22 – The Voice of Lamentation
Pattern of the Laments
- Address God as God
- Bring your legitimate grievance to God
- Rest in the promises of God
Structure of the Laments
In the book “How to Read the Psalms” by Tremper Longman III, he goes a bit more in depth into the lament structure. Not all of these are always together, but often are.
- Plea to God for help
- Confession of sin or an assertion of innocence
- Curse of enemies (imprecation)
- Confidence in God’s response
- Hymn or blessing
Types of Lament Psalms
The lament is primarily defined from the mood. There are three types of complaints:
- The psalmist may be troubled by his own thoughts and actions.
- He may complain about the actions of others against him (the “enemies”).
- He may be frustrated by God himself.
Longman, T., III. (1988). How to Read the Psalms. Downers Grove, IL; Nottingham, England: IVP Academic; Inter-Varsity Press.
Addressing God as God
Before we can come to God with our lamentation, we must know who God is. Some of the pertinent basics are that God is in control, God is good, God’s plan is perfect, God hates evil, God does not delight in human suffering. If we do not believe these things, then we cannot tether ourselves to God’s promises as we wrestle with our sin and suffering.
Consequences of Sin Discussed in the Psalms
- Legal standing before God
- Legal standing before man
- Relationship with God
- First table
- Relationship with man
- Second table
- Relationship with God
- Results from wrath
- Results from lust
- Results from negligence
- Community: 12, 44, 58, 60, 74, 79, 80, 83, 85, 89, 90, 94, 123, 126, 129
- Individual: 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 13, 14, 17, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31, 36, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 59, 61, 64, 70, 71, 77, 86, 120, 139, 141, 142
Specialized Lament Psalms
- Penitential: 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143
- Imprecatory: 35, 69, 83, 88, 109, 137, 140
- Psalm 12 Communal
- Psalm 42-43 Individual
- Psalm 51 Penitential
- Psalm 137 Imprecatory
- Psalm 88 The Darkest Psalm
The Words of the Lord (Psalm 12) by My Soul Among Lions
The Bible Project’s Overview of the Psalms
Thanks for listening
The Balm of Gilead podcast is a member of the Tech Reformation family of podcasts. If you enjoy the show, please share it with others. We enjoy hearing from you, so join us on the Tech Reformation Slack and let us know what you’re thinking. If email is more your thing, write to us at thereis <at> balmcast <dot> com. Thanks again and we’ll see you next time, Lord willing.