Singing Our Song in a Strange Land
By R. L. Wyser
Text: Psalms 137
This is a sad wale of a gloomy nation. They had been captured and banished into a strange land. They had been displaced and removed from their homes, synagogues, customs and lifestyle. They were totally uprooted physically; but their religious bonds were still intact. They had inspiring memories which kept their faith alive. They remembered the worship, the feasts, the festivals, and the glorious days of the nation.
They were captives but there evidently were periods of leisure. We set down by the rivers, watching boats baring cargo, observing restless rivers winding their way to some unknown destination. Maybe a happy swimming party or a fisherman here and there, but nothing on the local scene interrupted their memory of Zion. Zion had been branded into their souls. There was a longing in these people which Babylon could not conquer. They were a people who could not adjust to a strange land. There were inspiring memories of past glories of the nation. There were depressing memories of captivity and bondage of their present status. They were so torn and tortured by grief and agony that they wept, according to verse one of Psalms 137. They had their famous harps. Harps, which had inspired the nation at feasts, and festivals, and celebrations, were now hanging on the willows. Their hurt hearts were withered. The way their harps hung idly on the willow trees was indicative of the state of their wounded and withered spirits. Verse three says that they that carried us away captive required of us a song. The captors taunted them.
They rudely and roughly demanded that they entertain them with one of Zion’s songs. Verse four says, “How shall we?” Zion’s songs were not written for entertainment. How shall we sing the happy songs of Zion when we are in the power of the enemy, away from the city that we love, the sanctuary, which is our spiritual home?
In many ways we are like Israel. When God saves us He puts a song in our hearts,
a song of joy.
A minister visited a dying man who had never looked to Jesus, the Lamb of God, for the salvation of his soul and the lordship of his life. Even in this extreme hour he would not look to the Lord. God, he said, was merciful, and he would simply trust God.
“Well, what will you do when you get to heaven?” asked the old minister.
“What everybody else does,” said the dying man.
“Will you sing?” asked the minister.
Then the minister read to him the beautiful scene of Revelation 14 in which the multitude of those who followed the Lamb wherever He goes sing a new song of praise and glory to the Lamb, and nobody can learn that song except the redeemed.
“No,” said the minister, “You cannot sing up there that new song for it has to be learned down here.”
Audrey Greenville wrote a poem entitled The Heart That Sings, and it goes:
Of all life’s good and lovely things,
Most precious is a heart that sings,
That like a bird in winter’s tree,
Chirps anthems of expectancy,
Or in the darkness of the night,
Steadfastly proclaims the light.
God’s rare and holy gifts abound.
His loving-kindness wraps us ‘round.
But of all gifts that I would praise,
The peaceful nights, the fruitful days,
All true and good, and lovely things,
Most precious is a heart that sings.
But we live in a captive world. There are so many things all around us that keep us bound, TV, movies, books, fashions, all controlled by the Babylonians. And we just sit by the stream of Life. It would seem that the atmosphere that we live in is not conducive to singing. But God wants us to sing because we need to, and the Babylonians need to hear us. The world is saying to us, as the Babylonians said to the Israelites, so many, many years ago, “Sing to us.” “Sing to us of hope. Sing to us of contentment. Sing to us of peace. Sing to us of love. Sing. Sing. Sing.” I wonder if we don’t have to say, “We can’t sing. We have hung our harp, our joy, the means of our song, on the willow.
I Wonder If Some Of Us Have Hung Our Harps On The Willow Of Fretting.
Psalms 37:1 says, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be though envious against the workers of iniquity.”
There is an old adage that says if we don’t worry we will go to the poorhouse, but if we do worry we will go to the insane asylum. The paradox is resolved only if we see that we are using worry with two distinct meanings. In the first sense, we think of worry as normal and useful anticipation, a process by which we work ourselves out of annoying situations into satisfying ones. Worry or anxiety in this meaning of the word is the earmark of civilization. Progress comes because of man’s ability through his imagination to face the future, to see what might befall him, to see what he can do with the possibilities that are open to him. If this is what we mean by worry, we ought to encourage people to learn how to worry successfully, as the title of David Seaburn’s book exhorts us to do. We should have an intelligent concern for the future that is the very opposite of indifference, inertia and weak resignation to the things as they are.
But there is another meaning to worry; and it is in this second sense that the old adage warns us of the danger to our mental health. Worry easily becomes abnormal, and constant anxiety saps our energy, and a troubled imagination distorts our world. Worry originally meant to strangle or to choke. Have we not all had that experience? In a state of uneasiness, we felt almost as if we were going to choke. The processes of the mind were strangled and we could not think clearly. The present day meanings are closely akin to the original meaning. To worry means to fret, to chafe, to be anxious or fretful, to fear great care or anxiety. Someone has described worry as a mental tornado revolving around a center of fear. It acts with characteristics of a physical tornado. Such worry is abnormal and destructive. It is the foolish borrowing of trouble.
In a biography of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes entitled A Yankee from Olympus, Catherine Bowen tells of an incident late in the life of that grand old man of the Supreme Court. One day he looked for a book which wasn’t where he thought it would be. He made an awful uproar and cussed out everybody in sight including his secretary and his wife. Mrs. Holmes, in her characteristic way, said nothing but looked at him in that sharp fashion which she used on such occasions. The Justice went on to court. When he returned, the book was in its place on the shelf. Above it was a small United States flag and underneath it was a little sign neatly printed in Mrs. Holmes’ script, “I am a very old man. I have had many troubles, most of which never happened.”
There was a young man who courted a farmer’s daughter and one evening when he came to the house, she was sent to the cellar for beer. Seeing an ax stuck in the beam above her head, she thought to herself, “Suppose I were married and had a son, and he were to grow up and be sent to the cellar for beer, and this ax were to fall and kill him. Oh, dear. Oh, dear.” And she sat crying and crying while the beer flowed all over the cellar floor, until her old father and mother came in succession to blubber along with her about the hypothetical death of her imaginary grown-up son.
There is a great deal in that for us. We have many troubles. Most of them have never happened and never will. But they are very real to us. To tell us that worry may come from our imagination does not in any sense lessen the reality of the fact that we are uneasy and fretful. Thus, Jesus’ admonition is for us, “Do not be anxious. Do not worry.” Worry is like a rocking chair. It will give you something to do; but it won’t get you anywhere. Worry is unreasonable. Worry is sinful. Worry never solved a problem. Worry never paid a debt. Worry never made a heavy burden lighter. Worry never made a stuttering auto start. Worry never made a balking mule pull. Worry never alleviated a pain. Worry never turned a wrong into a right. Worry never made an enemy a friend. Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble, sometimes the trouble of tomorrow, which may never arrive. Worry kills more people than work because more people prefer to worry. Dr. G. C. Robison of John Hopkins Hospital of Baltimore said, “Personal worry is one of the principal causes of physical ailments which send people to the hospital.” Dr. Robison found that out of 174 hospital patients, 140 were worrying patients and 115 had worries directly related to their physical ailments. In 97, worry was the cause of the symptoms. For 65, worry was the precipitating cause of the illness. A happy Christian man said, “I have no time to worry. In the daytime I am too busy and at night I am too sleepy.” Worry is the prime life-shortener. If you want to live long, worry not. Fret not.
Arnold Bennett said, “The complexion of the general life of the community would change, faces and voices would brighten, paradise itself would be anticipated, if all perfectly futile, silly and noxious worry could be abolished.” I believe that worry is the biggest cause of unhappiness. Someone wrote a bit of verse:
The worried cow could have lived ‘til now,
If she had only saved her breath.
She feared that the hay wouldn’t last all day,
So she choked herself to death.
You need to let these verses speak to your heart. (Psalms 37:3-6) “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.” Then Paul says in Philippians chapter four. verses six and seven, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Years ago in the pioneer days of aviation, a pilot was making a flight around the world. After he had been gone for some two hours from his last landing field, he heard a noise in his plane that he recognized as the gnawing of a rat. He realized that while his plane had been on the ground, a rat had gotten in, and for all he knew that rat could be gnawing through a vital cable or a control of the plane. It was a very anxious situation. He was both concerned and anxious. At first, he did not know what to do. It was two hours back to the landing field from which he had taken off, and more than two hours to the next field ahead. Then he remembered that the rat is a rodent. It is not made for the heights. It is made to live on the ground and under the ground. Therefore, the pilot began to climb. He went up a thousand feet, and then another thousand, and another, until he was over 20,000 feet up. The gnawing ceased and the rat was dead. He could not survive in the atmosphere of those heights. More than two hours later the pilot brought the plane safely to the next landing field and found the dead rat. I believe, brothers and sisters in Christ, that worry is a rodent. It cannot live in the secret place of the Most High. It cannot breath the atmosphere made vital by prayer and familiarity with the scriptures. Worry dies when we ascend to the Lord through prayer and His Word. Just keep going up, up, up, up, up, and there becomes a place where worry will die.
THE FEAR TREE
Isaiah chapter 41 and verse 10 says, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not
dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah was a great prophet. In his preaching was the growl of the Asyrian wolf, God’s instrument of judgment against His covenant-breaking people. In his preaching, too, were the thunders and lightnings of Sinai and the foreshadow of Calvary. Listen to these words. “Ye shall not be afraid of evil tidings.” His heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.
Mr. Moody said that some people went to Heaven second class and some first class. The second class folks were those who said, “What time I am afraid I will trust.” (Psalms 56:3) But the first class folks said, “I will trust and not be afraid.” (Isaiah 12:2) All classes of people are victims of fear if they attempt to live apart from God. The rich and the poor, the educated and the ignorant, the old and the young, have fears of all kinds: fear of themselves, fear of others, fear of the past, fear of the present, fear of the future, fear of sickness, fear of poverty, fear of old age, fear of death. History fails to disclose any plan or philosophy whereby the human heart may be released from fear, apart from faith in God.
But many have been in captivity to fear. A young man wrote this to his pastor, “I am normal in every way, but I am afraid of thunderstorms.” This is not a matter for ridicule, but a sample of a very real and acute suffering to which many persons are subject, by fear, panic due to various causes. Caesar Auguilus was almost convulsed at the sound of thunder. Tycho Brahe changed color and his legs shook under him on meeting a rabbit. Dr. Samuel Johnson would never enter a room left foot first. Tallyrand trembled at the mention of the word death. Marshall Saxe was mortally afraid of a cat. Peter the Great would never be persuaded to cross a bridge, and though he tried to master his terror, was never able to do so. Many People I know who are absolutely fearless otherwise, can be sent almost into convulsions by showing them a spider or caterpillar. Dr. Frank Crane said of himself, “I have never been able to rid myself of the fear of horses and the tamest old mare gives me the creeps.”
Fear is a great enemy to the human race. Every sin, every sorrow, every crime and shadow that lies upon man or woman may be expressed in terms of fear. Fear is the father of cruelty. Fear dehumanizes. It is when they are in a panic of fear that rattlesnakes strike and the dog bites, the horses run away, the cat scratches, the scorpion attacks, the bull gores, the woman lies, and the man kills. Fear is the devil’s other name. The fear of sneers of his fellows and pals cause young people to poison themselves with liquor, lose their money in gambling, and taint their bodies in the house of death. The fear of poverty has unloosed the morals of women and made crooks of men. Because of fear, to little children, every attic in the moonlight appears ghostly, every passing footfall betrays a robber, and the darkness teems with monsters. Fear has a direct tendency to impair the reason. The moment we give way to it we fail in attention, wisdom, justice, and judgment. Fear robs the soul of sunshine. It mars the day of health by thoughts of distant darkness. It spoils the pleasant hours of friendship by apprehension of separation and bereavement. It blights the rare seasons of prosperity by prophesying of loss and misery. Fear eats off of the heroism of the heart, destroys the fiber and force of character so essential when the day of real trial comes.
It was both the mission and the message of Jesus to deliver mankind from servile, invading, down-dragging fear, and certainly the problem of fear is a problem to be reckoned with in many lives. One of the most outstanding and surprising disclosures of our stressful, nervous, modern civilization, is the fact that many people are in the throes of fear. Once a minister was privileged to be able to speak to one of the great American colleges. It was a student body that was large, widely influential and more mature in years than is the student body of most of our colleges. The pastor said that before his arrival there, the president of the college sent a questionnaire to every student asking that the students indicate any subjects upon which they would have the visiting minister speak. When the answers were tabulated, the president and faculty of the college, together with the visiting minister and others, were amazed by the fact that the majority of that large and mature student body had made this request, “Let the visiting minister tell us how we may conquer fear.”
The Bible is the one book which answers that very question. There are two words which stand out in the Bible like mountain peaks, the words, “Fear not.” With those words, God comforted Abraham. “Fear not Abram, I am thy shield and exceeding great reward.” With those same words, He comforted Isaac at his lonely task of digging wells in the wilderness. With the same words, He comforted Jacob when his little Joseph was lost somewhere down in Egypt. So comforted He the Israelites at the Red Sea. “And Moses said unto the people, “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day.” These two words, “Fear not,” standing out here and there in the Bible, are a part of our great inheritance as Christians. Perfect love does indeed cast out all fear.
THE FAINTING TREE
Isaiah, in talking about mounting up with wings as eagles, says, “We shall walk
and not faint.” Galatians 6:9 says, “We shall reap, if we faint not.” Jesus said that “men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” (Luke 18:1) So prayer is an acknowledgment of faith, but discouragement is a denial of faith, for to faint means to be discouraged. Prayer is putting my hand in God’s, trusting to His loving guidance. Discouragement is withdrawing my hand and denying His power to lead me. Prayer leads to the door of faith into the presence of God. Discouragement leads to the door of anxiety into the darkness of loneliness and despair. If prayer rules the life, then victory results. So Paul says, “We shall reap, if we faint not.”
There is an old fable that says that the devil once held a sale and offered all of his tools of the trade to anyone who would pay the price. They were spread out on the table and each one labeled: hatred, and malice, and envy, and despair, and sickness, and sensuality, and all of the weapons that everyone knows so well; but off to one side lay a harmless-looking, wood-shaped instrument marked discouragement. It was old and worn-looking, but it was priced far above the rest. When asked the reason why, the devil replied, “Because I can use this one so much more easily than the others. No one knows that it belongs to me, so with it I can open doors that are tightly bolted against the others. Once I get inside, I can use any tool that suits me best.”
As you review the great names and personalities of the scriptures, you become aware very quickly of the fact that almost all of them knew, at one time or another, great discouragement. Job is described as the noblest man living in his time, but after the troubles that were his, he cried out, “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and spent without hope.” Moses is described as the meekest man in the Bible, that is, the most disciplined, and the greatest of all of the Old Testament personalities. And Moses, as he leads the children of Israel out of Egypt, finds in them all kinds of frustration. They want to return to the sweet cucumbers of slavery that they had known before. This became so discouraging to Moses that at last he cries out, “Oh Lord, why have you afflicted me? I am not able to bear these people. They are too heavy for me.” We find similar expressions of discouragement in Ezekiel, and Daniel, and Nehemiah, and Jeremiah, and Elijah, and yes, even in our Lord Himself. For at the conclusion of His incarnate ministry, when He came to Jerusalem, the city He loved most on the face of the earth, and He looked out upon it, He was filled with profound discouragement. And weeping He said, “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace, but now they are hid from your eyes.” The company of the discouraged is a very noble company.
Not too long ago, the Hayden Planetarium in New York City issued an invitation to all of those who are interested in applying to be a part of a crew on the first journey to another planet. Eighteen thousand people applied. They gave the applications to a panel of psychologists to examine them thoroughly, and came to the conclusion that in a vast majority of incidents, those who applied did so because they were discouraged with their lives here and hoped that they could find a new life somewhere else. All of our lips have spoken the words of discouragement. All of our hearts have felt, and every one of us have known at one time or another, the slap of setback. So to be a part of the company of the discouraged is not to be a part of an exclusive group, but it is a costly fellowship.
What I would like to share with you is three steps that you can use in dealing with discouragement.
The first step is to take a short look at the problem. And notice I say a short look. That is, you recognize that you are discouraged but you don’t focus upon that. The birds of discouragement may crow and fly about you, but you don’t let them build nests in your hair, if you have any. You perhaps have heard the old sales manager’s device of holding up a large piece of paper with a small orange spot down in one corner, and he says to his salesman, “What do you see?” They all report that they see that orange spot. He says, “That is your weakness as a salesman. You see the spot and you don’t see all of the open opportunity before you.” We don’t want to focus on our discouragement, because as one thinks in one’s heart, so one is.
To major in discouragement soon makes all of life discouraging; yet, we must at least take a short look at it for two reasons. First to acknowledge that it is true. There are some individuals who think somehow that it is sub-Christian to be discouraged. They need to acknowledge it and to recognize that our Lord Jesus Himself knew how discouragement feels. So we need to admit that for our soul’s sake. But we need also, in that quick look at discouragement, to discover whether or not we are the ones who have caused the situation to be discouraging. Many times we are not the cause of our own discouragement. If that is the case, in a moment of discouragement it is important that we know that, so we don’t add to the weight of discouragement the burden of blame.
Number two: You take a narrow look at yourself. That is, you remind
yourself of the capacities and assets, the things that are going for you. ? Insen said that the body exists to carry the mind around. That is not altogether true, or altogether wise; but there is a great deal to be said for the fact that we remember in the discouraging moments the things that we still have going for us. There is an interesting story in I Samuel where David, because of a military blunder, leaves some cities unprotected. They are attacked by the Philistines and some of the relatives of David’s soldiers are slain. David, it says, is discouraged; but in I Samuel 30 it goes on to say that David went off and encouraged himself in the Lord. He encouraged himself by reminding himself of all of those things that were still his. Just because you miss one train doesn’t mean you have to cancel the whole vacation.
Then number three, the third step, is to take a long look at God, and remember
that we are loved of God. If you are counting on your own strength, I am not surprised that you are being discouraged. But he that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. We ought to be humbled, yes, humbled, to the dust, but never discouraged. A truly humble person is not discouraged. The discouraged person is not a humble person, for he has trusted something besides God. Simple faith rises above circumstances, to God. Does God love the church less? Is He less powerful? Faith has constant, unfailing confidence in God. I know what sorrow is because of our failure, but discouragement I do not know as long as I am looking at God.
THE FORGETTING TREE
“Forget not all of his benefits.” (Psalms 103:2) What a marvelous power is
memory. It is absolutely independent of space and time. It is far fleeter than the fastest airplane. It can bridge seas and continents as quickly as the light. Not only is it independent of space, but of time also. Here is a man eighty years of age. How vain for him to sing, “Backward, turn backward, oh time in your flight.” And yet, memory can bridge the wide chasm of the years, and instantly it can transport this man back to the land of childhood. Instantly he can look again into the faces long, long gone, and hear voices long, long since stilled.
Not only is memory independent of time and space, but of death also. The brain passes. We use up one about every seventy years. But memory abides. When the rich man died, he left behind him most of the treasures to which he had clung with passionate devotion. He left his purple and fine linen. He left his palace. He left his wealth. He left his five brothers. But he took with him into that unseen country his memory. So it will be with us. We cannot live in the body always, but always we shall remember. If we may believe our scientists, memory never lets go of anything. It holds fast to all that we put into its wide-open hands. Every thought that we think, every word that we speak, every deed that we do, all of these memory holds fast, never letting a single one of them go. No wonder Themistocles exclaimed when one proposed to teach him to remember, “Teach me rather to forget.” But that no man can do. The words of Omar Khayyam are tremendously true, “The moving finger writes, and having written, moves on; nor all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.” Those rescued from drowning have testified that in the instant that they were sinking seemingly for the last time, they saw all of their yesterday’s pictured as upon a screen. Some theologians believe that the books of judgment that Revelation tells us about are to be opened by and by, that they are none other than the books of memory where are recorded every deed, whether good or evil.
Now this marvelous power is given to us by a loving God, and if we use it right, it will become to us an angel of mercy, guarding us from going wrong, or leading us back into the right path when our foolish feet have strayed. Rightly used, it will be a bit of Heaven in our lives in the here and now, and will make any future Heaven vastly richer. But if we misuse it, that which is intended to be an angel may become a devil. This being the case, it is not surprising that God, through this amazing book and through objects set visibly before eyes, calls us to remember, again and again. The book of Deuteronomy is a supremely a book of remembrance. Over and over, the writer warns us against the peril of forgetting. Over and over, he calls us to remember. You must remember all of the experiences through which the Lord, your God, has led you.
Not only does God call us to remember by word, but He puts keepsakes into our hands to assist us in remembering. For more than a thousand years before the coming of the Lord the Jewish people had celebrated the Feast of Passover. This feast was to help them to remember. “Thou shalt remember that thou was a bond man in the land of Egypt and that the Lord thy God redeemed thee.” When Jesus celebrated this supper for the last time, He pushed the paschal lamb out of its place and substituted Himself. “This is my body,” He declared, “My all, my very self, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
The most solemn service of the church is to help us to remember. But why? If we never forget anything, do we need this urgent call to remember? We need it because, while scientifically we never forget, practically we forget everything. There is nothing too big or too little for us to forget. We forget our engagements. We sometimes forget our bills. We forget our church vows and our marriage vows. We forget our lessons. We forget our friends. We even forget God.
What is the reward of right remembering? Gratitude. It is by remembering that we become grateful. Gratitude is not a trifling something that we can take up or lay down without being either the richer or the poorer. Gratitude is that which puts a song in the soul. To be thankless is to be joyless. It is also a mark of spiritual maturity. Naturally, we do not expect gratitude of little babies. We do not expect it of moral and spiritual dwarfs. But we do expect it of those who grow up. To have no gratitude is always to remain a spiritual infant.
One day a wise psalmist looking over the garden of his soul and missed one flower
that he could not do without. If he did not miss this flower altogether, at least it was not growing in as rich a perfusion as he desired. Therefore, he decided to do something about it. He fairly laid violent hands upon his sluggish soul and woke it to the task and privilege of gratitude. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Understand that he was not calling on his soul to remember all of the benefits that God had bestowed, but he was asking that not all of the benefits be forgotten. He was to remember at least some of them. He knew that in thinking upon God’s mercies, thanksgiving would naturally follow. Real thinking always ends in real thanking.
Then remembering God’s mercies makes for gratitude for another reason. One of the greatest foes of gratitude is conceit. The rich farmer had no gratitude toward either God or man because he was so profoundly conceited. He had forgotten that it was God who had given him the power to get wealth. He had forgotten that it was God who sent the sunshine and the rain in just the right proportions. He had forgotten the loyalty of those men who had worked with him. He was a self-made man; therefore, in his thoughtlessness, he had nobody to thank but himself. But if he had only remembered, his conceit would have given place to humility in the realization that everything had come to him, not through his own merit, but as a gift. He would have been enriched by gratitude.
Forgot not all of his benefits. Remember God in gratitude for the benefits of water, the benefits of sleep, the benefits of work, the benefits of health, the benefits of food, the benefits of shelter, the benefits of rest, the benefits of many, many, many things. Look to Jesus. Forget not that thorn-punctured brow. Forget not those nail-pierced hands and feet. Forget not those Calvary scars.
Years after the Civil War, a man by the name of General Gordon was a candidate for United States Senator. The day came when his name was to be put in nomination in the state legislature. In that body was a man who had been Gordon’s comrade during the war, but for some reason he had incurred resentment against this man and decided to vote against the general. When the time came, the roll was being called for the voting, and this old soldier’s name was called and he rose to cast his vote against the man with whom he had fought through the great struggle of four years of the Civil War. General Gordon was seated at the time upon the speaker’s platform in full view of the legislature. As the man rose his eyes fell upon a scar upon Gordon’s face, the mark of his valor and suffering for the cause to which he had literally given lifeblood in the battle. Immediately this old soldier was stricken with remorse as he saw the token of the sacrifice and suffering of the man by whose side he had himself fought, and he cried out with great emotion, “I cannot vote against him. I had forgotten the scar. I had forgotten the scar.”
Some of us have forgotten the scars. We have forgotten the scarred brow dripping crimson from under its thorny crown. We have forgotten the wounded side where the salvage Roman’s spear drank deep the costly libation of His blood. We have forgotten the hands and feet pierced with nails and stretched and torn with the weight of the precious body of the suffering one. We have forgotten what a claim these scars constitute upon every life they have redeemed from death and the tender appeal of their mute lips. Oh how grateful we would be, if we would just remember.
The world says, “Sing, sing. Take your harps down from the fretting tree, from the fear tree, from the fainting tree, from the forgetting tree, and sing the songs of Zion.” Sing His praise. Isaiah chapter 65 and verse 14 says, “Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart.” Psalms 104:33-34, “I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord.”
A little boy was watching the birds in a field and at length a little songstress perched itself on a limb of a tree. The boy prepared to throne a stone; but before the stone was thrown, the little bird began to sing. Slowly the boy dropped the stone. He listened until the song had ceased. He watched the bird fly away. “Why didn’t you throw the stone at him?” asked a gentleman. “Couldn’t,” was the brief reply, “Couldn’t ‘cos he sung so.”
Thus the enemy of our soul is on the lookout to fire some poisonous dart of doubt or fear. Sing, sing, soldier in the warfare. The trial may be fiery. The march may be long. Let the glory in your soul sing His praise. The devil will flee. He doesn’t like the songs of praise. Jehoshaphat’s armies marched to battle in victory with shouts of faith and songs of praise. So, today, the joy of the Lord is an excellent equipment for the conflict. Sing His praise in the early morning, in the heart of noonday, and surely He gives songs in the night. You may meet someone on the other shore who was helped by your song of praise.
Bible Preaching Resource/Copyright 2000
By Richard L. Wyser. All rights reserved. This material may be used in preaching or teaching or in local church bulletins or hand-outs. No part of this material can be published or reproduced for any other reason. For information, address: Bible Preaching Resource, P. O. Box 846, Addison, IL 60101
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