Tuesday, February 05, 2013

How Shall We Sing?

 1By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
 2We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
 3For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
 4How shall we sing the LORD's song in a strange land? 
(Psalm 137:1-4, King James Version)

How Shall We Sing?

It was the worst of times? Jerusalem, the city God's people never thought would be destroyed, lay in ruins. Carried away to Babylon, God's people, overcome with grief and fear, sat down by the rivers of Babylon and wept. Their captors, jeering at their misery said, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion." Yet, how could they sing the Lord's song in a strange land? How could they sing the Lord's song when their capital city lay in ruins, and they had been thrust from their own homes and lands?

We feel their grief, do we not? Our hearts are saddened by their grief and misery. Indeed, how can one sing of the joy of the Lord in the middle of grief, sadness, and pain. We could say, "They brought all of this upon themselves because they rejected their God and served the gods of the nations surrounding them." Though we may be right, we must stop and consider our own hearts before we are too critical.

In many ways we, as believers today, face the same circumstances. Those of us who live in "Christian" nations, and I use that term loosely, are often lulled into complacency. As we see our country run farther and farther from the Lord, we are still pretty smug about God's protection of us. After all, we are still better, in God's eyes, than the nations which worship foreign gods.

Is that the way God views things? "Oh, they are slipping farther and farther away from Me, but they are still closer to me that those who worship idols." If that were true, Judah would never have fallen! Who is this God we serve, and what does He require of us? For an answer to that question, let us look at the book of Micah.
 7  Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,  
      Ten thousand rivers of oil?
      Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
      The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
       8  He has shown you, O man, what is good;  
      And what does the LORD require of you
      But to do justly,
      To love mercy,
      And to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:7-8, New King James Version)
Micah warns the people that God's rod is about to come down upon them. Let us remember that we serve a righteous, holy God who is filled with loving kindness. But, when God's people disobey Him, the times often comes when God says, "Enough!" Let us not presume upon the good and gracious hand of the Lord our God, while we dabble in the pleasures of this world.

This world is not our home. We have been sent by God to be a standard bearer of His Word to a lost people. Though we may enjoy the great benefits this world has to offer, never are those things to come between God and us. In all things, no matter what our "occupations" may be, we are called, first of all, to love and serve God.

Let us look at the poor Israelites who asked, "How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" Let us remember that God purified them through the storms of adversity so that their hearts might be turned wholly back to Him. Let us not attempt to serve God with divided hearts, but let us rather give to Him everything. May God, our First Love, remain as that first love all of the days of our lives!

God Bless You,

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