Songs of Exile — A LifeWords Devotion – Hope 103.2

Songs of Exile — A LifeWords Devotion

We can still sing the songs of the Lord when places and situations change. Our songs may change, but the one to whom we sing has not changed.

By David ReayThursday 23 Apr 2020LifeWords DevotionalsDevotionsReading Time: 2 minutes

Psalm 137:1-4

          Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept
             as we thought of Jerusalem.
          We put away our harps,
             hanging them on the branches of poplar trees.
          For our captors demanded a song from us.
             Our tormentors insisted on a joyful hymn:
             “Sing us one of those songs of Jerusalem!”
          But how can we sing the songs of the Lord
             while in a pagan land? (NLT)

How do we sing the songs of the Lord in a strange and unwelcome land? That was what the Israelites asked when exiled in Babylon. Their temple was in ruins, they were no longer in their own God-given land. Their old way of life seemed gone forever.

And to add to their despondency, their captors mocked them by insisting they sing their old familiar songs. We know from the book of Daniel that he and others like him managed to maintain their faith even in the midst of alien surroundings. God remained God, worship remained worship even though the old way of life was only a memory.

We also know that those Israelites learned a thing or two in their exile. Their bitter and sad experience of defeat prompted a return to the ways of God—at least for a time. As the old saying has it, don’t let a disaster go to waste by not learning something from it.

We can still sing the songs of the Lord even in exile. Places change, situations change, but our God does not. Our songs may change, but the one to whom we sing has not changed. Our service of God and his love for us does not demand a certain locality or a certain set of circumstances, helpful though these may be.

Exile was not pleasant for the Israelites. But they could not just leave those harps in the poplar trees. Exile from Jerusalem was not exile from the care of God. Separation from their culture was not separation from the presence of God. The destruction of the temple did not destroy their place in the purposes of God.

Exile was not the end of the story, but only one chapter in it.

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Blessings
David