By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. (Psalm 137:1)
This psalm seems out of place at first reading. Before this chapter was “The Psalms of Ascent” from chapters 120-134. In it, the people of God move out of exile and head towards the city of Jerusalem. The people anticipate the peace and joy that comes with the promised Messiah leading them to praise God. Psalms 135-136 burst with praise to God who has triumphed over their enemies and given them rest. But, instead of continuing with the theme of praise, Psalm 137 brings the reader back to exile in Babylon and all the suffering and sorrow that comes with it.
In exile, God’s people ask, “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” That question is relevant for us today. Although Jesus lived, died and rose again for our eternal life with God, we are still living as foreigners (1 Peter 1:17). What this means is sin, suffering and death in this fallen world should not surprise us because we are not yet home. In this foreign land, bring your weeping and sorrows to the One who understands you. In faith, sing to Him whose grace is sufficient for you today. Fix your gaze on the home that God is preparing for you (Hebrews 11:16), and serve Him whole-heartedly because it will not be in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).