May 17, 2017: Day 137 – Psalm 137

You have to pair this Psalm with Isaiah 43:14-21.  It is an agonizing Psalm.  It is one where it begins so peacefully and beautifully even if the author is lamenting the fact that they no longer had their homeland.  So, you need to keep in mind that the author is writing while they have been taken into captivity into a foreign land.  This is not David.  This is someone who has been conquered and made into a slave.  Think of about that as you sit in your room in your house and the comforts and the niceties which we have around us.  We are not slaves, we are not out of our home land, we are not witnessing the abuse of our people at the hands of invaders.  Some people in our country are, but we are not.  We have not witnessed our children dashed against the stones.  This author is living all of that now.

So, if we place ourselves in their context maybe, just maybe vs.7-9 makes a little more sense, even if we don’t applaud it, we can understand it.  Even if we can say that this is not what God wants, we can understand the voice that speaks this angry, violent, bloody thought.  I’m at a preacher’s conference and there is a theme that is pretty powerful around here.  We are living in dangerous, similar times to that in which the people of God were living when Scripture was being written.  I don’t completely agree, but I understand why people might think so. 

Our understanding of history is normally taken from the perspective of being an American.  I would say that if we were a Syrian Christian we would say that we have been living in the times of the Scripture for quite a few decades now.  That is where my disagreement takes shape.  Depending on where we live in the world we can say to a lesser or greater degree we live in the times of eternity and that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Things are not getting any worse in the world.  How can things get worse than when we have been separated from God?  I firmly am convinced that Jesus is coming back irrespective of what is happening on the face of this earth.  Jesus doesn’t need us to do anything in order for him to come back.  He is waiting on us to get things together before he can come back.  

When we are in the position of this Psalmist, or a Syrian Christian, or living in a nation where it seems like our political reality is so bewildering, Jesus is still coming back.  

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