Weeping for Zion: Chapter 137
This Psalm is one of those you can feel as much as you can read. Poetical power springs to life in this chapter, with imagery so vivid, you feel almost as if you’re there!
The first verse alone signifies so much. Psalm 137:1 We might read over it at first, not allowing the weight of the situation to impact us. But read it slowly. By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
The Psalmist and his companions might have wept at the mistreatment they’d had to endure. They might have wept for being away from their families or home. But instead, they wept when they “remembered Zion.”
And that says a lot.
The Psalmist says that he wants no joy higher than that which he finds in Jerusalem. And that he will never forget it.
John Trapp was a Puritan who took note of the Jewish people. He tells of how the Jews of his time (1601 – 1699), when building a home, had to leave a portion of it unfinished. This was to be a remembrance of Jerusalem and the temple. Many would leave a square yard of wall unfinished and in that area, they would write “If I forget Jerusalem,” or “Zecher leehorban,” which means, “the memory of desolation.”
Dashing the Little Ones
Many unbelieving commentators have had a field day, so to speak, with this last line, Psalm 137:9. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.”
Really, this is an extenuation of the previous line that speaks of Babylon getting the same treatment they had doled out to the Israelites. It must have been horrible, but yet quite likely, that the Babylonians dashes the children of the Israelites on stones. And then, just as today, people can get awfully hard-hearted when something has happened to one of their children.
This was actually prophesied long before it happened. Isaiah 13:16 says, “Their children also will be dashed to pieces before their eyes…” How horrible it must have been.
Today, however, we know that we are under a different “testament” and are no longer so free as to pray destructive prayers like that. We can pray that God will avenge for his own, but I don’t believe it’s right to pray down things such as this. In the Psalmist’s day, it was common.
But they didn’t have Jesus.
The Lord is Perfect: Chapter 138
David returns to his heart of praise and worship in this chapter, speaking of how he will praise with his whole heart, and in front of the gods. He will praise for lovingkindness, and for truth, because his word has been magnified above His own Name.
There is always a reason to worship God. Here, David only mentioned a few things. But we each have many things we could praise Him for, especially in this current time in history.
He speaks to God’s great glory, and how everyone will hear God’s words. Even though God is great, he respects the lowly [humble], but He is far removed from the prideful.
A Good Reason to Praise Him
I love, especially, the way David speaks of praising God because of ANSWERED PRAYER. I tell you, no one knows how to praise like one who has been delivered from something… freed from something… removed from the wrath due our disobedience, even if only for a time.
That is lovingkindness in its truest form, I think.
And moving on from that, he praises God who makes him bold. Now, the literal meaning of that word is “proud,” but probably not in the way it is often used today.
Being prideful in the flesh is one thing. But maybe if we, of the Truth, were a little more prideful in the spiritual authority we have, in our position as a child of the One True God, maybe the whole world would be different!
Hope for a Future
I love that Psalm 138:5 speaks of singing in the ways of the Lord. It would be David, of course, who would toss in some worship music for good measure.
And why not? After reading of the mournful situation in Psalm 137, he must surely have been glad to be able to sing to God on his own terms, without being told or forced to do so.
Let me assure you… there are plenty of times you won’t feel like singing in the flesh. There are so many things that can weigh us down, threaten our peace of mind, stir us up to anger, sadness, offense, bitterness, and more.
If we will allow the Holy Ghost to infiltrate our hearts and spirits… to remember, as David did, that even though we walk in the middle of trouble, He will revive us! He will stretch forth His Hand against the wrath of our enemies.
His right hand shall save us.
It’s refreshing, isn’t it? To see the stark difference between chapters 137 and 138? What a great time to be reading it! Here we are, in our world, facing more distress than most of us have ever had to deal with at one time.
It’s so wonderful to know that God gave us the Holy Scriptures to remind us of all those that went before us. To see clearly, what they went through, and that they still (for the most part) overcame, to God’s saving grace. I cannot imagine seeing babies or small children “dashed against a stone”… and I pray I never do! But I’m thankful to know that we have a Savior Who is ready to catch us! Aren’t you?
Lord Jesus, help me to remember that in all the wrath we currently see in our world today, that Your Glory is right around the corner. That Your goodness is ever present, never changing, and that Your mercies are new every morning! Remind us that we are to seek You first, and Your righteousness, and all these (other) things will be added to us. I praise and worship You, Lord, because you simply ARE, and I ask these things in the Name of Jesus! Amen!