Did God respond to the plea of Psalm 137? Absolutely! After seventy years in exile, every Jew who wanted to return to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and restore the temple was allowed to do so. And the Jews learned their lesson. While they were certainly not a sinless people after their chastisement, they never again struggled with the issue of idolatry. And to this day, they prize the Old Testament Scriptures above all.
The Lord also followed through with His promise to hold Babylon accountable for its atrocities. He predicted that He would make this enormous and powerful city "an everlasting desolation" (Jeremiah 25:12). And, sure enough, the Persians not only invaded the Babylonians, they wiped Babylon off the face of the earth. Only the rubble of the city remains. Babylon is still a desolate, barren land of silence along the Baghdad railway, little more than a windwhipped whistle stop for archaeologists en route to a dig in the rugged wasteland. The city is a lasting testament to the faithfulness of God to do as He has promised.
Psalm 137 is certainly relevant. It speaks to the believer who suffers the consequence of his sin, who tries in vain to "sing the Lord's song in a foreign land." It turns our hearts to Him alone, who can satisfy our deepest needs. It gives us a pattern to follow when we have been severely treated. And it reminds us that our God is fully able to bring vengeance upon those who revile and persecute and say all manner of evil against us falsely. As Romans 12:19-21 reminds us, God can and will handle our every desire for retribution, and He can do it in such a thorough way, we need only to step aside and let Him work.
If you are enduring the grind of lingering consequences following a time of disobedience in your life, you understand this song. As you read it, remember that you are not alone in your agonizing heartache. The pain may be severe and lingering, but the good news is this: it is not endless.
From Living the Psalms by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
In Embraced by the Spirit, we step away from the heat of theological battle that analyzes and criticizes and move quietly and closely to the One who has been sent alongside to help.