Life in Exile

5th September, 2009 - Posted by Claire Larsen - No Comments

Have you ever wondered what the people of Judah were thinking when the Babylonians invaded Jerusalem, destroyed the temple, and led them on a forced march to the pagn land of Babylonia? Have you ever wondered what the thoughts of the remnant were when they  returned?

The Psalms give us a window into the inner psyche of God’s people at these two memorable points of their history. Listen to the words of some of the Psalms.

“By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion” – Psalm 137 describes  how hard it was to sing the “songs of Zion” when their captors asked them to sing. They lamented the betrayal by Edomites. I read the Psalm and the suffering of these people becomes very real. These were real people who really existed and experienced the ravages of war and captivity.

Then I read Psalm 124 and Psalm 126 and hear their intense joy at their return: “If the Lord had not been on our side … the raging waters would have swept us away …” and “when the Lord brought back captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed …”   What would it have been like to come home to Jerusalem after seventy years? What emotions they would they have experienced knowing that despite the hardships, the Lord had been on their side and never stopped caring for them?

The Lord intended that His people all through history read the Psalms and receive encouragement in their own personal situations. But as I read these Psalms recently, I was able to step back in time and and get a clearer understanding of the context of these Biblical stories. Are there other Psalms that provide such a window into the thoughts and minds of the people who wrote them?  Maybe I’ll read some of the Psalms a little differently now.

Posted on: September 5, 2009

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