Prayer Focus: Mali

Bible Reading: Jeremiah 51, Psalm 137

Scripture:

By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.  (Psalm 137:1)

Observation:

The Israelites were captives of Babylon.  Exiled, some served in chains, some in forced labor, some in poverty at the edges.  God was not some tame idol they could carve from wood and and sit on a shelf.  He was a living being, who loved, got angry, fought protectively for them, was jealous.  He demanded that they follow HIM, not use him to serve themselves.  There was a bond, vows between them that neither party could dissolve.

Now that they’d hit their Rock Bottom, the people turned to one another in a unity of heritage.  After so long of a split, they had a common foe.  And they turned to God.

In this verse above the Babylonians commanded that the musicians, conscripted to service, play their harps and sing songs about Zion.  They contemptuously rubbed their noses in their captivity and worked at breaking their spirits.

This served only to unite them even more.  It caused them to remember their vows.  It reawakened in them the hope of a deliverer.

Application:

I know what it’s like to have all the supports knocked out from under you.  I know what it’s like to feel alone and treated with contempt.  Though my experience is nothing compared to what the Isrealites went through, I am aware of the rock-bottom feeling when you realize all the things you’d counted on fall away.

And maybe that’s the point.

God pulled them down to that rock bottom place to prove to them that they were chasing the wrong things.  The New Testament has a parable about a foolish man who built his house on the sand, and how it didn’t survive the storms.  As a nation, the people needed to build their house on the rock.  In the thing that can’t be knocked out from under them.

Most of us don’t realize what kind of ground we’ve built our foundations on.  Maybe it’s a faith built from what our parents gave us or from what was handy or near by.  The storms come (and they always do) and they reveal what we cling to.

I don’t often look directly into the audience of those who read this blog.  It feels safer to point the lens at myself, and work at a transparent growth.  But today I am asking you directly what you cling to.  What is your foundation built on?  If you find yourself at rock bottom, my heart aches for your circumstances.  It’s not a comfortable place to be.  But like the people of long ago in our reading, they found that when they were at rock bottom, they could be assured  that that ground would not shift and turn on them.  They remembered, the verse says.

Prayer:

Lord, I ask you to stand watch here at this blog, to speak directly to the people who stumble in and read.  You know their circumstances, what they cling to, and where their foundations are built.  For those who are at their rock bottom, Lord I ask that you show them that there is deliverance.  I pray that you increase their hope, and draw them unto yourself, like a mother does her child.  Rock bottom is the best place to meet you.  It’s the best place to start over.  Amen.

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