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Lamentations 1, Psalm 39

Though the author of Lamentations is believed by many to be Jeremiah, we cannot be 100% certain who wrote this book. Whoever wrote it, their first chapter is often written from the perspective of Judah, personified as an individual. Judah laments what has been lost. The city of Jerusalem’s desolation is compared to the experience of a widow, and going from being a queen to a slave (Lamentation 1:1). Biblical lamentation doesn’t just lament what has been lost, but also the reason for such loss. There are several allusions to the sins of Judah. We see her “lovers” (Lamentations 1:2) mentioned, which are idols of foreign nations. Also the link between exile and transgressions is plain in several places (e.g. Lamentations 1:5,7,8). It is not only sin that this lamentation acknowledges, but also God’s supreme righteousness in keeping faithfulness while Judah rebelled (Lamentation 1:18). Lamentations gives us a voice when much has been lost. We do well to lament in times of grief. Additionally, Lamentations shows we also do well to grieve sin’s power to undo what is good. When we lament, the Bible shows part of our lament should rage at sin like is done this first chapter, even if it is one’s own. Sin, the sins of others, or own sins, and ultimately the power that is called sin in scripture has ruined many good things. So when we lament what is lost, we lament the continuing presence of sin in life.

Jeremiah Vaught