God cares for the persecuted
The stress of captivity
Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept as we thought of Jerusalem. We put away our lyres, hanging them on the branches of the willow trees. For there our captors demanded a song of us. Our tormentors requested a joyful hymn: “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!” But how can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?
In captivity in Babylon, the Jews wept for their homeland and prayed for the day when they might return. But when the day of their release from captivity finally came and they were allowed to return, only about fifty thousand (out of hundreds of thousands) made the trek back to Jerusalem. Why?
For one thing, some of the Jews were making a good living in Babylon — a better living than their fathers had made in Jerusalem. Others had married Babylonian spouses and become assimilated into Babylonian culture. They had forgotten Jerusalem. Can you blame them? Seventy years of captivity is a long time.
Whatever the reason, some of the Jews weren’t like the writer of Psalm 137, which apparently was written shortly after their return from exile.
The Bible speaks of heaven as our Jerusalem and suggests that where we are now living is Babylon on earth. How comfortable are you in your Babylon? How are you faring there? Have you forgotten that you, too, are an exile, a pilgrim in a foreign land? What are you looking ahead to?
from The One Year® Book of Psalms with devotionals by William J. Petersen and Randy Petersen (Tyndale) entry for November 11
Digging Deeper: For more on facing persecution, read Jerry Jenkin’s Shadowed, a novel about keeping faith in the last days. Tyndale House Publishers (hardcover 2005, softcover 2006).
Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House