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1. What do you consider the darkest hour in your country’s history? Why? If you were alive then, how did you feel? What public reaction best expressed the nation’s sorrow?
2. Think of one humiliation or tragedy you have suffered. What kinds of emotions toward God did you feel? How did you deal with those feelings? How did you try to make sense out of what had happened?
3. What does the title “Lamentations” suggest to you? Is this the grief of an individual or of a nation? Can you think of similar outpouring of grief in Scripture?
4. From this, what overall picture of Judah comes to mind? What phrase repeatedly sounds like a refrain (see verses 2, 9, 16, 17, 21)? What one word would you use to describe her situation?
5. What has happened to Judah and her “lovers” (verse 2; see Jeremiah 52:4 – 30 for background details of Jerusalem’s fall)? What irony do you see here? What do you imagine Jerusalem looked like after these events? Compare this to her “glory days” (1 Chronicles 14:17; 1 Kings 10:1 – 9, 23 – 25)?
6. What “reversals” of her fortunes had she suffered (verses 1 – 7)? Why? What were some of her sins (see 2 Kings 21:1 – 9; 16)?
7. How had Judah failed to “consider her future” (verse 9)? What warnings had she received as part of the covenant (see Deuteronomy 28:58 – 68)? How did she respond to the warnings of the prophet? what is especially tragic about this failure?
8. What has happened to the sanctuary (verse 10)? Why is this “rape” so devastating? What does it suggest about God’s attitude toward Judah?
9. Does Jeremiah consider the Lord’s treatment unjust (verse 18)? What lesson is her for the “peoples”? What resources or securities have proven futile against the Lord’s anger?
10. Jerusalem was under siege for about a year and a half (Jeremiah 52:4 – 6)? What do you think life was like during the siege (verses 20, 21)?
11. In his distress, to whom does Jeremiah appeal? For what does he pray (verses 21, 22)? On what basis does he make this request?
12. Could this disaster have been averted? How so? What do you think made Judah so “blind” and “deaf”?
13. How do people presume upon God’s favor and goodness? How do nations do the same?
14. If God in His righteousness brought Judah low, what warning is here for us?
15. Judah fell because “she did not consider her future”. Are you (as a nation or as an individual) guilty of the same error? How so? How can you consider the future more effectively?
16. What warnings have God given you that you’ve failed to heed? With what result? Could you be living now on borrowed time?
17. Could there be “sins of presumption” in you life that threatens you prosperity? How is the psalmist’s attitude in Psalm 139:23, 24 a necessary safeguard? Can you pray that prayer today and mean it?