Life is full of challenges. One is how to pray when you are in pain. Another is how to pray when you have been hurt, betrayed and/or abused.
Israel is in exile because of her sin. God is punishing them. People are mocking them.
Israel had a ‘land’ theology; so to be separated from the land is to be separated from the Lord.
In their pain they remember how the Edomites did them wrong as their beloved Jerusalem was being leveled.
During the days described above today’s Psalm was written. It is a lament of the heart. It is not the last word on prayer, but maybe a first word. It is filled with pain and a desire for retribution… ugly retribution against Babylon and even her children.
I have felt that way. There are times when I just wanted God to ‘get them.’ I have been deeply wounded and wanted the other person to pay. I wanted to get even, or get ahead, to inflict more than I received.
Honesty compels me to admit I have had thoughts like those in this Psalm.
One difference, I harbored my thoughts, I kept them in. I never verbalized them to myself much less to the Lord. The Psalmist gets them out and expresses them to the Lord. Neither of us acted… everything occurred in our thought life.
But with the Psalmist, praying his heart gave God the green light to bring change. Hearing the words of the Psalmist, realizing how honest he was with the Lord, gives me courage to voice my true concerns along with my ‘junk’. This allows the Lord to work in my situation which likely means He will change me!
My hope would be not to stay with this prayer… but to be changed until I could pray as Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them for the do not know what they are doing...” (Luke 23:34).