Principle for Bible Reading
God is completely consistent in all he does, but he is also very complicated. You’ll never find a contradiction in his character, but you’ll often have to work hard to see how different aspects of who he is relate to one another. In this lab, Pastor John asks how God could cause his children grief and remain compassionate towards them.
A Word About Lamentations (00:37–03:30)
Lamentations might be the most painful book in the Bible, because it describes the horrors of God’s judgment against his people. It is also one of the most clearly structured books. How could such an emotional book be so neatly ordered? Perhaps, it is a way for God to say that our pain is bounded or channeled. It might be to say that it has a purpose.
- This suffering is not God’s last word to his people (Lamentations 3:31). A New Covenant is coming (Jeremiah 31:31–34) when God will return with compassion.
- God really does cause grief (Lamentations 3:32)
- This grief, though, is not his last word. He will have compassion (Lamentations 3:32).
- God does not grieve or afflict us from his heart (Lamentations 3:33).
- Our pain is not God’s delight. Our pain is a means to the good in which God does delight.
- God’s compassion and steadfast love come from his heart.
- We bow down to God’s sovereignty. He does indeed cause grief.
- We trust that at the bottom of his heart is his love and compassion.
- There is good that is coming to the children of God through their pain.
- Why was Lamentations written? What is the context of these verses about God’s love and compassion?
- How could the writer of Lamentations say that God causes grief (Lamentations 3:32) and that he does not grieve (Lamentations 3:33)?
- What does the “for” at the beginning of verse 33 say about how God’s love and compassion relate to the grief he causes his people?
Piper: “There is a good coming to the children of God through their pain.”