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November, Week 3: “Lamentations”

Lamentations is a collection of Hebrew poems that focuses on the grief, pain, and suffering that came out of living in Jerusalem when it was besieged by the armies of Babylon and eventually captured, plundered, and destroyed. The poet acknowledges that Jerusalem’s fall was an act of Yahweh’s justice, but he still laments, and even protests, the suffering that took place. He draws attention to how terrible the situation was and then calls for God to hear the suffering of his people and respond.
These laments give a sacred dignity to the emotion we feel when we see injustice and suffering. Through studying Lamentations, we can learn to see lament as an important spiritual exercise that brings our anger, pain, and confusion to God, trusting that he cares about it too. In this week’s study, we will practice lamentation as we focus on the poem at the book’s center, Lamentations chapter 3.

November, Week 2: “Psalms”

In this week’s Bible study, we look at the book of Psalms, and a powerful lament poem found in Psalm 88. Though different from other biblical books, the book of Psalms still tells a complete story, and the individual poems follow a common narrative structure.
But Psalm 88 is a bit different, seemingly breaking from this structure and laying bare the depths of the psalmist’s hopelessness. The psalmist’s only prayer here is “help.” And sometimes, when the darkness around us feels more than we can handle, that is all we can muster to say to God.
This Psalm is an important reminder that there is no need to sugarcoat or make our pain presentable before God. He hears the cries of his children even when we hardly have the words to communicate. As you meditate on this passage this week, think of this psalm as an invitation to bring your suffering before God, knowing that he cares deeply for his people.

November, Week 1: “Strength”

What does it mean to love God “with all of your strength”? In this week’s Bible study, we will explore the Hebrew word underneath this phrase. And spoiler alert: “strength” is only one of many ways this rich word could be translated!

October, Week 4: “Ephesians”

Societies have always categorized people into different hierarchies of value, but Jesus came to create a new humanity that is unified across all dividing lines. What does it mean to be a new unified humanity in a culture where followers of Jesus can be found on both sides of many controversial issues? How can our allegiance to Jesus compel us to have patient and meaningful dialogue with those whose views differ from our own?

October, Week 3: “Tree of Life”

In the opening pages of the Bible, God creates a garden, and right in the center is the tree of life. God gives humans living breath, and with this tree he offers eternal life. In contrast to this gift stands the tree of knowing good and bad, and eating from it, God warns, causes death. The two trees provide a Biblical theme, which poses a vital question to humanity: Will we rely on God for wisdom and eternal life, or will we defy God’s warnings and define life by our own understanding?