Psalm 137 came out of Israel’s exile in Babylon and can serve as a spiritual inventory for us today. The Psalmist words are an expression of lament and relatable.
“By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. On the willows 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!”
- Psalm 137 is a community lament.
- The opening section recalls the captivity by the waters of Babylon.
- The Israelites Babylonian captives were demanding they sing their sacred songs.
- Though Babylon was the Lord’s tool to discipline his people, the Babylonians were gleeful in their work.
- The Babylonians had smashed Israelite babies on the rocks.
Why can we relate to Psalm 137
Dearest One, have you had a time in your life when no matter how deep you reached, there was not a song in your heart? Is joy foreign and far away? Your prayers, guttural?
I have. I can relate to weeping ’till I am empty and spent. Void of words and my heart is aching with physical pain.
When we find ourselves here, what can we do?
“But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless.” Psalm 141:8
Lord, in the uncertainty, my eyes are on you.
In my pain, my eyes are on you.
When my prayers seem unanswered, my eyes are on you.
Where there is unrest, my eyes are on you.
My eyes are on you in the unholy hard.
As my illness presses in, my eyes are on you.
When I don’t know what to do, my eyes are on you.
Even when I’m at my wit’s end, my eyes are on you.
Dearest One, fill in the blank:
In my ________, my eyes are on you.
Dearest One, take a spiritual inventory.
- What makes you weep?
- What makes you sing?
- In this season, what makes you angry?
- Are you yearning for something that feels out of reach?
When we hide our pain, our lament, we separate ourselves from God’s comfort. God is comfortable with our pain. He longs to gather us under his wings of protection.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1
The dwelling is active. Stepping into the shelter of the Highest is an act of faith that takes us into the loving arms of a good, good Father. We move into the shadow of Almighty God.
In her book, This Too Shall Last, K.J. Ramsey says it this way:
“The cloud of suffering is not a storm. It’s a shelter…God is here. He has not left…God is not on the other side of suffering. He is in it. The invisible God is closer to us than we are ourselves.”
Psalm 141:8, “But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord; in you, I seek refuge.”
When we dare to take our eyes off of our circumstances, perspective changes, trust, and faith deepen. Self-reliance becomes reliance on our Heavenly Father.
I am here to encourage you, equip you, and guide you as you redefine your wilderness.
Your Wilderness Guide,
*Currently, we are in the book of Amos. I’d love to share my Bible Reading Plan with you, along with my Bible Study Plan, if you are interested comment below or send a private email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Catch up here.
*Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotes are in the English Standard Version from Bible.com
PS: My first book, Mornings In The Word, is available now. Order your copy today. Mornings In The Word consists of short devotions and insights for the middle!
“There is no space to live well or love well, much less pursue the God who created us to be in fellowship with Him. We close the gap between what we need and what we want with more. Our spinning lives and broken hearts are empty while appearing full. We paste a smile on our face and tell anyone who asks we are okay while inside we are shattering a million different ways.” -Mornings In The Word