Wednesday, May 11, 2011

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 are those who repay you
according to what you have done to us.
9 Happy are those who seize your infants
and dash them against the rocks.

Questions to consider:

  • How would you describe the tone of this psalm?
  • Why is the psalmist (and his people) sad?
  • What is the psalmist afraid of forgetting?
  • Why do you think the psalmist asks God to remember what the Edomites did?
  • How can you contrast this psalm to the one from yesterday?
Possibilities for prayer:
WHOA. This psalm was a bit of a downer! If Psalm 136 was an example of exultation and proclamation of God's enduring love, this Psalm feels more like an admission of hopelessness. It's always been interesting to me how the Psalms can do this--move so quickly from one emotion to nearly its antithesis. But if you think about humanity, we can be rather fickle in that way, especially when it comes to God. We're ready to thank God in the midst of the good times, but as soon as things become difficult, we wonder where God is and if God will ever bring us out of our sorrow. How quickly we forget!

As we pray today, let's confess or fickle hearts and the way in which we can so easily become caught up in the burden of day to day struggles. Let's ask God to transform our hearts to be more steadfast in the knowledge of his enduring love (much like Psalm 136 says!).