“By the rivers of Babylon — there we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion. There we hung up our lyres on the poplar trees, for our captors there asked us for songs, and our tormentors, for rejoicing: “Sing us one of the songs of Zion.” How can we sing the Lord ’s song on foreign soil? If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.”
Psalm 137 was written during the time after Israel’s Northern Kingdom, Judea had been exhiled to Babylon (605ishBC).
Appearntly, Israel’s captors would ask them to sing songs (psalms), specifically about Zion (Jerusalem). The Israelites were so homesick and depressed that they had liturally hung their harps up (on trees, vs 2). “How can we sing the Lord ’s song on foreign soil”, they would ask. They even compared forgetting Jerusalem, the capital city of their homeland to forgetting their skill or job, performed by their right hand.
Sometimes we become so overwhelmed and despressed by the circumstances we face that we forget where we came from. For some, remembering is good and comforting; for others, it may be sad and difficult, but for all, its necessary, because, where we’ve come from is a big part of who we are. At the core of who the people of Psalm 137 were, was the fact that, though they were presently Babylonian captives, they were still God’s people-they were always hopeful for the day they’d get to go home!
In our lives, when things get tough, whether we’ve just hit a rough patch or we’ve screwed things up ourselves, we can find hope in the fact that we too are God’s people! Jesus died on the cross to give us a new identity. He rose from the dead to defeat death and the curse of sin on our behalf. He returned to His Father in Heaven to prepare a place for us to spend eternity with Him. Our identity should be wrapped up in the fact that we are His. He paid a huge price to make us His again, and our hope is in Him.
Don’t hang your harp on a tree in despair–instead sing a song of hope!
Think about it!