Bride or Prostitute?
Loving Father, I cherish the knowledge that You value me. May I value others as You value them.
Read Psalm 137:1-9
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.
“It’s alright; questions, pain, and stabbing anger can be poured out to the Infinite One and he will not be damaged. For we beat on his chest within the circle of his arms” (Susan Lenzkes).
This writer’s response to captivity in Babylon is very different from that of Daniel. His experiences led him to lament because of his distress and torment (1-3), his fear that he may not remember his roots in Jerusalem (4-6), and his desire for retribution against enemies who have meted out violence against his nation and its future generations (7-9). His plea builds up to a crescendo of pain. He contrasts Jerusalem, which embodies his highest joy (reminding him of God’s faithful activity in the past), with Babylon, where his people suffered torment in exile. Recalling the ruthless brutality of the Edomites and Babylonians, he cries out to God for them to be paid back in proportion to the devastation they inflicted on Jerusalem.
This is not an easy psalm. Modern audiences are appalled by the violence and hatred expressed in its final verses, but the writer lived in a world where emotions were readily expressed and killing of infants in warfare was common practice. He is waiting for God’s word (Isa. 13:16) to be fulfilled against Babylon’s inhabitants. The wrath of the Lord Almighty would destroy Babylon’s men, women and children because of their sins, and their city would never be inhabited again.
The writer of Revelation contrasts the same two cities: the new Jerusalem, bride of Christ and people of God (Rev. 21:2,3), and Babylon, the great prostitute, opposing God and his kingdom, drunk with the saints’ blood (Rev. 17,18). God’s terrible retribution will finally destroy all evil powers. He overcomes “by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of [the saints’] testimony” (Rev. 12:11). Our testimony, bringing glory to Jesus, through whose blood we are saved, overcomes evil and brings nearer that day.
Examine your heart. Are you harboring something against someone? Express your feelings to God; leave them there and then move on, free.
Lord, I know I am not always honest in my praying. I sometimes say what I think You want to hear. Help me to pray what’s really inside me.
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