1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
2 There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD
while in a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill.
6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.
7 Remember, LORD, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
“tear it down to its foundations!”
8 Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is the one who repays you
according to what you have done to us.
9 Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.
Imprecatory psalms are sometimes hard to read-
and harder to digest. “Happy is the one who seizes your
infants and dashes them against the rocks”?
There is a whole history lesson that goes with today’s psalm-
but I’m not going there. This is a psalm of sorrow- of memorial-
of pain- and yes, of anger.
This past week I had a conversation with a lady about her
nephew who is back in jail because of his addiction to drugs.
He is due to be released, but no one in the family is willing to take
him on. Or should I say, no one is willing to take on him and his
I don’t really understand addiction fully, but what I get- what I KNOW
about it is that it is as tenacious and destructive as a stage 4 cancer- and
more often than not- it ends in death.
Those who live with drug addictions are whirlwinds of trouble-
redemption and relapse,
futile futures and they are dangerous to love.
I’m not saying that they can’t come out of the depths of degradation-
I’m saying that often, they don’t – and if they do- there is no
guarantee they won’t end up back in the same despair.
My friend, Michele, wrote a psalm that I’d like to share with you.
PRAISE THE LORD
Praise the Lord for being our Creator
Praise Him for making us new
Praise Him for being our mentor
Ask and it shall be given to you.
Praise the King, the First and the Last,
Praise Him for your future and past.
Praise the One in Heaven above,
Praise Him, Praise Him with all of your love.
Michele was an addict who came to know and love the Lord.
Her voice was loud in His praises, her chuckle filled with the joy
she had in being a part of the family of God.
Her eyes would sparkle as she spoke of His grace and mercy-
and her stories were full of the mystery of His love.
Her life was troubled-
there was so much she had to make amends for- so much she
had to learn-her addiction was costly- it stripped her of her
family, her teeth, her health, her friends.
And she wanted to have a life like those of the believers she knew.
But her life was precarious – even at its best.
And the addiction did not go away- it laid in wait for a moment of
weakness and despair.
And I believe- in the end- it was too strong for her to keep fighting.
But – thinking of Michele and the many others of our loved ones
who are caught in the web of this enemy-
I understand Psalm 137 better.
”Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is the one who repays you
according to what you have done to us.”
Here is a little background to this entry-
Heidi this one is hard to answer, Our talk with a friend the other day brought MIchele to mind. I am thankful we helped where we could and kept her in our prayers.
My friend’s son died last week, many complications and a troubled life from years of drug and alcohol abuse. He knew my mother a little and was kind to her when he was well, helping her with some decorating and listening to her stories. There is a lot of weeping lately. I read your Psalms quite often, though I don’t comment as I am not a Churchgoer and it seems inappropriate to do so.
I am very fond of this Psalm and all its many settings to music that I have heard over the years.
thanks for your comment, Joanna- I don’t think it is ever inappropriate to speak your thoughts on Scripture. I see it as a catalyst for looking deeper into the heart and soul of the matters at hand.
And the psalms seem to speak volumes to the human condition in a troubled world without many safe places. I find solace in faith and strength in the Lord- and somehow, this book of poetry, history and wisdom brings comfort and meaning to the most dire of circumstances.
This one, in particular, touches me on a very deep level- I always weep when I read it.