Today's devotion from Psalms 136 and 137.
Psalms 136 and 137 are two sides of the same coin. The first presents a picture of God's prevailing work in seeing His people through their flight from Egypt. He miraculously freed them from the bonds of slavery in ways only available to Him. He led them in the wilderness and overcame king after king who came against Israel. It was truly wondrous.
If Psalm 136 is heads, then Psalm 137 is tails. This is the cry of the exile. Instead of being led into freedom, this psalm laments Israel being handed over into captivity. Instead of a song rejoicing of God's faithful and enduring love, Psalm 137 presents a people too broken to offer song. They hang up their lyres. "How can we sing the LORD's song on foreign soil?" (Psalm 137:4, CSB) This question is not one that teaches geographical limitations, but the boundaries of praise in the heart of the oppressed.
Can we just be honest? What happened between the miraculous exodus and the disheartening exile? The answer is not due to a failure in God's faithful love that endures forever. The difference is in the hearts of the people.
At the exodus, Israel didn't really know God. However, following that momentous event He painstakingly revealed himself to them. He laid out His work and His ways for them to see, to know, and to apply. At the exile, they fully knew God and had rejected Him time after time. He sent His prophets to reinforce His righteous ways, but they were summarily dismissed. The people had met God and rejected Him. His love was still faithful. It still endured forever. But, the people turned away from that enduring love.
People today are still rejecting His love. We know of Him, but often reject Him. We desire His wondrous works without the righteous and holy accountability of His ways. We live in a world that nonchalantly says, "Bless you," but steadfastly refuses to offer praise to Him. Yet, His faithful love endures forever. Today, that same love is in full force. The question is never about God's love. Instead, the question we must answer concerns our heart.