Psalm 137:1 By the rivers of Babylon— there we sat down and there we wept when we remembered Zion. 2 On the willows there we hung up our harps. 3 For there our captors asked us for songs, and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” 4 How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?
The people of Israel, having strayed from God and no longer enjoying his protection, were conquered by the Babylonians. Many of them were killed and most who survived were taken prisoner and sent live in Babylon. They would remain there for seventy years before God would allow them to return and rebuild all that had been destroyed.
Our passage describes a scene in which the people of Israel were being taunted by their captors, asked to sing “songs of Zion”. In other words, songs that described the beauty and majesty of Jerusalem and especially the temple of the Lord – which had been completely destroyed. It was cruel and, no doubt, heartbreaking. To sing of the glory of Jerusalem, which lay in ruins, would have been painful – particularly for those who were old enough to remember what it was like in its heyday.
The holidays can be like this for many people. We remember what our families and friendships were like in years past compared to present day and are saddened by it. Close relationships are broken. Loved ones are lost. People scattered. But there is hope.
God would eventually see that Jerusalem, including the temple of the Lord, was rebuilt. It wouldn’t be exactly as before, but it would bless the people in many ways. The Lord can rebuild what has been lost in your life. It may not be exactly as before, but it can bless you. This morning I’m reflecting on the things I’ve lost over the years, experiencing the pain of it but trusting the Lord for something good to come. Lord let it be so. Amen.