I have been listening to the band Sons of Korah for the past few weeks. Stuart Briscoe got me listening to them. Well, okay, I don’t actually know Stuart. But he started promoting them to his church, and that’s why the guy in their church bookstore recommended them to me. But I would like to say that Stuart did actually stop by and say hi to the bookstore salesman while he was showing me the Sons of Korah CD, so I think that counts for something.
Each of their songs are taken from a psalm or portion of a psalm set to music. I really enjoy it, especially being able to appreciate some of the psalms in a new way.
So of course I start thinking about the “difficult” psalms. I bet Psalm 137 is not high on their list of psalms to set to music, I think. Verse 9 says, “How blessed is the man who takes your babies and dashes them against the rocks!” I’m sure this will be at the end of their list and it will be interesting to hear how they pull that one off.
So imagine my surprise when I bring home their Songs of Redemption CD from the Elmbrook library, only to find that Track 1 is Psalm 137! TRACK 1! Not only did they manage to pull it off, it actually became the anchor song for the entire album, setting up our need for redemption with a heart-cry from the Jewish exiles in Babylon. What really makes is come alive is the answer to this psalm in the final track (10), based on Psalm 126, about how the Lord did bring them back from captivity. That, of course, is the substance of redemption, when God redeems His people from captivity.
Nevertheless, I must comment on the fact that they did use a looser translation of verse 9. Instead of “dash[ing] their babies against the rocks,” it is “destroy[ing] your progeny.” So it gives a meaning sort of like, “You destroyed all that we have done and built, so someone will one day destroy all that you have done and built.” A bit of a cop-out? Perhaps. I’m still amazed at how they took one of the most disturbing psalms in the Psalter and used it to really minister to me.