Summary: This is a series of readings through the Book of Lamentations.
Letters of Lament – Reading #1
(Disclaimer: If you are looking for a typical sermon series this is not it. Worship can take on many forms. This series is a reading through the Book of Lamentations.)
INTRODUCTION: There are times when we all lament – or need to lament. Times when we have walked down the wrong path – and have found at the end of it – a dead end. At the end of the road we cry out, “What have I done? How could I have been so stupid? How could I have NOT listened to my Father and followed His advice?” As you reach the dead end – you look back and reflect of what you have done to get you to that lifeless spot. You cry out in your desperation – you cry out in your foolishness – you cry out in your sorrow. The book of Lamentations is a book of crying out. As it applies to the Nation of Israel – it applies to the Church – and it applies to you and me. When we have reached the dead end – we cry out too.
1 How lonely sits the city That was full of people! She has become like a widow Who was once great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces (now she) Has become a forced laborer! Lamentations 1:1 (NASV)
O Lord I am so lonely – although I stand in a crowd. People press me on every side – yet I am still alone. I have made myself a widow – though You my Husband are not dead. I was once great – the bride of the Bridegroom – yet now my bridal garment is tattered and torn. I have traveled the wrong road – I have fallen in the mud – I am filthy – I am lost. I am no longer a bride – but a servant – a slave – a slave to my own sin.
2 She weeps bitterly in the night And her tears are on her cheeks; She has none to comfort her Among all her lovers. All her friends have dealt treacherously with her; They have become her enemies. Lamentations 1:2 (NASV)
I weep – I cry – there seems to be no end to my mourning. My tears run down my face – they have formed canyons in my cheeks. There is no one here to give me comfort. I cannot turn to you my husband – because of what I have done. How would You accept me? How would You listen to me? All of my friends have become my enemies – they have turned their backs on me – and whisper among themselves. I have nowhere to turn – I am so alone.
3 Judah has gone into exile under affliction And under harsh servitude; She dwells among the nations, But she has found no rest; All her pursuers have overtaken her In the midst of distress. Lamentations 1:3 (NASV)
I have run – I have run into hiding. I have left my homeland – perhaps never to see it again. The land of milk and honey are only a memory. I have no place to call my own – no place to lay my head. Even when I try to sleep – there is no rest. I have become a slave – a slave to my own sin. My burden is heavy and my yolk is harsh. Those who would take my life do not leave me alone. I have to keep looking over my shoulder – always wondering who is there.
4 The roads of Zion are in mourning Because no one comes to the appointed feasts. All her gates are desolate; Her priests are groaning, Her virgins are afflicted, And she herself is bitter. Lamentations 1:4 (NASV)
There is no joy in the depths of my heart – the place where my Savior whould dwell – Zion is empty. I can find no celebration – I can find not rejoicing. Sundays have become like every other day – Easter and Christmas mean nothing special to me anymore. I am no longer pure – my hands have become filthy. There is no pleasure in me – I am bitter against everyone and everything.
5 Her adversaries have become her masters, Her enemies prosper; For the LORD has caused her grief Because of the multitude of her transgressions; Her little ones have gone away As captives before the adversary. Lamentations 1:5 (NASV)
Those who hate me – rule over me. I have become a slave to my own sins. The evil in my life flourishes. I would need a garbage truck to hold all my sins – and I am not sure that it would be big enough. My sins multiply like rabbits. My children Joy and Gladness have been taken away. They have been put in chains. They are captives. They are slaves – never to be free again. Never to have the Son shine on their faces.