How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? – Psalm 137:4 (AMP)
Name That Tune! It was a program that I remember on television when I was a little kid. My grandparents loved it. My mother loved it. I vaguely remember it. But I do recall people saying I can name that tune in … notes.
Since this isn’t a podcast, we will do it a little differently. Can you name this song? How about who sung it?
Funny thing, but you can sing it with a cry in your voice
And before you know, start to feeling good
You simply got no choice
That’s right, Neil Diamond, “Song Sung Blue”. Neil Diamond, a secular artist and a Jewish man, captured something here in these lyrics, that all of Christianity can learn from.
In today’s Scripture, we hear the cry of Gods people who had been taken captive. Their “tormentors” (Psalm 137:3), knew that they were musicians and were requiring a song from them, in the midst of leading them away from their beloved Jerusalem. In their despair, they were crying out to God about what they couldn’t do.
How much does a song cost? Nothing, you simply open your mouth, with the voice God gave you, and let it roll. Don’t say, well I can’t sing. Yes you can! It may not sound that great to people around you, but you have the Bible on your side, look at this:
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all you lands! – Psalm 100:1 (AMP)
My sister died in a tragic car accident, at the age of 25, seven years ago this year. She was a beautiful young woman. Full of life and never met a stranger. But my sister could not carry a tune in a bucket with a lid on top of it. It was horrible! No exaggeration. She didn’t care! She gave it everything she had, just as loud as she could.
The last time my family spent time with her was on the Fourth of July, seven years ago. We were sitting in the yard getting ready to watch the fireworks. She started singing, “God Bless the USA” at the top of her lungs. My kids stood up and were singing it with her. I was laughing so hard I had tears streaming down my face.
What’s my point? Her ear wrenching singing was done with all of her heart and it brought us all great joy. I wonder if she has a new voice with her heavenly body? I am sure she is singing around His throne right now!
The captives in today’s Scripture couldn’t find the ability to sing in their situation. But let’s take a look at some other people that could!
But about midnight, as Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the [other] prisoners were listening to them, Acts 16:25
Okay. Let’s be honest with ourselves. When you imagine someone singing in the jail around midnight, it would probably be a whino. But these were men of God, unjustifiably incarcerated! Were they whining and looking for a public defender? No! They were singing and praising God! Do you know what happened?
Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the very foundations of the prison were shaken; and at once all the doors were opened and everyone's shackles were unfastened. Acts 16:26
That, my brothers and sisters, was the act of a God well pleased!
If you continue with the story, and I highly recommend that you do, you will see that the ball didn’t stop rolling there. The jailer and his whole family were saved and baptized! And it started with a song.
We are strangers in this land. This world is not our home! Jesus said so!
I have given and delivered to them Your word (message) and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world [do not belong to the world], just as I am not of the world. John 17:14
But you can still sing!
Even Neil Diamond understood, what the captives in Psalm 137:4 did not. You can sing it with a cry in your voice and before you know it, you’re feeling better.
Paul and Silas understood it. They saw a miracle of God that is still preached about today!
You may not have a Paul or Silas to join with you in your song, but you always have traveling musicians on your journey! In the age of iPods, satellite radio and tons of Christian radios stations being broadcast across the airwaves, you always have a partner in song!
So the next time you’re faced with the blues, don’t question, “How shall I sing” as the captives did. To borrow the lyrics of Neil Diamond, “Put those blues into a song and sing them out again”. You never know, you may see the hand of God move for you like He did for Paul and Silas!