It is easy to read Lamentations 5 and think something to the effect, “We already know this.” We read this chapter right after reading Jeremiah and we hear the same themes: sin is in the camp of God’s people, consequently judgment is threatened, and then finally because the people do not repent judgment is enacted. This chapter is just saying what so many other portions of Old Testament revelation seem to be saying. At least that is what we think (come on, I know I’m not the only one). And we scan it as quickly as possible hoping that Ezekiel will give us some relief. Listen to how one scholar sums up this attitude of ours:
That is part of the problem, isn’t it? Read this chapter again, slowly, thoughtfully. Of course, it is tied to Israel six centuries before Christ, to the destruction of her cities and land and temple, to the onset of the exile. But listen to the depth and persistence of the pleas, the repentance, the personal engagement with God, the cultural awareness, the acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty and justice, the profound recognition that the people must be restored to God himself if return to the land is to be possible, let alone meaningful (v.21). Then compare this with the brands of Christian confessionalism with which you are most familiar. In days of cultural declension, moral degradation, and large-scale ecclesiastical frittering, is our praying like that of Lamentations 5? Have the themes of the Major Prophets so burned into our minds and hearts that our passion is to be restored to the living God? Or have we ourselves become so caught up in the spirit of this age that we are content to be rich in information and impoverished in wisdom and godliness?