A Song for Church
Father, You are gentle yet powerful, lowly yet almighty, shepherd yet king. I bow to worship You now.
Read Psalm 129:1-8
A song of ascents.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Whenever you have been hurt deeply, you have a choice: will I use my energy for retaliation or resolution? What would Jesus do?
This is “A Song of Ascents” so perhaps, as with the rest of Psalms 120-134, we are to picture generations of pilgrims singing it as they came to the end of their long journey to Jerusalem. This prompts the question, “Did Jesus ever join in this song?” Unlike the other psalms of ascents, this psalm may have presented him with a problem.
The first four verses refer to the nation of Israel. From the early days in Egypt, Israel had been oppressed, but God had not allowed them to be destroyed; indeed, he had always delivered them. Eventually he cut the ropes that bound them to the cart of oppression. So far, so good; this is a testimony to God’s righteousness, his commitment to honor the covenant. But would Jesus have prayed for the destruction of those who hate Zion and withheld God’s blessing from them? We don’t know. We do know that he uttered “woes” on those who were opposed to God (Luke 11:42-52), but these were not as violent as Psalm 137:7-9, for example. Should we sing such a psalm? Some suggest that if we don’t then we are more likely to seek revenge ourselves; we need to share with God our pain and anger and so be freed from the need for vengeance. But do we understand “Zion” to be the Jews or now those opposed to God’s work and his church? Others would suggest that we spiritualize this so that the opposition is not human but satanic–the powers opposed to the Gospel (see Eph. 6:12).
This prompts us, further, to ask about singing hymns or songs we don’t agree with. Do we join in to maintain fellowship, do we keep silence because of conscience, or …?
As you worship God today, notice the words you sing. Do you understand them? If you don’t agree, how should you handle this so that you worship with integrity?
Gracious God, I need wisdom and discernment as to the best way to handle difficult situations. Guide me, I pray.
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