Paperback, 309pp. Price: £10.00. Published by Authorhouse UK Ltd., 500 Avebury Boulevard, Milton Keynes, MK9 2BE, UK. ISBN 978-1-4520-1686-3. Available from the author at 31 Fairmeadows, Cwmfelin, Maesteg, Mid Glam., CF34 9JL.
The Book of Lamentations is, in Paul Young’s own words, ‘one of the neglected books of the Bible. It is not often the substance for preaching in the modern church … Yet it has powerful relevance for God’s people in contemporary society’.
The material in this book was used by the author in ministry in his local church, and subsequently formed the basis of a series of programmes broadcast by Trans World Radio. All this has clearly had an impact on the book, both on its structure and the level at which it is pitched. Its twenty-nine chapters are of even length, and its content appears to be aimed at an audience whose spiritual understanding and experience may vary widely. While this book is deceptively simple in style, and easy to read, the author has addressed some of the most solemn subjects in a manner which no one can misunderstand.
The author recognizes that Lamentations is an expression of the reaction of God’s earthly people to His discipline administered through the armies of Nebuchadnezzar, when, in 586 BC, the southern kingdom had departed so far from God’s revealed will that there was ‘no remedy’. The book takes the reader at a steady pace through the biblical text. Because of its intended radio audience, it is not surprising that the author has chosen to concentrate on the practical lessons which are to be found in this section of scripture, underlining basic but essential truths relating to disobedience and its inevitable consequences. Some themes include: the need for repentance; God’s mercy to those who do repent (‘There is nothing capricious about the nature and actions of God’ – quoting R. K. Harrison); true hope for the future, but on God’s terms.
While there is, of necessity, some repetition – something readily acknowledged by the author – the lessons which he draws from the text are timeless. They serve as a ‘reality check’ for any believer who may need reminding that the lessons taught to Judah through their experiences are ‘written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come’.
[Our thanks to Ed Hotchin, Hucknall, England, for this review]