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Psalm 137

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"Rise Up"
Every stone that makes you stumble And cuts you when you fall Every serpent here that strikes your heel To curse you when you crawl The king of love one day will crush them all
And every sad seduction, and every clever lie Every word that woos and wounds the pilgrim, children of the sky The king of love will break them by and by
And you will rise up in the end You will rise up in the end I know the night is cruel But the day is coming soon When you will rise up in the end
If a thief had come to plunder When the children were alone If he ravaged every daughter And murdered every son Would not the father see this? Would not his anger burn? Would he not repay the tyrant In the day of his return? Await, await the day of his return
Cause he will rise up in the end He will rise up in the end I know you need a savior He's patient in his anger But he will rise up in the end
And when the stars come crashing to the see When the high and mighty fall down on their knee We'll see the sun descending in the sky The chains of death will fall around your feet
And you will rise up in the end You will rise up in the end You will rise up in the end I know you will
—Andrew Peterson
Imprecatory Psalm
James Adams - War Psalms
Are we not to seek for justice for the evil that has been done? Not justice as we perceive it but as a Sovereign God wills it. Not a justice initiated by our feelings but a justice as recorded in God’s word

Weeping under the willow

Looking for a place of solace
Psalm 137:1 NKJV
By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept When we remembered Zion.
Imprecatory Psalm
The rivers of Babylon

They lived by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and enjoyed regular harvests due to a complex system of irrigation canals. The very tokens of life (“rivers”) and verdancy (“poplars,” v. 2) brought material benefits on captors and captives alike.

They lived by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and enjoyed regular harvests due to a complex system of irrigation canals. The very tokens of life (“rivers”) and verdancy (“poplars,” v. 2)

Ezekiel 1:1 NKJV
Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.
Ezekiel
Ezekiel 3:15 NKJV
Then I came to the captives at Tel Abib, who dwelt by the River Chebar; and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.
They were dwelling there: We sat down (Daniel and his friends)
Jeremiah 29:4–9 NKJV
Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters—that you may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are in your midst deceive you, nor listen to your dreams which you cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely to you in My name; I have not sent them, says the Lord.
Jeremiah 29:
Their meditation brought back memories of home which lead to sorrow and a longing to be home again
They wept because they didn’t belong there (exiles)
They were in no mood to play music
Psalm 137:2 NKJV
We hung our harps Upon the willows in the midst of it.
They wept in spite of the green vegetation of the land
Willows possibly poplars
The enemy taunted with requests for them to sing a familiar tune connected to their homeland
Psalm 137:3 NKJV
For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, And those who plundered us requested mirth, Saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
Before Jerusalem fell some taught falsely it would not fall
The righteous were included with the fall (Daniel)
Psalm 42:3 NKJV
My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say to me, “Where is your God?”
Psalm 42:10 NKJV
As with a breaking of my bones, My enemies reproach me, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
Psalm 79:10 NKJV
Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Let there be known among the nations in our sight The avenging of the blood of Your servants which has been shed.
Psalm 115:2 NKJV
Why should the Gentiles say, “So where is their God?”
They were in no mood to sing the songs of the LORD in a foreign land
Psalm 137:4 NKJV
How shall we sing the Lord’s song In a foreign land?
The sacredness of the LORD’s song

A.A. Anderson translates this verse: “How can we who are unclean (in that we are punished) sing Yahweh’s praises to an unclean people in an unclean land?”

Loving and Longing for home

They were in no mood to sing the songs of the LORD in a foreign land
Psalm 137:4 NKJV
How shall we sing the Lord’s song In a foreign land?
The sacredness of the LORD’s song
Their lives were centered around God and Jerusalem
Psalm 137:5 NKJV
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, Let my right hand forget its skill!
Love for God and Jerusalem are intertwined
May I forget and lose my ability to play
Their joy was based upon their relationship with Jerusalem
Psalm 137:6 NKJV
If I do not remember you, Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth— If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy.
May I be unable to sing or speak

Waiting for Justice

A call for the Lord to remember the atrocities of their enemies
Psalm 137:7 NKJV
Remember, O Lord, against the sons of Edom The day of Jerusalem, Who said, “Raze it, raze it, To its very foundation!”
Psalm 137
Obadiah 11–14 NKJV
In the day that you stood on the other side— In the day that strangers carried captive his forces, When foreigners entered his gates And cast lots for Jerusalem— Even you were as one of them. “But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother In the day of his captivity; Nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah In the day of their destruction; Nor should you have spoken proudly In the day of distress. You should not have entered the gate of My people In the day of their calamity. Indeed, you should not have gazed on their affliction In the day of their calamity, Nor laid hands on their substance In the day of their calamity. You should not have stood at the crossroads To cut off those among them who escaped; Nor should you have delivered up those among them who remained In the day of distress.
Obadiah
Their hate for their brother Jacob would bring their own destruction
A confidence in the judgement and justice of God
Psalm 137:8 NKJV
O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed, Happy the one who repays you as you have served us!
Parallel justice
Psalm 137:9 NKJV
Happy the one who takes and dashes Your little ones against the rock!
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