Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
“tear it down to its foundations!”
Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is the one who repays you
according to what you have done to us.
Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.
Today’s verses end with one of the harshest sentences in the entire Old Testament. And that is saying something.
Can you imagine singing this line as a worship song?
Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.
Such violence and cruelty certainly shouldn’t have a place in Scripture, much less in the Psalms, the first hymn book of God’s people, should it?
Some context will help us make sense of what’s going on here.
You see, Psalm 137 was written either during, or about, when the Israelites were captives in Babylon.
The Psalm begins by describing how they were mocked by the Babylonians and told to “dance” in their sorrow.
Then, we hear about how the Edomites’ rejoiced and encouraged the destruction of Jerusalem.
Imagine the bitterness this writer must feel!
It would be like this…
A foreign power invades your country, ripping you, your family, and your friends from your homes. They destroy your cities and bring you to their country as one of the many conquered people they collect.
You are constantly mocked. Your tears are met with laughter. And many of the people you loved are now dead.
Those people, those mocking legions, are the ones the psalmist hates so much he would write this kind of prayer and worship song to God.
I’m not saying it’s a “good” hope or desire for the writer to have. But there is something profound here.
Here’s the beauty in these ashes: this psalmist shows us that we can open up our darkest, most bitter, and most evil thoughts to God.
We can be completely transparent with God. We don’t have to hide our bitterness, our hatred, or our malice.
These aren’t things we’re used to talking about openly. In fact, sometimes thoughts will pop into our heads that scare us and wish weren’t there.
Understand, though, God already knows the most wicked thoughts you’ve ever had, and he loves you just the same. He proved it on the cross.
You can give your most vile thoughts and desires to God in prayer. You will not be rejected—and better still, he will bring ultimate peace and resolution to them.
Bring your bitterness to God and let the Holy Spirit help you through it.
This produces incredible intimacy, because we only share the deepest, darkest parts of ourselves with the people we trust the most.Trust God and bring your bitterness to him, asking him to exchange it for peace. Click To Tweet