Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Mon, 07/12/2009 – 11:29
Bible Book: 2 Samuel
Verse: 17 – 27
2 Samuel 1:17-27
Saul and his sons died on the same day on Mount Gilboa (2 Sam 31:1-6). The death of the king and his sons heralded the huge defeat the Philistines inflicted on Israel. This was indeed a very sad time for the nation.
David laments the death of Saul, the king of Israel, and of Jonathan, his son. In this heartrending song he expresses deep grief and sadness for the overthrow of Israel’s army and the death of their king. However, we find the most personal and deepest expressions of grief when David mentions his beloved friend, Jonathan (verses 23, 25 & 26).
The many examples of lament in the Bible not only call our attention to the fact that the people of the Bible often lamented – they emphasise the importance of lamenting for believers. To evade or ignore this is to deprive yourself of the opportunity to deepen your relationship with God.
The Biblical language of lamenting has been called the “language that can lead us out of the temptation to apathy, muteness, and anger, and that does not resort to atheism”.
Biblical lamenting is not the same as our normal expressions of grief and loss. “Lament is akin to mourning and at times difficult to distinguish form mourning. It is also more. It is somehow more purposeful than mourning. It signals that relationships and circumstances have gone terribly wrong. It is more than railing against suffering, a breast-beating or confession of guilt. It is a coil of suffering and hope, awareness and memory, anger and relief, a desire for vengeance, forgiveness, and healing that beats against the heart of God. It is our way of bearing the unbearable, as we, in Joel’s words, rend ‘our hearts and not our clothing.’ It is, in essence, supremely human.”
“… Lament is never an end in itself. It is undergirded by the hope that God not only can but that God will hear the cries of the suffering and the penitent and will act with mercy and compassion.”
David lamented when Israel was defeated in the war against the Philistines. When we look at the statistics of people who have died because of HIV and Aids, the devastating effects of this pandemic overshadow many great wars. How many Christians are lamenting?
To think about or discuss: How can we put Biblical lamenting into practice to help us make the unbearable bearable?
Quotes from Denise M Ackermann, After the Locusts.
Author: N du Toit (Ds)