By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land? If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy. Remember, LORD, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell. “Tear it down,” they cried, “tear it down to its foundations!” Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is the one who repays you according to what you have done to us. Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.
Let’s face it; we are not always in a singing mood. There are periods when praise won’t come. Prayer is stymied by persistent pain. Thanksgiving is driven away by a chronic circumstance. Sometimes our eyes are filled with tears, our mouths are filled with sobs, and our hearts ache.
After the reign of King Solomon the kingdom of Israel was split by civil war. The Assyrians captured the Northern Kingdom in 722 BC. The Babylonians ransacked the Southern Kingdom in 586 BC. The Israelites were taken captive, prisoners in a foreign land. One day a Babylonian guard demanded, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” But Israel didn’t feel like singing. Joy is hard to come by when you are far from home. Instead of singing, they “sat and wept.”
Today you may be weeping as well. The tears will come, but don’t despair. Paul reminds us that when we don’t know how to pray the Holy Spirit is praying for us at a depth we cannot even begin to comprehend. He has your back. He is on your side. You may not feel like praying but He does and He is. Today, God Himself is praying for you! Joy will come again.
Lord, like the captive Israelites, today I have hung my harp in the trees and I don’t feel like singing. Still I know that You are on my side and will never leave me. Thank You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.