Click here to download – JTTC Lament 3-22-20 notes
Lament – a way to get the hurt and pain off of you and onto God.
Psalms of Lament seem to have 5 parts to them:
Protest – Here’s the problem I have.
Precise – The exact nature of the problem is expressed.
What do I need to do? – Self-reflection on whether or not I’m the reason for the problem?
Promise – We promise to God that we will do something differently.
Praise – Finally we can see the purpose in our pain and give God praise!
Another way of saying it – three phases:
Cruising – everything is going great…
Crashing – things are going unhinged…
Crushing – things are turned around or at least my perspective has changed in how I see it…
Benefits of Lamenting:
1) Lamenting brings your sadness to God\
2) Lamenting invites God’s power into your pain
Often in our culture when it comes to emotions of sadness and sorrow, we deal with it this way:
Stuff it – I’m just going to stuff this down.
Redirect it – I not only stuff it, but put my focus on other things so I don’t have to deal with it.
Vomit it – when we spread out our pain and sorrow to everyone.
Lament – Lamenting is when we direct our pain and sadness to God.
3) Lamenting brings confidence in Christ
Look at 5-6…
Discussion Questions: (For your Family, Online or Personal Study)
- Do you find it easy or difficult to express honest emotions to God? Why or why not?
- Pastor Scott talked about the different ways that we deal with sadness and sorrow. We either stuff it, redirect it, vomit it or lament it. What is your normal way of handling your sadness, sorrow, or anger?
Take some time to read through another Psalm of Lament together, Psalm 142, then discuss these questions. Hold off on reading the ‘answer’ area until you’ve discussed the question for a while. Don’t feel like you have to hit every question.
- Where is David when he is writing this (see superscript in the Bible)?
We are told that this is a Psalm of David that he wrote while on the run from King Saul. Pastor Scott taught us that David was anointed King of Israel (1 Samuel 16:12) but did not sit on the throne until 13 years later. In those thirteen years, David is on the run living in the desert, just trying to survive. So he writes this Psalm from that perspective.
- Who is David talking too?
David is directing this song to God. Laments are always directed to God.
- What kind of prayer is this (vs. 2)?
- What is David concerned about in vs. 3?
- How is David feeling (vs. 4)?
- From David’s perspective, why should God listen to him (vs. 6)?
- Why does David want help (vs. 7)?
- What do you think it means that David is complaining to God?
We think of complaining as a bad thing. We often say that if you can’t say anything nice, then you shouldn’t say anything at all. Yet, when it comes to how we relate to God that is far from the Truth. When we complain, it is usually to people that we trust and feel safe around. Kids will complain to their parents…even use phrases like they hate them and never want to speak to them. But those feelings never stay long, and once those feeling pass, the relationship is resumed.
Even though David is complaining this is actually a sign that He trusts in God. David feels safe enough with God that he is expressing his trust in the Lord through his complaint. And God is open to hearing and receiving their complaints. God is strong enough and powerful enough to handle our pain and our complaints.
- Is David’s concern literal or metaphorical?
David is writing about a clear and present danger in his life. The threat that he is facing is King Saul and his army. They are hunting David down and trying to kill him and destroy anyone else who would dare support David. We don’t know the specifics of how Saul’s army was hunting David, but from this Psalm, we can imagine that they were setting traps and ambushes attempting to capture him.
- Does it seem like David is bargaining with God? What does the reveal about David’s state of mind?
When you read vs. 7, it seems like David is telling God to help him so that he can praise God. This seems to indicate that David’s prayer is a prayer of desperation. David needs God to show up and save him and is trying to convince God of this. The idea of trying to convince God of anything may seem unimaginable but in our times of desperate need, we may feel like we will do anything to get God to do something for us. This is another example of how the Psalmists are connecting with reality. When people go through difficult and tragic experiences we often pray as if we can bargain with God. If we promise to do certain things then maybe God will do what we want Him to do for us. Maybe God will come through if we can strike a deal. And God entertains these types of prayers because God meets us where we are at. God was meeting David in his desperation.
- How do you think David would use his freedom if he was free from his situation?
David seems to indicate if he was free he could praise God’s name and then gather together all those who are righteous and seek to give God praise and worship. David is hoping that freedom from pursuit will lead to peace and prosperity in his life. For the most part, in his life, he makes good on his promise. David, as king, makes the lives better for his people, exalts God’s name. David is known as a man after God’s own heart.
- What are the caves you are hiding in?
The caves symbolize the dark and painful circumstances and places we are in. Some of us are in those places by the choices of others…or because of our own sin. Some answers may be caves of depression, the caves of abuse, the caves of joblessness, singleness, transition, struggling marriages, or childlessness.
- As you read through the Psalm, does David’s complaint resonate with you? The power of the Psalms is that we can put ourselves right in them. What about his complaint is connecting with your heart?
- What is your “How long, Oh Lord….” situation? What is your “into your hands” I commit this situation?
(thanks to Liquid Church for the help with the discussion questions)