It is not the first time that I’m referencing Psalms 137 on this website and it is definitely not going to be the last time. I love this portion of the scripture, it showed up in our article wait on the Lord and for a moment, I thought I had exhausted this but we can never exhaust the revelation in the word of God really, can we?
By the rivers of Babylon, they sat and wept when they remembered Zion and that’s alright because in your sad moments, in your dark hours of life it is okay to pause and take it in. It is okay to cry because we are only human. It is okay to remember Zion because it is in such memories that you can find the strength to hope. There on the poplars they hung their harps. And this is where it really hit me in my guts.
You see, lyres and harps were used in the worship of God in Jerusalem. However, in exile, without a temple wherein the people could worship, there was no need for harps. But instead of breaking them or burning them, they hang them up on the poplars in the hope that they would pick them again one day and sing the song of the Lord. Even in their desperate misery, they hoped that one day they could dust the cobwebs off the harps and praise their God in His sanctuary. (Psalm 150:3).
In their rivers of tears, disappointment and hopelessness, still, they defiantly hoped against hope refusing to throw in the towel. How could they, when God hadn’t given up on them even in exile? They refused to give up on God for they knew that their God was faithful to His covenant and that He would never abandon them. They remembered how He didn’t give up on them in Egypt and that catapulted their faith to believe that He was not gonna give up on them in Babylon. I’m convinced they hung onto David’s words, “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken” [Psalms 37:25]
Israel was God’s own children, the nations feared Israel. Their God was a powerful God. Nobody would dare challenge Israel at the time. Yet here they were defenseless and a people without hope or so their captors thought. In such wretchedness, the Babylonians tormented and mocked them. “Sing us one of the songs of Zion” they demanded. Even in exile, amidst incredible pressure, they refused to bow to oppression. They kept their faith. They refused to allow their present circumstances to dissuade the hope in their hearts.
Listen, there comes a time in life where you have to stare directly into the eyes of your situation without blinking and stubbornly hope against hope. Nothing pisses off the enemy as someone who just can’t give up hope. If there is a prayer all of us need to make as aunt K reminds us in her article, is to pray for firm hope, for unwavering faith. What are you trusting God for? What are you waiting on God for? What’s that situation that is bugging you? What is your exile circumstance?
As hopeless as the situation might look, don’t break your harp just yet. Hang it on the poplar and hope again. Count Him that promised to be faithful enough to come through, rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation and continue steadfastly in prayer. [Romans 12:12] because beyond that bleak exile Babylon moment which is just but for a little while, on the horizon rises a ray of hope, the hope that does not disappoint.
Child of God; Hope Against Hope.