“How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:4)
Is it that they don’t know the words now that they are in captivity? No, that’s not it. Have they forgotten the tune for the words? No, that’s not the problem either. Is there some relationship between singing the Lord’s song and being free, in God’s world? Hmm. We may be on to something here.
We like your music; the Babylonians may be saying. Sing those great hymns you are so known for. Or, perhaps, they are saying, we know the claims of your songs of Zion so try them out in Babylon. Maybe the answer is simply that the people can’t sing because of the tears in their eyes and the sobs in their throats. Hard to sing a song of deliverance when you sit on a foreign river in captivity. Not much enthusiasm for songs of victory in the middle of defeat.
Too much remorse, too much self-reflection, too much guilt to sing a song to the Lord. No, the Lord’s song is a song of joy and a hymn of raptured wellness. None of that is present in Babylon. Too sad for words or song one poet said.
Task for Today: If you find yourself on the banks of the Babylon River, crying over your failure to keep the faith and walk the walk just remember that if you cannot sing tonight morning is coming. Psalms 30:5 tells us, “…Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Jesus sets the captives free. He will not leave you in Babylon nor in tears. He will give you a new song to sing. Go to bed today confident that tomorrow will bring singing.