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Psalms – Psalm 137

Sunday, July 28: Psalms

Psalm 137

This week, we are continuing our theme of praying The Psalms. Last week, we looked at Psalm 88—a raw, emotional outpour to the LORD. This week, we are looking at another emotionally charged psalm: Psalm 137. Psalm 137:9 says, “Blessed shall be he who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!”That verse means exactly what it sounds like—the psalmist is wishing for infanticide.

What do we do with this verse? This is the holy Word of God. How do we reconcile this prayer with Jesus’ commands to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us? Do we reject these verses as “Old Testament morality” that has been replaced by something better? Do we literally pray these words? Why or why not?

Most of the time, we just pretend like these verses aren’t in the Bible. In his book, Answering God, Eugene Peterson writes about Psalm 137 and our tendency to “edit out” the psalms that offend our pious ideals of life with God:

“We commonly indulge our preference by subjecting the Psalms to severe editing, cutting away the negativism that offends piety and disturbs the peace. The editing is usually unconscious, accomplished by the simple expedient of withdrawing the imagination and sliding over the offensive passages. Psalm 137 is on everyone’s list for revision. Psalm 137 is the scandal of the Psalter.”

But Psalm 137 won’t go away, and the feelings behind Psalm 137 won’t go away. What do we do with these feelings? What do we do when we wish hurt upon someone who has hurt us? I think Psalm 137 has a place in the Christian life—even verse 9. Join us on Sunday to see what that place is.

See you then!


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