August 21, 2017

WELL, THAT'S KIND OF HARSH!

Psalm 137

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How Shall We Sing the Lord's Song?

  By the waters of Babylon,
    there we sat down and wept,
    when we remembered Zion.
  On the willows1 there
    we hung up our lyres.
  For there our captors
    required of us songs,
  and our tormentors, mirth, saying,
    “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
  How shall we sing the LORD's song
    in a foreign land?
  If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
    let my right hand forget its skill!
  Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth,
    if I do not remember you,
  if I do not set Jerusalem
    above my highest joy!
  Remember, O LORD, against the Edomites
    the day of Jerusalem,
  how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare,
    down to its foundations!”
  O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed,
    blessed shall he be who repays you
    with what you have done to us!
  Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones
    and dashes them against the rock!

Footnotes

[1] 137:2 Or poplars

WELL, THAT'S KIND OF HARSH!



Key Verse | Psalm 137:7–8

Remember, O LORD, against the Edomites
the day of Jerusalem,
how they said, "Lay it bare, lay it bare,
down to its foundations!"
O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed,
blessed shall he be who repays you
with what you have done to us!
(Psalm 137:7-8)

Central Truth

Vengeance is not ours to take. The Lord is the One who will judge. He will bring wrath upon all who do not repent and turn from their wicked ways.  

Devotional | Psalm 137

I have to be honest, when I first read this passage, Ithought,"Yikes, why couldn't I have been assigned an uplifting psalm of praise or thanksgiving? This passage is harsh and tricky to sort through." As the Lord...

I have to be honest, when I first read this passage, I thought, "Yikes, why couldn't I have been assigned an uplifting psalm of praise or thanksgiving? This passage is harsh and tricky to sort through." As the Lord does, He pushed me to learn more about His perfect plans for judgment and reconciliation with Himself.

The Jews are still in exile, being tormented by the Babylonians. This psalmist is weary, refusing to be forced to sing praises to the Lord in front of his captors and tormentors; that would be dishonoring to the Lord. He is in a place of reflection, remembering all that the Lord has done. He is desperately longing for Zion, to live in freedom. He is passionate about never losing His reverence for the Lord. He cries out in prayer to the Lord, begging Him to bring judgment on Babylon like He did on the Jews.

Apparently, it was common in ancient wars to completely blot out the entire existence of the losing people group. This explains the harshness of innocent babies dying in verse 9. I know; still harsh! It is important to note that the psalmist is not asking for revenge, but seeking God's glory through divine justice. There is a distinct difference between the two. You see, just as promised, the Lord later answers the psalmist's prayer and fulfills His promise to the Jews by bringing judgment on Babylon. In fact, we have learned this was all part of His plan from the very beginning.

Here's the thing about our loving, sovereign, and just God: He is patient, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). He provides a way for all of us, even murderers of innocent babies. Fulfilling His promise, God sent His one and only Son to die for us! The same blood of Jesus Christ that offers mercy to those who repent brings condemnation to those who refuse. You guys, this is the choice we must make: repentance and freedom in Him or wickedness and ultimate destruction.

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Bio | Erin Valerius

Hey, guys! 

Wow—the last week of summer! What will the Valerius crew do? We'll sleep late, swim with friends, grab some sort of ice-cold treat, pick up some chicken tenders, and stay up late watching funny movies or catching up on American Ninja Warrior. That, my friends, is what makes my heart happy! Add Jesus, all types of music, coffee, and flip-flops into the mix and that just about sums it up. I've been calling Dallas and Watermark home for 10 years now. I am so thankful for the ways the Lord has grown me in this place!  

Discussion Questions

1. Sometimes it seems like our enemy is winning. Are you sitting there discouraged, OR are you being diligent in prayer to your Heavenly Father, asking for His justice to be done (2 Chronicles 7:14; 1 John 5:14-15)? 

2. When was the last time you stopped to remember all that the Lord has done for you (Psalm 77:11-12)? Are you passionate in your reverence for the Lord (Matthew 22:37)?

3. Have you shared your story of grace, thanks, or provision with others (1 Peter 3:15)?

4. What are you desperately longing for (Psalm 37:4; Matthew 6:33-34)? Have you given it completely over to your sovereign Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6)?

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