemnation
Example:  Jesus - at Lazarus' tomb, weeping over Jerusalem  Psm. 22:1

Why a Lament?
(1)  Life is full of troubles - fallen world, fallen people - Job 5:7  (Eliphaz)
The Resurrection hasn't changed that!!

(2)  When we hurt we want to cry out - we are creatures of passion and expression.

(3)  (Apparently) that's OK   (sometimes)
Example:  Jesus - "Our Father ...."  Zeph. 3:16-17
(Contrast whining, murmuring - example:  the Exodus)  Laments are complaints TO God, not ABOUT God!!
You don't need a Psalm, a song, a poem to lament!

Simple Pattern:   

1)  A lament is a statement of faith and a cry for help - Psm. 70:1-5, 71:1-5

2)  A lament blends what you feel with what you know - (because we are creatures of fact and feeling)  Psm. 13:1-6

3)  A lament expresses your ultimate hope in a Sovereign AND Loving God.  Psm. 30:1-5, 11, 12

Closing Scripture:
Psm. 86:3-7, 12-13 

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