Summary: An appeal to God’s people to live a life of real praise, bringing glory to God and a witness to the world around them.
SINGING THE LORD’S SONG
Psalm 137:1-4 "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For 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. How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land?"
What sort of singer are you? Could you thrill an audience with the beauty of your voice or are you like so many of us, better off singing your solos within the confines of the walls of your shower? It does not matter how melodic or mediocre our voice may be, we are all called to sing unto the Lord. Paul told the members of the churches at Ephesus and Colosse that God’s children are to sing hymns, psalms and spiritual songs; singing and making melody in their hearts unto the Lord.
Yes, we are all singers and if we are saved we have a special song of salvation to sing. It is a different and beautiful song that the world does not know or understand. God is both the composer and the lyricist. He gives it to us. Places it right in our heart when we are born again of His Spirit. Our new found joy soon moves us to give expression to it. It is the song of the redeemed. The song of Zion. If we love the Lord we must sing it. The redeemed of the Lord must say so.
What we should sing and why we should sing it is already determined in the Word of God. But when, where and how we sing is another matter. We are responsible for the time, place and manner the song of salvation is sung.
In some places and at some times it is difficult to sing the Lord’s song in the way He wishes it to be sung. David indicates he found it rather difficult to sing the Lord’s song after the Bethsheba affair. It seems he found the Lord’s song stuck in his throat and was sealed within him by his great transgression and offense against God and man. It would seem the sweet harp player of Israel laid his harp aside for a time because no true song of joy and salvation could spontaneously and spiritually spring forth from a sad and sinful and heart.
In his great prayer of contrition and confession David cried, "Create in me a new heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me . . . restore unto me the joy of my salvation . . . and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness . . . and my mouth shall show forth thy praise." It is obvious that David’s song of salvation was sealed in a sinful heart and his lips of true praise were frozen by his terrible transgression. Only true repentance and forgiveness could enable Him to truly sing the Lord’s song again.
Remember Israel’s lament while in Babylonian captivity? They were also reaping the wages of sin against the Holy One of Israel. They cried out, "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?"
Sometimes the world also demands of us, in scorn and derision, that we sing the Lord’s song. It is difficult, no impossible, to do so if we have compromised with that same world. Our lips our sealed by sin from singing our song of salvation and giving expression to true praise unto our God. There is always lacking that note of truth and sincerity that is absolute necessary for singing spiritual songs and making true spiritual melody in our hearts.
A person who has turned away from God and backslidden into a David-like pattern of sin and rebellion, cannot really seek to sing God’s song and worship and glorify Him in His house among His people. Such perverted praise and worship would be blasphemous. No true song of salvation can issue from such a sinful heart or burst forth from such deceitful lips. That heart must first be permanently purged and cleansed through true repentance and confession of sin. This means a turning away from the practice and pattern of a sinful life and a spiritual about face. A genuine repentance and spiritual renewal must first take place before the songs of Zion can be truly be sung again.