Learning The Language Of Lament (Part Two)

At the local music store you notice an interesting book entitled Praises. As you open the book you realize it’s over a hundred songs of praise to God. So, what type of songs would you expect in a book with the title Praises? What do you expect of the music? The lyrics? What does it feel like?

When I hear the word “praise” I tend to think of upbeat, celebratory, and exulting type of music. I expect lyrics about how wonderful things are in our life with Jesus, meditations on everything he has accomplished for us, with upbeat music accompanying the mostly positive lyrics.

This is why I’m a bit shocked to discover that the book of Psalms (a translation of the Hebrew word for praises) is filled with over sixty songs of lament. At least 40% of the songs are about bad situations and praying that God will deliver you from them. Some of them (like Psalm 88) do not strike on positive chord.

That is only the Psalms. The book of Job, Habakkuk, and several others are filled with examples of lament. Some of the most quoted Psalms in the New Testament are those of lament. And an entire book of the Bible is called Lamentations. The songbook, the language, that God has given us to speak is one filled with lament.

What is a biblical lament?

I define it as an expression which serves as a Godward plea for help in a distressful situation.

More: http://www.mikeleake.net/2017/11/learning-the-language-of-lament-part-two.html

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