By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. We hung our harps Upon the willows in the midst of it. For there, those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, and those who plundered us requested mirth, Saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land?
Only those who have been exiled from their homeland can understand the emotions that the writer is feeling at this time of his life. Somewhere and sometime this former resident of Judah is far from home and he has no hope of ever seeing it again. He must have, at one time, joined in the singing of the happy songs of home but now he, along with others just sit down and weep. He knows why he is exiled. He knows that he had failed to keep the commandments of God. He knows that he, along with most of Judah had become idolaters but that doesn’t alleviate his pain and sorrow.
Those who had been responsible for their being so far from home wanted to hear one of their happy songs but there was no reason for joy in their current condition. They had lost all joy.
One can alienated and still be at home. When one drifts away from the Lord, one can find himself/herself so distant from God that all the joy that they once had is gone. And, such an individual never sees themselves as the one to blame for their spiritual condition. It is always someone else’s fault. When that happens, they feel like those who hung their harps on the willow trees in Babylon—their joy is gone and they have no reason to sing. But it doesn’t have to end that way. If that is you, there is forgiveness and there is restoration! When Jesus said, “Come unto me and I will give you rest,” it was your invitation to leave your place of alienation and come home to Him again. Isn’t that what you want? If that is you, then accept His invitation and be blessed. Amen.