The Expository Files


An Experience of the Captivity

1 By the rivers of Babylon,
There we sat down and wept,
When we remembered Zion.
2 Upon the willows in the midst of it
We hung our harps.
3 For there our captors demanded of us songs,
And our tormentors mirth, saying,
"Sing us one of the songs of Zion."
4 How can we sing the LORD'S song
In a foreign land?
5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
May my right hand forget her skill.
6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
If I do not remember you,
If I do not exalt Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.

Psalm 137:1-6

Sometimes it was difficult for the faithful in captivity to remember their home. The toils of captivity made it seem so distant and long ago. This Psalmist, writing from captivity, proclaimed that he must never forget home. He must never let the hardship (or the comfort, if that be the case) of the present make him forget Zion.

This is because of the promise of God. Isaiah describes the homecoming of those returning from a foreign land this way:

So the ransomed of the LORD will return
And come with joyful shouting to Zion,
And everlasting joy will be on their heads.
They will obtain gladness and joy,
And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

(Isaiah 51:11)

This is much like us. We live in a foreign land, often pressed by difficulties. But ransom, reconciliation, victory and everlasting joy is promised to us by our God. Like the Psalmist, let us resolve never to forget, that we, like those of Isaiah's prophecy, may rejoice forever.

By Jon W. Quinn
The Front Page 19.5
From Expository Files 19.5;  May 2012