Psalm 137

Psalm 137 has the writer lamenting about the state of Jerusalem.  He is sitting by the water, weeping as he remembers the former glory of the city before it was destroyed and the people dispersed.  The instruments were hung up as the joy had been lost.  But “our captors required of us songs”.  The captors did not understand the motivation for the songs in days gone by, and how it was not possible to just return to those songs under the current condition.

The author asks “how shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land”?  The request to sing to God was overwhelming because the days of old are gone.  The writer says “I forget you, O Jerusalem”.  Life is very different now, and the only thing to do is trust and wait on God.  God is at work, and will soon recall the remnant back to Jerusalem.  The writer wants to remember and “set Jerusalem above my highest joy”.  Lots of space between those two feelings.  Isn’t it amazing how we can quickly shift from one to the other?

There is some desire for retaliation for the treatment that Babylon has made against Jerusalem.  The writer calls on God to make Babylon “doomed to be destroyed”.  There is some pent up anger here.  He goes on to write “blessed be he who repays you with what you have done to us”.  God wants to hear our hearts.  We don’t have to pretend like He doesn’t already know where we are.  The truth of the matter is that being transparent with God isn’t for His sake, it is for our own.  We need to be real, and not bottle up things inside pretending God doesn’t see or know.

The writer is clearly just letting it all out here.  Frustrated with the past and the fact that enemies have destroyed his city and the temple.  And now, in the middle of that anguish, he lets it out.  “Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock”.  Not the politically correct response.  Take your kids and throw them against the rocks.  Let’s kill all of you.  There is no love loss between the people of Israel and their enemies that surround their city and land.  And now, they are returning to rebuild.

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