22.1 – The Voice of Lamentation: Understanding Lament and Its Importance in Christian Worship (Part 1)

Psalm 22

Pattern of the Laments

  1. Address God as God
  2. Bring your legitimate grievance to God
  3. 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.

  1. Invocation
  2. Plea to God for help
  3. Complaints
  4. Confession of sin or an assertion of innocence
  5. Curse of enemies (imprecation)
  6. Confidence in God’s response
  7. Hymn or blessing

Types of Lament Psalms

The lament is primarily defined from the mood. There are three types of complaints:

  1. The psalmist may be troubled by his own thoughts and actions.
  2. He may complain about the actions of others against him (the “enemies”).
  3. 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

  1. Legal 
    1. Legal standing before God 
    2. Legal standing before man
  2. Relational
    1. Relationship with God 
      1. First table
    2. Relationship with man
      1. Second table
  3. Physical
    1. Results from wrath
    2. Results from lust
    3. Results from negligence
  4. Environmental
    1. Famine
    2. Pestilence
    3. War
    4. Death

Lament Psalms

  • 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

Examples

Other Links

The Words of the Lord (Psalm 12) by My Soul Among Lions

The Bible Project’s Overview of the Psalms

Thanks for listening

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