August 8, 2021
Scripture Reading: Psalm 9:1-16
To the chief music-maker on Muthlabben [to the tune of “Death of the Son”. A Psalm of David.]
“I will give you praise, O Lord, with all my heart; I will make clear all the wonder of your works. 2 I will be glad and have delight in you: I will make a song of praise to your name, O Most High.
3 When my haters are turned back, they will be broken and overcome before you. 4 For you gave approval to my right and my cause; you were seated in your high place judging in righteousness.
5 You have said sharp words to the nations, you have sent destruction on the sinners, you have put an end to their name for ever and ever. 6 You have given their towns to destruction; the memory of them has gone; they have become waste for ever. 7 But the Lord is King for ever: he has made ready his high seat for judging. 8 And he will be the judge of the world in righteousness, giving true decisions for the peoples.
9 The Lord will be a high tower for those who are crushed down, a high tower in times of trouble; 10 And those who have knowledge of your name will put their faith in you; because you, Lord, have ever given your help to those who were waiting for you.
11 Make songs of praise to the Lord, whose house is in Zion: make his doings clear to the people. 12 When he makes search for blood, he has them in his memory: he is not without thought for the cry of the poor.
13 Have mercy on me, O Lord, and see how I am troubled by my haters; let me be lifted up from the doors of death; 14 So that I may make clear all your praise in the house of the daughter of Zion: I will be glad because of your salvation.
15 The nations have gone down into the hole which they made: in their secret net is their foot taken. 16 The Lord has given knowledge of himself through his judging: the evil-doer is taken in the net which his hands had made.” – BBE
“Psalm 9 and 10 are really one Psalm. In several ancient manuscripts and versions, they appear as a single composition. The acrostic structure, though incomplete, points to the same fact. Here we have a mixture of literary types: hymn, thanksgiving, and lament, dealing with both national and domestic [individual] enemies.” – Layman’s Bible Commentary, p. 36
This Psalm, that we know as Psalms 9 & 10, goes quite well with Psalm 137, which we are also covering.
- Thanksgiving (Ps. 9:1-4)
Our opening Scripture is David’s heartfelt praise to God. His praise is made “with his whole heart.” Adam Clarke said, “It is only when the whole heart is employed in the work that God can look upon it with acceptance.”
David’s “haters” are turned back and destroyed, for God approved of his cause. So it shall be with each nation and each individual. The Scriptures assure us of this, and the conscience testifies as well. Although we see the saint wronged, and the sinner triumphant a thousand times, yet conscience persistently testifies that justice will be done.
- Hymn of Praise (Ps. 9:5-16)
Our God has judged the nations in a right manner. He has put them in their place, but has shown mercy where applicable. David gives praise and thanksgiving for all of God’s doings.
The evildoer has been captured in the very net that his own hands had set up for the righteous. “And for your blood, which is your life, will I take payment; from every beast I will take it, and from every man will I take payment for the blood of his brother-man” (Gen. 9:5, BBE).
- Judgment upon the Nations (Ps. 9:17-20)
We pick up and continue the psalm here:
“The sinners and all the nations who have no memory of God will be turned into the underworld. 18 For the poor will not be without help; the hopes of those in need will not be crushed for ever. 19 Up! O Lord; let not man overcome you: let the nations be judged before you. 20 Put them in fear, O Lord, so that the nations may see that they are only men.” – BBE
God’s judgment is not only an event in the future; it is also a continuing reality. Wicked nations “will be turned into hell” (v. 17), i.e., an untimely end. The spirit of the passage demands the idea that the wicked referred to would be consigned to a place of punishment and treated accordingly.
God’s elect will not be overlooked; they are the people of the Covenant keeping Lord. They will not be crushed forever. Judgment is invoked upon the nations to reveal to them their true identity. Matthew Henry concludes on this section of the psalm:
“In singing this psalm we must give to God the glory of His justice in pleading His people’s cause against His and their enemies, and encourage ourselves to wait for the year of the redeemed and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion, even the final destruction of all anti-Christian powers and factions, to which many of the ancients apply this psalm.” – Henry
- Lament (Ps. 10:1-4)
Then we continue into Psalm number 10: “Why do you keep far away, O Lord? why are you not to be seen in times of trouble? 2 The evil-doer in his pride is cruel to the poor; let him be taken by the tricks of his invention. 3 For the evil-doer is lifted up because of the purpose of his heart, and he whose mind is fixed on wealth is turned away from the Lord, saying evil against him. 4 The evil-doer in his pride says, ‘God will not make a search.’ All his thoughts are, ‘There is no God.’” – BBE
This psalm seems to belong to the time of the Captivity, or during the return of the captives. In Psalm 9 the wicked are hostile nations; in Psalm 10 they are wicked Judeans who persecute their own countrymen. Although the psalmist was vindicated in a particular situation (Ps. 9: 1-4), this particular vindication did not solve the problem of the persecution of the godly by the godless. Therefore, he cries out, “Why dost thou stand afar off, O Lord?”
God is represented here as standing at some distance, beholding the oppression of his people, and yet apparently disregarding it. How can this be? Could it be that our God is trying to get our attention? America has been oppressed for over a century. The Federal Reserve System has economically choked us all this time, and the “deep state” continues to drag us toward the communist gulag. It seems there is no hope in sight.
“God’s withdrawings are very grievous to his people at any time, but especially in times of trouble. Outward deliverance is afar off and is hidden from us, and then we think God is afar off and we therefore want inward comfort; but that is our own fault; it is because we judge by outward appearance; we stand afar off from God by our unbelief, and then we complain that God stands afar off from us.” – Matthew Henry
Let’s put it this way: God seems far away – but who moved? We did!
- David’s Prayer (Ps. 10:12-18)
“Up! O Lord; let your hand be lifted: give thought to the poor. 13 Why has the evil-doer a low opinion of God, saying in his heart, ‘You will not make search for it?’ 14 You have seen it; for your eyes are on sorrow and grief, to take it into your hand: the poor man puts his faith in you; you have been the helper of the child who has no father. 15 Let the arm of the sinner and the evil-doer be broken; go on searching for his sin till there is no more. 16 The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations are gone from his land. 17 Lord, you have given ear to the prayer of the poor: you will make strong their hearts, you will give them a hearing: 18 To give decision for the child without a father and for the broken-hearted, so that the man of the earth may no longer be feared.” – BBE
The wicked think that God will not hold them accountable for their behavior (v. 13). In effect, they are practical atheists and traitors. But God takes account of it all. The appeal of David’s prayer is specific (v. 15), “Break thou the arm of the wicked…” and end their wickedness. God’s kingdom will be manifested when foreign nations (heathen races), once allowed to oppress the land (v. 16), will be driven out; for the wicked were those Judahites who collaborated with foreign oppressors for their own profit, but to the hurt of the Judean nation. The last two verses are the assurance that God will hear the petition of the meek. Jesus said, “The meek shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5).
“By the rivers of Babylon we were seated, weeping at the memory of Zion, 2 Hanging our instruments of music on the trees by the waterside. 3 For there, those who had taken us prisoners made request for a song; and those who had taken away all we had, gave us orders to be glad, saying, Give us one of the songs of Zion.
4 How may we give the Lord’s song in a strange land? 5 If I keep not your memory, O Jerusalem, let not my right hand keep the memory of its art. 6 If I let you go out of my thoughts, and if I do not put Jerusalem before my greatest joy, let my tongue be fixed to the roof of my mouth.
7 O Lord, keep in mind against the children of Edom the day of Jerusalem; how they said, Let it be uncovered, uncovered even to its base.
8 O daughter of Babylon, whose fate is destruction; happy is the man who does to you what you have done to us. 9 Happy is the man who takes your little ones, crushing them against the rocks.” – Ps. 137:1-9, BBE
This psalm alternates (antiphonally, possibly two choirs) between love for Jerusalem and hatred for her enemies. It is probably the most extreme and radical psalm of all: from the fond memories of the beauty of Jerusalem to the crushing of enemy skulls on the rocks.
Community Lament (Ps. 137:1-6)
Israel was taken captive into Babylon. There they sat, too sad and broken for any expression of joy. The exiles were hollow and the demand to sing was a taunt. Heathen Babylon was not the place for the Lord’s song. To sing the song of holy Zion in Babylon would be considered unclean, and even traitorous. Therefore, David imprecates himself. His response in verses 5-6 was, “If I forget the kingdom, let my right hand forget her cunning (skill), and let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.” In other words, let my right hand forget how to play the harp and let my mouth be shut, if I forget the kingdom of Christ. We will not allow our mouths to be shut (“masked”) – we will speak out.
How shall we sing in the desperate situations of life? Interestingly, the previous psalm (#136) gives us the answer. We can sing by recalling God’s mercies. This psalm repeats, “for His mercy endures forever” 26 times between statements (such as a Refrain). Here is how it begins and ends (the midsection is a sketch of Israel’s history):
“O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. 2 O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.” – Ps. 136:1-2
“Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever: 24 And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever. 25 Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever. 26 O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.” – Ps. 136:23-26
We sing, we speak out, because we recall our Redeemer’s mercies.
Imprecatory Prayer (Ps. 137:7-9)
God is asked to remember (v. 7) the Edomites in retributive judgment because they gloated over the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. Obadiah gives the historic account:
“For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever. 11 In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou [Esau] wast as one of them. 12 But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress. 13 Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, thou shouldest not have looked on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor have laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity; 14 Neither shouldest thou have stood in the crossway, to cut off those of his [Jacob] that did escape; neither shouldest thou have delivered up those of his that did remain in the day of distress.
15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou [Esau] hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. 16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been. 17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. 18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.” – Oba. 1:10-18
The curse upon Babylon takes on the form of a blessing upon those who repays her according to the law of retaliation (q.v., Ex. 21:24; Deut. 19:21). “Blessed shall he be who shall seize and dash thine infants against the rock” (Ps. 137:9, Brenton, LXX). What an awful thing to say; yet God says the man that does this will be “happy” about the fate of Babylon. The law demanded that Babylon was to be treated as she had treated those of Jerusalem (q.v., Jer. 51:24).
The gruesome nature of ancient warfare in this last verse was predicted by Isaiah; “Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished” (Isa. 13:16). The destruction was to be universal, sparing neither age nor gender. Terrible, but just, are thy judgments, O Lord! The fall of mystical Babylon is described in Revelation chapter 18, in terms borrowed from this and other prophecies.
Singing in the Bible
Let me start here with a joke. A blonde went to heaven and they told her at the gate that if she wanted to enter heaven, she must tell them the name of God’s Son. She responded, “Andy!” They asked, “Andy; are you sure about that?” She chimed, “And-He walks with me and-He talks with me…” Yeah, it’s kinda funny; but seriously, Christianity today is stumbling over this same misguided theology, when it comes to Christian music. They also have the same misguided theology when they assert “there is nothing in the Bible about race.” Again, a twisted way of thinking that misses the most important point of all. The Bible is full of race – in fact, it cannot be truly understood without the context of race.
The word “sing” appears 119 times in the Bible, 70 times in the Book of Psalms. Of course, there are the other forms: singing, sang, and song.
Whatever the “Lord’s song” was to the psalmist at the time of his exile (586 B.C.), it is obvious that he considered the song incompatible with Babylon. Shouldn’t God’s music be different from the world’s music? Well, it is! “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:11).
“How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land” (Ps. 137:4)? In context of the psalm, this question is asked from a negative perspective, i.e., they just could not sing! However, from our perspective today, we should examine this question in a positive way, “How shall we sing?”
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” – Col. 3:16
We sometimes read philosophies debating Christian music, but writers do not always emphasize the importance of allowing the “Word of Christ” to fill our minds through the vehicle of music. The Greek word “logos” in Colossians 3:16, translated as “word,” means: the account, doctrine, or communication of Christ. Sacred songs performed and enjoyed by Christians must be theologically sound and should correctly communicate the Word of God.
Some of the music that Christians listen to may not be sacred. Since it is not sacred, it cannot communicate the Word. Some say if the music has no words, it is amoral or has no communication. Music, however, always communicates something; and that something must not be a filthy communication. Christians must be sure that the secular music they listen to communicates artistic or aesthetic beauty instead of the sinfulness of the old life. Colossians 3:8 gives a list of things a person must put off when he/she passes from the old to the new life in Christ:
“But now ye also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” – Col. 3:8
Frankly, a good portion of folk, country, jazz and rock music exudes a dirty and degrading flow of political, social and sexual smut. The new man cannot involve himself with this type of communication to the extent that it hinders the spiritual life. Philippians 4:8 reminds us to think on things that are good.
So, what constitutes “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs?” First, we already know that the psalms are the hymnbook of the Bible. As in our hymnbook, there are hymn numbers (not page numbers) – likewise with the psalms (they are numbered). Secondly, they are not “chapters” in a book. Each Psalm stands alone, on its own, as an individual work; quite unlike chapters in a book. Thirdly, we do not know exactly how the psalms were sung in their day. In historic hymnology, the Word of God was translated by three steps: 1) psalms appeared in the Psalter and sung to Gregorian or Anglican chant, 2) paraphrase of Scripture developed into hymns, and 3) illusions developed in both hymns (Wesley, Watts) and gospel songs. Hymns usually differ from Gospel songs. Hymns are prayers, creeds, exhortation, worship, and praise to God (objective). Gospel songs are usually based on personal experience and emotional assumptions (subjective). Gospel songs end up worshipping God for what He has done, rather than for who He is. Good hymns, therefore:
- Are God centered
- Are theologically sound
- Have doctrinal content
- Have words of beauty, dignity, reverence, simplicity
- Display preciseness, finesse, poetic technique
- Turn us heavenward
Knowing this then, “How shall we sing the Lord’s song?”
Q. & A. on Singing
1. WHO SHOULD SING?
Job states that the morning stars sang together when God laid the cornerstone of the earth (Job 38:6-7). Isaiah commands the heavens, the lower parts of the earth, the mountains, the forest, and every green tree to break forth into singing unto the Lord (Isa. 44:23). Nations and kingdoms should sing praises to God (Ps. 67:4, 68:32, 138:5). Even the desert would sing, “It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing” (Isa. 35:2).
But more wonderful than all of nature singing is the admonishment, “O come, let us sing unto the Lord” (Ps. 95:1). Proverbs states, “The righteous doth sing and rejoice” (Prov. 29:6)!
2. TO WHOM SHOULD WE SING?
This should be obvious, but there is a point to be made here. The Bible mentions often that we should sing to God. Moses said that he would sing unto the Lord (Ex. 15:1). Isaiah said that the people should sing unto the Lord (Isa. 12:5). Ephesians 5:19 tells us that we are to sing and make melody unto the Lord. The same verse allows us to sing to each other, but in so doing, we are to sing of Him and to Him. There is far too much entertainment in the singing of gospel music today. We should not sing to amuse each other, but rather to sing praise to God.
3. WHAT SHOULD WE SING?
The Christian should sing songs of a different character than those he sang as a sinner.
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” – Eph. 4:22-24
The “new man” can testify that, “He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God” (Ps. 40:3). The word “new” in this verse does not mean new in relation to time, but to something new in character.
Verse two of the 40th Psalm states that before the Lord gave him a new song, “He brought me up out of a horrible pit,” or as the Authorized margin says, out of a “pit of noise.” In Amos 5:23 the Lord said to the children of Israel, “Take away from me the noise of thy songs.” How relevant this statement is in a day of loud amplification of popular concerts. Some writers say we should make a joyful noise unto the Lord. However, a careful look at the Hebrew text of Psalms 66:1, 81:1, 95:1-2, 98:4a, 6, and 100:1 reveals that the word “noise” does not appear, only a word that has been translated “joy.” Therefore, we should make joy unto God, not noise.
4. WHERE SHOULD WE SING?
In Psalm 108:3, David proclaimed that he would sing praises among people and nations. Isaiah 42:11-12 is an exhortation to praise God in the islands (British Isles?). Paul and Silas sang praises in prison (Acts 16:25). Finally, the writer of the Hebrew letter says, “…in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee” (Heb. 2:12). We are instructed in God’s Word to sing among sinners, among saints, in the place of persecution, and in God’s house. We are instructed to sing praise nearly everywhere (except in the “strange land,” Ps. 137:4).
5. WHY SHOULD WE SING?
Anyone who has gotten past religious singing for entertainment knows that it is pleasant to sing to God. “Praise the Lord; for the Lord is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant” (Ps. 135:3). Also, Psalm 147:1 reminds us that not only is praise pleasant, but that it is “comely.” Two of the most outstanding verses in Scripture concerning the value of singing praises are Psalm 69:30-31.
“I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.” – Ps. 69:30-31
We know that obedience is better than sacrifice, but these verses tell us that singing praises to God is also better than sacrifice.
6. HOW SHOULD WE SING?
Psalm 147:7 instructs us to sing with thanksgiving; and Psalm 71:22, with rejoicing. Isaiah 52:9 sanctions emotion in singing since we are to “Break forth with joy.” II Chronicles 29:30 encourages us to sing praises with gladness. Not only does Scripture show us as emotional, but we should also praise God with our whole heart (Ps. 9:1). In other words, it is good to put yourself into the singing of God’s praise. The singing of hymns on Sunday morning need not to be a sleepy, dull exercise if we follow the Biblical pattern. There is nothing wrong with a little enthusiasm; in fact, the word enthusiasm comes from two words: en-thous, from the Latin, meaning “in Theos” or “in God.”
The reason many cannot sing and make melody in their hearts is that they are not singing in the spirit with understanding:
“I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.” – I Cor. 14:15
The reason they cannot sing in the spirit with understanding is that they are not “singing with grace” in their hearts (Col. 3:16). The grace of God must be applied to the singer’s heart before he can sing unto God. Notice that Paul links praying and singing together, they are closely related.
7. HOW LONG SHALL WE SING?
“While I have breath I will give praise to the Lord: I will make melody to my God while I have my being” (Ps. 146:2, BBE). We should praise the Lord as long as we live for He is worthy of our praise. Finally, in The Revelation, John speaks of those who win victory over the beast, his image, and his mark: “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints’” (Rev. 15:3). The Lamb has redeemed them (of Israel), just as Moses had once redeemed Israel. Barnes says, “The meaning here is, not that they would sing that identical song, but that as Moses taught the people to celebrate their deliverance with an appropriate hymn of praise, the redeemed would celebrate their delivery and redemption in a similar manner.”
Hymn: a religious song or poem, typically of praise to God or a god:
• a formal song sung during Christian worship, typically by the whole congregation.
• a song, text, or other composition praising or celebrating someone or something.
Origin: Old English, via Latin from Greek humnos. – Apple Dictionary
The verb form humneo is used 4 times in the New Testament (as sing or sung); aido is used 5 times; oiday, used 7 times; and psallo, used 4 times.
There are seven New Testament passages that are hymnic. You might say that these are the “psalms” of the N. T. Notice how these Scripture hymns harmonize and flow together in honor of the Redeemer of Israel.
John 1:1-5, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
Philippians 2:6-11, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Colossians 1:15-20, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature [all creation]: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
Ephesians 2:14-16, “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both [houses of Israel] unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.”
Hebrews 1:3, “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our [Israel’s] sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
I Timothy 3:16, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
I Peter 3:18-22, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”
These hymns are “sung” to the exultation of the Redeemer as follows:
- The Redeemer possesses qualities of equality with God.
- The writers exalt Him as Sustainer.
- Jesus is sung to as Mediator/Creator.
- He is sung to as the heavenly descendant.
- His resurrection produces song.
- His death makes redeeming music.
- His reconciliation of man (Adamkind) is sung about.
- His enthronement becomes a musical scene in heaven.
“…Unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, be the blessing, and the honor, and the glory, and the dominion, for ever and ever.” – Rev. 5:13, ASV
“How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” – Ps. 137:4
To the psalmist with his harp hung on the willow, the idea was not that those songs would be profaned by being sung there, or that there would be anything improper in itself to sing them, but that it would be misplaced and incongruous to sing under such circumstances. It would be a betrayal of their own feelings, which would not allow them to sing.
The taunting Babylonians did not care what kind of songs their slaves sang. Temple music would do as well as any other. But, the devout psalmist and his fellows shrank from profaning the songs of the Lord, by making them part of a heathen banquet. Such sacrilege would have been like Belshazzar’s feast. “Give not that which is holy to dogs” (Matt. 7:6). The singers were not influenced by superstition, but by reverence and sadness, so they could not sing in that strange land.
America has become a strange land – once again, we are in “Babylon.” Sometimes it is hard to find the spirit to sing. How can we do what we do not feel, and cannot feel? We have to go to our “prayer closet,” shut the door, shut out the world, and sing the Lord’s song.
We have seen turbulent times in our country. The American “Babylon” has cheated president Trump out of the election through fraud and lies. America is under biological attack from the illegitimate Biden administration, which is gloating in their power over us. Things are about to get very bad; there is talk of a total lockdown of the nation. But, take hope, “When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever” (Ps. 92:7).
Look up, “…for your redemption draweth nigh” (Lk. 21:28).
Psalm 137 by Ewald Bash, “By the Babylonian Rivers”, KAS DZIEDAJA/CAPTIVITY, Latvian melody
1 By the Ba-by-lon-ian ri-vers
We sat down in grief and wept;
Hung our harps up-on the wil-low,
Mourned for Zi-on when we slept.
2 There our cap-tors in de-ri-sion
Did re-quire of us a song;
So we sat with star-ing vis-ion,
And the days were hard and long.
3 How shall we sing the^ Lord’s song
In a strange and bit-ter land;
Can our voi-ces veil the sor-row?
Lord God, hold your ho-ly band.
4 Let the Cross be ben-e-dic-tion
For those bound in tyr-an-ny;
By the pow’r of re-sur-rec-tion
Loose them from cap-tiv-i-ty.