Psalm 137 verse 1 By the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.
To those of a certain age, these words will remind them of a pop song of the late 1970’s, sung by the group Boney M. They took some Hebrew words of around 2,500 years old and made a hit from them. I wonder how many of you are going over the words in your minds right now.
The words relate to the Babylonian conquest of 587-586 BC when the elite of Judah was marched to Babylon and the temple destroyed. The nine verses of Psalm 137 paint a scene of captives mourning “by the rivers of Babylon,” mocked by their captors. It expresses a vow to remember Jerusalem even in exile.
They had lived contrary to God’s commands for decades. Even when he had sent prophets to warn them, they refused to change their ways, and ultimately, they faced God’s judgement, revealed through a heathen nation. They could not believe it, but when reality dawned upon them, they were mortified and vowed never to forget Jerusalem.
This Psalm reminds us that we can never take God’s grace and forgiveness for granted, that it is not ours by divine right. The Israelites thought that being God’s chosen people gave them a ‘get out of jail free’ card, but they were sadly wrong and faced a brutal reality check.
But if we adhere to the words of 1 John Ch 1 verse 7, ‘ if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin’, then we will never be faced with the tragedy of knowing that we have neglected the truth by our own pride and stupidity.
Dear Lord Jesus, may we read the scriptures to enrich our relationship with you, to feed on the words of eternal life, and to guard us from the pride that dwells within every human heart.
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