This week, we took a week off of our series in Daniel and opened up Psalm 137 on Sunday morning. This Psalm is heavy in its tone and content as it deals with the anguish and lament while enduring captivity and calls upon the Lord’s judgment on their oppressors. From it though, I believe there is much hope for the believer in the mercy and judgment of God. The main idea emphasized in this message was that as believers we ought to worship as exiles as we await the return of Christ.
To properly understand and apply this Psalm, it is crucial to understand its context. This Psalm is set after the brutal and violent Babylonian conquest of Israel and the destruction and desecration of the Holy Temple. The Psalmist is held captive in Babylon and is lamenting in anguish over their inability to worship and the injustice of what has been done to them. We must read this Psalm with empathetic and compassionate eyes to truly understand its context and meaning.
- Worship as Exiles (v. 1-6)
In the first six verses, we see the Psalmist lament over the inability to worship in the foreign and wicked land of Babylon. We reflected on how for them, at that time, separation from the temple meant that were unable to worship God. We discussed the blessing of how in Christ we can worship God anywhere now; our song has not been taken from us. Yet, we can identify with the Psalmist in the fact that we are still exiles, awaiting our future home in the New Jerusalem.
- Waiting for Justice (v.7-9)
In the final three verses, the Psalmist echoes the promises of God in the prophets to bring about judgment on their oppressors (Ezek. 25:12-14, Isa. 13:15-16 for example). We too, as believers, ought to long for judgment and justice as well; and to remember that God will bring that about in fullness when Christ returns. We must be balanced in praying for both justice and mercy and look to the cross of Christ as our example of this.
- Our Present and Future Hope (Rev. 18:21-22)
In conclusion, we looked forward to the promises of God regarding Christ returning. Right on the cusp of Christ’s return, we see God conqueror a figurative Babylon representing the immoral kingdom of this world and putting out this kingdom’s song. The response to this in the following chapters of Revelation are the people of God Rejoicing, Christ’s return, the final conquering of Satan and our entrance into the New Jerusalem. The tables will finally turn and ultimate and final justice and judgment will come to the praise of God’s people.
Praise God that our song has not been taken from us, we can worship while we wait. We ought to live as exiles, but never without hope or confidence.
If you would like to read ahead and be in prayer, next Sunday’s sermon will be from Daniel 7. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Daniel+7&version=ESV