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Psalm 137

Talks for Growing Christians

The Song of the Exiles

Psalm 137

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Lesson Number 98

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Prayers for Jerusalem are still valid today.
  2. Prayers of Imprecation are still valid today.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t cheer for the wrong side!

Questions

  1. What is the topic of Psalm 137?
  2. What are the Rivers of Babylon (verse 1)?
  3. Are prayers for Jerusalem still valid for Christians today?
  4. What is imprecation?
  5. Do the imprecatory psalms contradict the Lord’ teachings in passages like Matthew 5:44?
  6. Who were the Edomites (verse 7)?

Answers

  1. This psalm voices the mourning of the Jewish people as they look back and remember their days of captivity in Babylon.
  2. This would be the Euphrates River and its tributaries including the numerous canals of Babylon.
  3. Yes, in light of the Abrahamic Covenant we know that God has still promised the land of Jerusalem to His people. We also know that the Lord’s future kingdom will be established in Jerusalem.
  4. To imprecate means to curse. In an imprecatory psalm, the psalmist calls down God’s curse upon his enemies.
  5. Not if you realize the important fact that imprecatory psalms are not calls for personal revenge, but prayers that the righteous standards of God will be maintained.
  6. Since the Edomites were descendants of Esau, the older brother of Jacob, the Edomites were relatives of the Jewish people. But the Edomites did not come to Judah’s aid when Judah was attacked by the Babylonians.

Discuss/Consider

  1. Discuss whether there is a place for imprecatory prayers in the life of a believer today. When would such a prayer be appropriate?

Challenge

  1. Don’t be like the Edomites who cheered for the wrong side when the Babylonians attacked Israel. Be aware of the negative influences that may be behind a cause you support.

Key Verses

  • “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion.” Psalm 137:1
  • “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill!” Psalm 137:5

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