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This past Sunday we continued on our journey through the weighty, dark, somber, and serious writings of the Prophets of the Exile, focusing our study on Jeremiah’s epilogue to his large book, an extended treatment of his grief over Jerusalem and Judah, the five poems of Lamentations.

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In the past, when I’ve come to Lamentations, I’ve understood it as this extended explosion of grief and pain and sorrow from the prophet Jeremiah. It is the fullness of the mere taste we had seen multiple times in the book that bears his name.

But now I see I was wrong. It is not an explosion, as if a fire hydrant has been knocked off its moorings, spraying water everywhere. Rather, this is a controlled, ordered, structured cataloging of pain. He has taken his time. He has thought this through.

Of the five poems/prayers that are each of the chapters, the first four are Hebrew acrostics, meaning the word that begins each line begins with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. That takes intention, planning, and time.

That kind of creativity and artistry tells us something about this book. “The lamentations are not simply cries from the heart…they are an attempt to reflect on the meaning of human suffering…these poems are a theodicy, and attempt to explain the ways of God to humanity. [Jeremiah] wants to do something more than vent his feelings. He also seeks to gain perspective on suffering, and to share that perspective with his fellow sufferers…these poems are [Jeremiah’s] attempt to interpret the meaning of the catastrophe (Ryken)” that had happened to God’s people.

To enter into the powerful theodicy and insightful, poetic interpretations of Jeremiah on suffering, grief, and pain, I invite you to watch or listen to the sermon on Lamentations. And if you’d like to study it further, I commend the Lamentations page over at the Bible Project.

And if you’d like to prepare for the next sermon in the Whole Story series this coming Sunday at Calvary, please read the book of Ezekiel.


Shalom,

Pastor Matthew

matthew@calvarystcloud.org

matthewmolesky.com

Matthew Molesky

Preaching and Teaching Pastor

Prior to entering ministry full-time, Pastor Matthew worked in the corporate world for twelve years, mainly in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He spent his first few months of full-time ministry at Bethlehem Baptist Church, and then helped launch a church plant and training institute for church planters in Orlando. His life’s passion is to make more and maturing disciples of Jesus Christ, and he’s been involved doing that with the church family at Calvary since 2007. Pastor Matthew absolutely loves the Bible, preaching Jesus from all the Scriptures, serving as our resident theologian through his writing and teaching, developing and empowering leaders, setting the direction and values of our church culture with our leadership team, and loving and shepherding the people of Calvary and the St. Cloud metropolitan area. He also enjoys reading, running, biking, hanging out with others over a good meal, and watching movies. Matthew and his wife, Susan, live in St. Cloud and have four children, two of them married and living in Southern Minnesota.

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