Christians may have problems with the vindictiveness and violence of this passage of Psalm 137, but it is important to notice other points as well. In yesterday's study, for instance, we noted that the words are an appeal to God for justice. Today we look at two other things evident in these verses. 

“Remember” occurs three times in the psalm. In verse 1 the poet says that he and the other captives remembered Zion while in Babylon. In verse 6 he pronounces a judgment against himself if he should forget to remember Jerusalem. Now in verse 7 he calls on God to remember as he remembered and apply an appropriate judgment to those who destroyed the holy city. 

Does Psalm 137 have meaning for us? Of course, and we do not need to allegorize the psalm to feel its relevance. We need only think how hard it is to sing the hymns of the church when we are immersed in this world's culture. It is why we escape to church to do it. Or we may think of how sad we become considering the state of the church itself when it is weak or plunged into apostasy or is in spiritual decline and when we seem unable to do anything about it. 

The circumstances and words are sad enough without any commentary. But here are three details that might help us appreciate the psalm's pain better. 

The Bible is filled with contrasts that lend substance and life to its teaching, and one of these is between Babylon, which stands for the world and its culture, and Jerusalem, which stands for God's kingdom. This contrast is both literal and figurative, literal because there was an actual earthly Babylon matched by a literal earthly Jerusalem—earthly Babylon overthrew the earthly Jerusalem in 586 B.C.—but figurative, too, because the Bible also speaks of Mystery Babylon, on the one hand (in Revelation 18, 19), and on the other, a new heavenly Jerusalem (in Revelation 21, 22).