How Can We Sing The Lord's Songs In A Foreign Land?
Contributed by Michael Stark on Mar 11, 2023 (message contributor)
Summary: Our life as followers of Christ serve as either a hymn of praise pointing to our Saviour, or it serves as mere background noise for the delight of a dying world.
“[By the waters of Babylon] our captors
required of us songs,
and our tormentors, mirth, saying,
‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion!’
“How shall we sing the LORD’s song
in a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
let my right hand forget its skill!” 
“Our citizenship is in Heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself” [PHILIPPIANS 3:20-21]. We who follow Christ must never forget this revelation that was delivered to us by Paul. Our destiny is not to live on this earth, trapped in bodies that are subject to death. God has redeemed us for a higher purpose. We who are twice-born have been saved; we are being prepared to spend eternity serving the Living God. We shall be changed into the image of Christ Himself, and we shall dwell eternally with Him.
We who follow the Risen Saviour are now living in foreign territory. The land where we now serve our King is hostile to Him and to His cause. This is to be expected since Jesus Himself warned that the whole world lies under the reign of the devil. We who follow the Risen Lord of Glory advocate for peace with all people, pleading with any who now live in opposition to the Son of God to cease warring against Him, receiving the gift of life which He offers. Jesus offers rest and peace to any who are willing to receive Him,. Jesus invites all who hear His gracious words, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” [MATTHEW 11:28-30].
And with the rest which Jesus offers, He offers divine peace. We testify that Jesus has promised His disciples, “Peace I leave you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” [JOHN 14:27]. And that peace is offered to you, even this day.
All who are restless, all who are exhausted by their battle against God and against His grace, all who are defeated and who now live under the terrors of the wicked one, are invited to receive Christ Jesus as Master over life. And when you receive Him as Master, you receive the great benefits of rest and peace, gifts that only He can give. You can leave the realm of darkness now, and enter into the life marked by light, which is the Kingdom of God. This is freely offered to all who come to Christ in faith.
At the outset, allow me to make the issue plain by citing the words which the Apostle to the Gentiles penned almost two millennia past as he wrote a congregation meeting in the city of Rome. Paul reminded everyone who would ever read that missive, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” [ROMANS 10:9-10].
Then, as if to meet any objection that what was required was too difficult, Paul reached back into the pages of the Old Covenant to simplify the matter, citing the ancient words of the Prophet Joel, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” [ROMANS 10:13].
Salvation is freely offered to each individual who receives Jesus as Master over life. Salvation, the forgiveness of sin, acceptance into the Family of God, is promised and immediately given to each person who comes to Him, believing this message that the Father sent His Son to provide a perfect sacrifice for our broken condition. Having given His life as a sacrifice for sin, Jesus conquered death, rising from the tomb. He ascended into the glory where He is now seated at the right hand of the Father. You, if you look to Him, will be born from above and into the Kingdom of Heaven.
We who have believed in Christ the Lord are forever changed. Our struggle to make ourselves acceptable to the Living God is finished and we are now able to rest from those efforts. This is witnessed as an unknown writer encouraged believing Jews who were experiencing intense persecution. That writer urged those who would read his words, “While the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,