Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 60

LAMENT - Carlson lament to God, the psalmist typically confesses his trust in him.”43 Over half (twenty-three) of the individual laments include a “vow of praise,” in which the supplicant promises to praise Yahweh “presumably at a public offering of a thanksgiving sacrifice, subsequent to the deliverance.”44 Further evidence of this intended context of worship is observed in the repeated superscription “For the director of music,” which stands at the beginning of many of the lament psalms. Some laments include additional musical instructions, such as “With stringed instruments” (Ps 4) or “For flutes” (Ps 5).45 The fact that many of the individual laments are notated with these instructions related to corporate worship should dispel any notion that only the communal laments were shared among the gathered people of God. The biblical lesson here is that movement toward God in worship and faith is actually facilitated by the full expression of pain, anger, abandonment, injustice, accusation, numbness, chaos, and confusion; and furthermore, such expressions are intended for use by the corporate body. Lamentations: The Death of a City46 Look, O LORD, and consider: Whom have you ever treated like this? Should women eat their offspring, the children they have cared for? Should priest and prophet be killed in the sanctuary of the Lord? Young and old lie together in the dust of the streets; My young men and maidens have fallen by the sword. 43. Estes, Handbook, 167. 44. Broyles, “Lament, Psalms of,” 388. 45. The originality of the superscripts is a matter of scholarly question. Bruce K. Waltke and others have presented compelling arguments in favor of originality. Bruce K. Waltke, James M. Houston, and Erika Moore, The Psalms as Christian Worship: A Historical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2010), 90. Estes notes that even those who question originality respect the superscripts as “the earliest extant interpretations” of the psalms. Estes, Handbook, 143. 46. Eugene H. Peterson, Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1980), 115. 59