Summary: True believers can't give up. That what we feel is a setback is only a setup for the Savior to step through. Don't give up...great things take time!
Scripture Reference: Psalm 137:1-4
Preached at Mount Zion Baptist Church on June 10, 2018
Delivered by Rev. John Daniel Johnson
Israel had been in captivity as slave in Egypt. After nearly 400 years of captivity, they were allowed to leave and follow Moses to the Promised Land of God. After their refusal to enter the Promised Land, they wandered the desert for 40 years. Finally, they went into the Promised Land and began to build what would become the nation of Israel.
However, something began happening nearly 900 years after being freed from captivity. The Israelites found themselves right back in the chains of slavery. From 931 BC to 586 BC there were 20 different kings that held the throne of Judah. The nation of Israel had already been destroyed by the Assyrians because of their disobedience, and now only the tribe of Judah and Benjamin (named the nation of Judah) was left. During this nearly 350 years of Judah’s existence, they had 20 different kings. 8 of these kings were known for “doing what was right in the sight of the Lord.” The other 12 were characterized by “doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord.”
Because of Judah’s disobedience, God began warning that judgment was coming, but they refused to repent and turn from their sinful ways. In the year 604 BC, the Babylonians invaded Judah and carried nearly 10,000 people off to captivity. Daniel and Ezekiel were exiled during this first siege.
Then in 597 BC, the Babylonians attacked again and destroyed all of Judah. The temple was destroyed. The walls were destroyed. Their home was gone and now the remnant of Judah that had remained, were taken away to Babylon as slaves.
I want us to look at four types of states in which God’s people found themselves stuck in.
Four States of God’s Despairing People
1. First, they were stuck remembering the past and failing to see the future. (…we remembered Zion…”)
a. We serve a God of the future as well as the past. He didn’t just perform miracles…He still performs miracles. He has a future planned for us. The
book (Bible) is full of the future.
b. This remembering was not being “homesick”. They had lost everything. Their home…their land…their family…was gone! Therefore, they just
c. What were they remembering? Answer: Zion! They were remembering how great things were back in Zion and how great she was.
1) They were remembering all the past victories of Zion.
2) They were remembering how the enemies trembled at the sight of he
d. There on the shores in the land of Babylon, under the weeping willows, they simply remembered how things used to be, with no hope for the future.
e. They failed to see that they were exactly where God had placed them and this situation was only there for a season.
2. They became overwhelmed by the situation and simply gave up. (…they sat down…”)
a. What did they do? Scripture says "They sat". This speaks of inactivity and hopelessness. They had no hope of ever seeing their beloved Jerusalem
again. Yet, unbeknown to them this captivity was only for a season. After it accomplished that which God intended, the people would once again be
miraculously delivered to go home. God would move on the heart of a pagan king to once again "Let His People Go".
b. They did not Pray! They did now Plan! They did not Praise! They just sat and gave up!
3. They allowed the emotions to control their behavior. (…we wept…”)
a. There is nothing wrong with crying! It is even therapeutic.
b. However, they were stuck in the tears of sorrow never with an optimistic hope of a brighter day.
c. Their cries were to each other, instead of crying to God!
4. They allowed there situation to cause them to lose their song. (…we hanged our harps on the willow tree in the midst thereof…”
a. Israel was known for it’s praise. Even the name of Judah means praise.
b. Now, they hung there harps in the willows. This literally means that they gave up praise all together. They retired their strings.
c. When the music and praise should have started…it stopped. Our victory lies in the fact that we can praise.
How to Not Give Up
1. Make up your mind that you are going to believe that God’s still faithful. There’s power in a made-up mind. Decide today that nothing will keep you
from experiencing increase in your passion for God.
a. Story about getting Charity’s hospital bill in the mail (nearly $8200), and giving the letter back to God. Veteran’s Affairs department paid after a
year because I was involuntarily extended in my enlistment contract. The total paid covered the entire cost.