“By the rivers of Babylon – there we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion. There we hung up our lyres on the poplar trees, for our captors there asked us for songs, and our tormentors, for rejoicing: ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion.’” (Psalm 137:1-3 CSB)
The once mighty Israelite army and the fortresses of Jerusalem were shattered by the Babylonians. These were the people whose ancestors fought under Joshua and defeated every army that came against them. Now, brutalized by the Babylonians and taken captive to Babylon, their tormentors demanded to hear the songs of Zion. So what happened?
Under the leadership of Joshua, the Israelites won and prospered for one reason – the Lord fought for them. The Lord did this because at that time the Israelites were committed to Him and devoted to obedience. Centuries later, the Israelites had all but forgotten the Lord, the Law, and the worship of the Lord. At one point, Canaanite idols were even set up in the temple. The people turned away from the Lord, and they then reaped the harvest of what they had sown.
Anytime a people who call themselves the people of the Lord turn away from Him, they can expect to reap the profits of their own self-efforts. The Lord seeks those who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth. God does not coerce. People are free to choose who they will serve. If people turn to themselves or to “other religions” or other forms of spirituality, their strength will be as strong as dust. But if people turn to the Lord, in Him they will find strength, victory, joy, and peace. It comes down to a choice we make.
Lord, We choose You, and we seek after You. Guide us into Your love and into the strength that You provide. Amen.