Doug said in one of the early sermons about Lamentations, perhaps the first, that inasmuch as God inspired Jeremiah, the words of Lamentations are God’s words of lament. God is with His people; He laments with us. He is not distant or disconnected from our sorrow, no more than he is from our joy.
So Lamentations is God’s word of Lament spoken by God to God. God initiates to inspire Jeremiah to lament; Jermiah, as prophet, speaks to and in a sense for God’s people. He delivers God’s words of lament to God’s people. He delivers his (and all God’s people) words of lament to God.
In Isaiah 55, God cries:
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it..
Lamentations is God’s word sent to rain on the earth; it does not return to Him void-it returns as the prayers, the painful, awful prayers, of God’s people lifted to Him.
And yet, it returns with a greater harvest. In Psalm 126, the Psalmist cries
Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.
Our tears, our griefs, our laments are transformed if we will but plant them, let them water the earth, and await the harvest. Yet neither we who plant nor we who water can give growth-only God Himself. So with our griefs. So with Jeremiah’s. So with God’s.
Lamentations is the seed sown. As Jeremiah writes and cries and laments, it is the very lament of God over his people. The cry which asks where God is is His very cry to Himself. It is the cry of Jesus Christ on the cross-God the Son calling out to God the Father, “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?”
All the griefs of all the world bound in one moment. All the laments expressed in one great, culminating lament. The cry of God the Son, prophet who speaks to God’s people, priest who speaks for God’s people, king who speaks to defend God’s people. In His cry are all our cries. In His cry is Jeremiah’s. Sorrow sown on the back furrowed.
Yet there is the coming out with joy. There is the harvest. What is sown in sorrow will give the increase. The empty tomb is the harvest, Jesus the firstfruits of the new creation. God’s word does not return to Him void. The same voice cries “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me” cries “I shall never leave you nor forsake you,” “I am returning to your God and my God,” “I will send the comforter,” “I will wipe away every tear from every eye,” “Sorrow and death shall be no more.”
The same voice cries, “Behold, I am making all things new”
Amen, come quickly, Lord Jesus.
Todd Wedel is the husband of Rebecca, father of Anna Ruth and Ellie, a teacher and administrator, sometime poet.