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Post-Traumatic Stress Reorder

29. September 2017

Columns, Learn & Live,


Psalm 137

Psalm Category: Communal lament

Central Thought: God will judge the world with full equity

Key words: remember/forget; Babylon/Jerusalem-Zion

It is likely the psalmist recently returned to Jerusalem from Babylon, rejoicing to come home (Ps. 126) but feeling devastated by the sight of barren Zion (temple mount) and ruined Jerusalem. He and those with him are home but still are captives. Their comfort and confidence is the certainty that God is just and will finally and fully deliver them.

This psalm speaks to us in our recurring sorrows over old sins against us where our tormentors refuse to repent so that we may forgive them and be reconciled. The theme of remembering ties the three sections of this psalm together.

We Remembered Zion (vv. 1–4). Babylon had an extensive canal system for transportation and irrigation but also providing cool refreshment. This pleasantness, even in captivity, could have caused the exiles to forget Jerusalem; but the psalmist and his brethren remembered with sadness (v. 1; Neh. 1:3–4). A group of people with harps (v. 2) suggests the Levites, whose privileged duty was to sing in worship (1 Chron. 15:16), a duty we all have in Christ. The insistent request by their captors that they, as Levites, sing in a place other than Jerusalem implies the worship of another god, which they could not do (vv. 2–4; 2 Kings 18:22; John ...

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