Lord, You are faithful in Your promises and consistent in Your purposes. I confidently embrace Your purposes for me.
Read Psalm 137
1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
2 There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4 How can we sing the songs of the Lord
while in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill.
6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.
7 Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
“tear it down to its foundations!”
8 Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is the one who repays you
according to what you have done to us.
9 Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWho are the people with whom or the place where you feel most at home? How do you handle it when you are away from them or that place?
This is a psalm of and for dark times, written at a time when God’s people were in exile. They wept (v 1). They longed to be where they belonged; but their cruel captors demanded to hear the joyful songs of worship from Jerusalem’s Temple (v 3), which they themselves had burned to the ground – and that was not the worst thing they had done.
It is no wonder that this psalm is full of bitterness and a desire for justice – and, let’s be honest, revenge (vs 8,9).
But let’s be more honest: though most have not (thank God) experienced the trauma known by the writers of this psalm, perhaps we can recognize the visceral and violent desire for revenge. And let’s be even more honest: we, too, have hurt others, often as much as we have been hurt ourselves.
The truth is, we all have the same broken hearts as the Babylonian soldiers who committed such atrocities, the same broken hearts as the Israelites who in bitterness prayed for vengeance, the same broken hearts for which Jesus’ heart broke on the cross, the same broken hearts he longs to heal.
Bitterness is not something you want to hold on to; it is destructive when it takes root. Ask God to help you see where there is bitterness in you, and – you may need to do this regularly – ask him to help you forgive.
Father, when storms assail and hindrances oppress me, thank You for Your hope for today and strength for tomorrow.