- Psalm 102; 106; 123; 137
Today we conclude our two-day look at psalms written during the period of exile in Babylon. These psalms give us insight into the feelings of the Israelites during their days far from their homeland. Psalm 102 expresses feelings of woe as of an afflicted man. The man, representing the nation of Israel, calls upon the LORD to save them from their suffering. Psalm 106 is a recount of the rebellion of Israel from the days in Egypt when the LORD led them out of that land. The psalm ends with a plea to GOD to save them and return them from the various nations where they have been scattered as a result of the LORD’s anger.
Psalm 123 is a prayer for mercy, requesting relief from the proud who have persecuted and ridiculed GOD’s people. Finally, Psalm 137 expresses a longing to return to the glorious city of Jerusalem as in days gone by. Here the psalmist expresses sadness because the captors forced them to sing songs of Zion as they did back home. Consider the sad words of this psalm:
1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. 2 There on the poplars we hung our harps, 3 for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” 4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land? 5 If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. 6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy.
7 Remember, LORD, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell. “Tear it down,” they cried, “tear it down to its foundations!” 8 Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is the one who repays you according to what you have done to us. 9 Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.
(Psalm 137:1-9 NIV)
Truly there must have been much sadness among GOD’s people at this time. Yet this is always the price of choosing the path of sin. Sadness fills the eyes of those who choose to walk the broad way that leads to destruction. Don’t you know that the Israelites were saying, “Oh, if we would have just listened to GOD and done things His way, how much better off we’d be.”