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 (Psalm 37:1-4).
Obviously, these verses correspond with a sad time in the history of God’s chosen people: Israel. They were in captivity in Babylon. They had lost their freedom: they had lost their song. Harps hanging in the willows were the evidence that the music was silenced in their lives.
Like the Israelites, we dwell in a strange land. As Christians, we are in this world, but we are not of this world. Our citizenship is in Heaven. However, we must never hang our harps in the willows. No matter what our situation, we always need a song. As God’s people — enroute to a much better place — we have reason to sing.
Psalm 118:14 says, “The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.” We sing because God is our salvation. Isaiah 12:2 reminds us that we can trust Him. Since He is our salvation and we trust Him, we have no need to fear. Surely, we can sing of His salvation!
Psalm 40:2-3 states so eloquently: “He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust the Lord.” As we look back, can we remember the pits He delivered us from? Every deliverance we have experienced is part of our testimony to a world that needs to know the awesome power of God. May we let our songs be testimonies of deliverance.
We need to remember that the Christian life is not a life of defeat. We are more than conquerors through the Savior who loves us. Many are the battles we face. We do not face battles alone. God is always with us to see us through to victory. Psalm 140:7 lets us know He always has us covered: “O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.” When we sing about victory in Jesus, we are not singing empty words. Let us sing songs of victory with confidence that we are on the winning side.
Obviously, life is not all sunshine and rainbows. There are dark seasons as well. Sunshine or rain, clear skies or storm clouds, we always need a song. Our God always provides a reason to sing. Psalm 42:8 says “Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.”
Everyone needs a song! God provides the song for every season and every situation. Let us take our harps out of the willows and sing our songs with all of our hearts.
Dave Snyder is an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God – Cleveland, Tennessee. Before entering the ministry on a full-time basis, he was a school teacher. He also coached middle school basketball for eight years.
Dave and his wife, Sara, have two children — Craig and Karen. They also have one ten year old granddaughter — Breanna.
Dave and Sara pastored in West Virginia for thirty-six years. Sara is now retired from the banking industry, and Dave is retired from pastoring. However, Dave currently serves as prison Chaplain for the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Writing essays, articles, and devotionals is a real passion for Dave. He also enjoys playing musical instruments and singing.