This session carried on with the theme of last week regarding communication with God, but this week we focused on the laments in the Bible. This is something that stuck out to me when looking at the Bible. The New Testament seems to include a lot less lamenting when compared to the Old Testament. At first, this gave me the impression that maybe God is simply kinder in the New Testament, but this session really helped me look into the deeper significance these Old Testament laments and what they could mean about the relationship humanity had with God at this time.
A quote we were shown in today’s session from D.A Carson summed up the laments perfectly, “There is no attempt in Scripture to whitewash the anguish of God’s people when they undergo suffering. They argue with God, they complain to God, they weep before God. Theirs is not a faith that leads to dry-eyed stoicism, but to a faith so robust it wrestles with God”
The laments paint a very honest picture of people’s plight in the Old Testament, and their anger towards God. This however, as I learnt this week, does not take away from their faith or their intimate relationship with God. In fact, it highlights it. A brilliant way of looking at it is that you have to be really close to someone, and have a trusting relationship to be able to express your grief and complaints. This shows how strong the divine-human relationship was between humanity and God, and is an example of how people today could feel closer to God. The laments also show humanities faith that God is benevolent and powerful – they wouldn’t be asking God for help if they didn’t believe that He could help.
We finished with a fun activity that I feel would be a good activity to help teach about the Psalms and what laments consist of when I have my own classes. We all split into groups and had to write our own lament, making sure to include key elements: addressing God; stating the complaint; a request; an expression of trust. Some of the group’s laments were hilarious, and it was a lovely end to the session, while still developing our understanding of this important section in the Bible.