God's Word for Today

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Disciple Moment: A Fresh Look at Some Very Old Words

Sometimes moments of clarity happen when you least expect it.

I don’t know about you but sometime the writers of the bible don’t seem like real people to me. It is hard for me to see them as flesh and bone individuals that walked around in the real world. The world we live in today seems so very different from the world that the Patriarchs lived in. Thousand of yeas have passed yet God’s word is eternal.

When I think about Abraham or Moses I think in terms of Prophets and great leaders. For me it is sometimes hard to see past the great acts of God that surrounded the Patriarchs and look at the real flesh and bone humans that they were.

Isn’t that just human nature, we allow our vision to be clouded by what are perceptions are or from what we can see on the outside. Things of the past seem so far removed from what our life is like today. The imagery of Moses using a cell phone or Abraham consulting his GPS is just an hard to picture as it is for me to place myself in a caravan of wandering Hebrews in the desert.

Yet the one thing that has not changed is human nature. My feelings, the emotions I have and the thoughts that wander through my mind can not be that different from our Patriarchal counterparts of ages ago.

When I get angry I want to see justice. When I weep I want to be comforted. When I am confused I seek understanding. When I am suffering I search for peace. When I read the psalms I see so very clearly all of these human yearnings, yearning from thousands of years ago are just as relevant as the yearning of our hearts today.

The supplemental material that we work with in Disciple is a wonderful compilation of background material as well as question that give opportunities to look at the scriptures from a personal perspective.

Psalm 137 is a sorrowful lament for the pain that they Israelites were suffering. It is so easy after the many readings about the trials and the numerous times the Israelite faced suffering by the numerous invading armies or warring faction that surrounded them to gloss over the underlying heartache.

When I am grieving over something it is most likely because the situation has struck a very personal cord within in my heart. Someone close to me is no longer present in my life and I am heartbroken that I will not see them again on this earth. When I am angry over a perceived wrong or when something unfair or hurtful happens my human side wants, longs for or imagines harsh retribution.

The unknown writer of Psalm 137 packed this lament full of real life emotion if I will but open my human eyes and see. 

The question was asked this week: As you read Psalm 137 were you surprised by verse 9? What would cause the psalmist to be so angry?

8 O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction,
   happy is he who repays you
   for what you have done to us—
9 he who seizes your infants
   and dashes them against the rocks.

My answer, I had to stop as as the reality of the situation washed over me. My heart ached as I read the bitter heartbreak of these words. Very personal words of a tragic gut wrenching unimaginable situation.

My children are healthy beautiful young people, they live in a world where they can live and worship freely. The have never really suffered, not really. They have lost grandparents and had unpleasant things happen to then in the course of there lives but they have never thankfully faced the truly unthinkable. As a parent my heart breaks at the unimaginable image that verse 9 places in my thoughts, but I can also identify with the pain and heartbreak that motivate those words.

The Psalms are so full of every human emotion. What grieves the heart now grieved the heart a millennium ago. What brought joy to ones soul long ago still fills us with joy today.

God is unchanging and eternal. He meets my every need and opens my eyes every day to the intricacies of His Holy Word

Psalm 137 was a fresh reminder that God’s word is living and active. The psalmist were flesh and blood individuals and their words are relevant for us today. They convey the same emotions of joy, sorrow, heartache, praise, thanksgiving and above all how great God truly is.

Psalm 137
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, O 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, O LORD, what the Edomites did
   on the day Jerusalem fell.
“Tear it down,” they cried,
   “tear it down to its foundations!”

8 O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction,
   happy is he who repays you
   for what you have done to us—
9 he who seizes your infants
   and dashes them against the rocks.

God’s word never returns to us empty it achieves the purpose that God intended it to achieve whether it was a thousand years ago or early this morning as I read psalm 137 with fresh eyes.

Isaiah 55:11

11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
   It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
   and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

With Thankfulness


1 comment:

Beverlydru said...

Robin, It made my heart sing to see that you'd come by to say "hi" today. I don't spend nearly as much time as I'd like visiting my blog buddies.

Wonderful post.. I felt the breath of life on me as I read it...the Word is so wonderfully alive!

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