Prophetic Lament – Book Review
Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times
by Soong-Chan Rah
Soong- Chan Rah, author of Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times, leads his readers in a detailed analysis of the message found in the biblical book of Lamentations and the lessons that can be learned from it. Prophetic Lament is divided into five chapters, which correlate with the five chapters in the biblical book of Lamentations.
Rah argues that Lamentations shows the way God managed the nation of Israel’s disobedience, and how he showed them the way to their full restoration. That restoration laid squarely in their complete surrender and trust to Yahweh’s lordship and supremacy through sincere brokenness of heart and will—a true lament. In the prophet’s own words, “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LORD. My eyes will flow unceasingly, without relief, until the LORD looks down from heaven and sees” (Lamentation 3:40, 49-50).
Prophetic Lament shows Yahweh’s work on a nation in despair. The Hebrew nation, in turn, needed to be engaged with God in the process of full retribution and complete transformation. Similarly, God is involved in the affairs of 21st Century individuals and communities, and they need to engage with him in the sincere recognition that God is sovereign, holy, and awesome. They are to lament for their sinful ways. This lament is to be individually as well as corporately. The entire community engaged in true surrender. Sadly, the hardened hearts of individuals often refuse to surrender to God’s lordship in their lives, and this brings about God’s judgments and much suffering to individuals, entire communities, and countries. Injustice, then, becomes prevalent as individuals selfishly search for an advantage over others. As a result, communities become impoverished, lack of trust prevails, and the culture of decay becomes the new normal. The book reminds us that the church, as the body of Christ, must help individuals and communities turn their hearts to God in lament for their crooked ways, and wait in the Lord for renewal.
One wonders what a community would look like if all turned their eyes upon Jesus. Not looking side to side, but purposefully looking to Jesus, lamenting the lack of love for God and each other, lamenting the daily mistreatment inflicting on others, and waiting on God for his redemption and restoration. Our world would be a much better place.
written by Major Jose Santiago, Corps Officer, Lockport, NY, USA East