Traditionally believed to be the work of the prophet Jeremiah, Lamentations is filled with the cries of physical and spiritual agony brought on by the consequences of sin—abandoning the ways of God for the ways of men. At the time it was composed, Jerusalem lay in ruins at the hand of its enemies. And yet, even in the worst of times, there was still hope to be found in God.
Interestingly, much of the book of Lamentations is set out as an elaborate acrostic in Hebrew. All but one of the chapters contains twenty-two verses or stanzas which begin with the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet, in alphabetical order. It is both a prayer and a sort of poem that expresses the pain of God’s people. Lamentations calls upon the people to repent and submit to God, while at the same time calling upon God for forgiveness and for vindication against their enemies.
God desires that we express what we are feeling and then turn toward Him in trust.
The book of Lamentations reminds us that a cry of despair over misfortune and suffering—something we all experience from time to time—is a valid form of prayer. God desires that we express what we are feeling and then turn toward Him in trust. For, as chapter three reminds us so beautifully, God can always be trusted.
“Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for his mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness!”
(Lamentations 3:22-23, CSB)
Here’s a short video that highlights five key themes from the book of Lamentations. May you be blessed by it.