Psalm 137:8 – What You Have Done to Us

The Jews had a different perspective on the land of Israel than we do today in America.  God had promised them a homeland and a holy city.  For them, life and God were tied together in a way that we really can’t comprehend.  When they disobeyed God and suffered the consequences of destruction and dispersion to Babylon, their longing and hope was for what they had squandered, yet they also believed that God would recompense them for their loss.

God had allowed the Jews to literally be removed from their homes to a foreign land.  Certainly that kind of thing goes on far too often today around the world – there are diasporas everywhere – but as Americans, that’s not something we can relate to.  Being as large as we are and with our borders from sea to sea, the idea of foreign actors conquering us and causing us similar distress to what Israel endured isn’t in our thinking whatsoever.

When Babylon took them away, God actually instructed the Jews to settle down in that place.  Jeremiah 29:4-5 records this:

“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce.”

How do we relate to that?  Carried off.  Then instructed to make your home where you are.  But… God had a plan.  He promised that after seventy years of exile they would come back to Israel.  The generation taken would never see their land again.  The promise was for those coming after – those who had not disobeyed God.

Thus, all that the generation who resided in Babylon could do was hope in this future promise for their offspring.  In the course of that they also took the opportunity to bestow curses on their captors that they believed God would honor.  Such imprecations against their enemies clash with our sensibilities today, but consider what they prayed in Psalm 137:8-9:

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!

That’s harsh to our ears, but is it any different in effect to what we hope and think will ultimately happen to those who are in the process of destroying our nation?

Biblically, it’s been foretold that the world will careen down into a morass of chaos and lawlessness.  We are in that astounding time where Bible prophecy is coming true and coming together right in front of us.  For those of us aware of the times and knowing where this all leads, we’re in the midst of a bittersweet situation.  We know there is no recovery.  All the talk of a Great Awakening brings hope to people, but based on Scripture, it’s a false hope this side of the Tribulation.  The global elites have determined that this is their moment.  They are seizing it and will certainly not relinquish their hold.  The good guys may have small victories here or there, but the overarching narrative in which the world marches toward a New World Order is well underway and cannot be stopped by the efforts of man.

What this means and what it looks like in actual practice is what’s up for grabs.  We see the increasing tyranny and experience certain effects from that, i.e. mask mandates, lockdowns, the coming vaccine passports, but what will be the end result of these?  There are some number of people who are resisting impositions on our freedom.  The government has issued warnings that those who dissent are subject to coercive action.  Based on the fact that “quarantine” camps are being readied, i.e. internment camps in plainer language, who of us will be forced into them?  What happens then?

For those of us of faith, we have the promise of God of something much better that is coming soon.  In a sense we could liken it to God’s declaration to Israel that He would bring them back home.  The promise we cling to is the hope of the imminent Rapture of the church.  In that, God won’t return us to where we used to live; rather he will take us from this strange and alien world to our true home in heaven with Him.

In the meantime, as we endure, and perhaps suffer, at the hands of those who hate God and our nation as founded, we can emulate the prayers of the Jews.  We can pray for evil to be exposed.  We can pray that the Lord will tear down from power those who are the worst of the worst.  We can pray that God will bring justice to these wicked people even during their lifetimes.  Yes, they will face the eternal judgment of God, but some temporal retribution shouldn’t be out of the conversation.

Yes, we can pray this way.  What we must also pray for, however, is for the redemption of those who hate God.  That’s a harder prayer, i.e. to pray for good to befall our enemies.  But the good we wish is for their salvation.  We should ask God to place us in the position where we can pour burning coals on the heads of our enemies such that they know the conviction of the Lord, and that He would rend their hearts.

These are difficult times.  They’re hard to watch and experience.  Despite that, while we wait in great expectation for the return of Jesus, let us not cease from doing good.

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