Sermon for Saturday

How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? Psalm 137:4

We almost feel like crying with these folks. Uprooted from their families, their religion, their occupations of home and hauled away to Babylon, these people were broken-hearted at their great loss, and filled with fear, uncertainty, and hopelessness. And now they are being bombarded with an impossible request. Their captors, and other folks in Babylon, want them to provide some entertainment. They want to hear from the Israelites one of the songs from back home. Singing was a very important part of both family and religious life in Israel. These folks would be good singers, and would have plenty of songs they could sing. But no, they were away from home, and had no hope of ever seeing Jerusalem again. In this strange land, there was nothing to sing about. As Christians, you and I are in a strange land, too. But unlike those misplaced Israelites, we have a song to sing.

The big difference between those poor Israelites in Babylon and the Christians in today’s world is hope. The dreary outlook for those Israelites is so unlike the glorious hope of the Christian. All the Israelites had to look forward to was servitude, loneliness, and a grave in foreign soil. Christians face freedom, welcome, and a home in Glory. The Israelites could take little comfort in their God, but the Christian can rejoice in the perfect comfort of a Father Who sent His Son to be our Saviour, and Who delights to bless His children every day. The Israelites were slaves who had no homes or possessions. Christians, on the other hand, have freedom from sin, and freedom to enjoy our Lord’s presence, and we are eagerly awaiting a home of rest and delight. And our God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. Oh, yes, we have cause to sing, even in a strange land!

Another big difference between us and the misplaced Israelites is the attitudes of those around us. Babylonians would have been pleased to hear these Israelite slaves sing of their homeland, their people, and their God. We don’t get that appreciation today, even when we try to tell those around us of our salvation and the Lord Who provides it. Those who could not sing in Babylon had an audience. Those of us with a song today have trouble finding people who will listen to us. We can only keep singing, in hopes that someone will listen.

Our joyful song of salvation is a wonderful testimony to those around is. It is also a happy reminder to ourselves of our glorious hope. – Jim MacIntosh

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