Scott Aniol of Southwestern Baptist Seminary has begun an exposition of Psalm 137. His second installment is on the historical background to the psalm.
Two of the most well-known stories from the Old Testament are specifically meant to highlight how difficult it was for the Hebrews to worship God as he had commanded in such a pagan setting. These are among the first stories children learn from the Old Testament—Daniel and the Lion’s Den and the Three Hebrews in the Fiery Furnace. In both cases, the matter in view is whether or not God’s people in exile will worship him as he commanded or whether they will give into the pressure of their pagan captors and bow to false gods. And in both cases, it is the vast minority that actually follow God’s commands; as far as we know, most of the nation forsake the true worship of God. They forget Jerusalem; they forget the Temple; these are just another way of saying, they forget the true God.