"They that carried us away required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?" (Psalm 137:3-4).
The people of God were in the hardest place of their lifetime. And as they were carried away, their captors required of them a song. Yet there was no life in them anymore, nothing but depression, despair, hopelessness.
Multitudes of Christians are in the same position today. You may be trapped by your circumstances or the devil is coming at you with an old temptation. You are on the edge of giving up, thinking, “I can't make it. In spite of all my crying and praying, that old bondage is going to hound me forever!"
When Israel fell into Babylonian bondage, their captors cried to them, "Sing for us! Play for us! We've heard all about you and what your God did for you. Now take out your tambourines and bring out your harps. Play us a song. Show us your joy in your God!"
I do not believe this demand was made only in mockery. I believe it was also a pitiful plea. The Babylonians' gods had left them empty and dry. They had no hope. But they had heard Israel singing to their God, a God who had seen them through impossible circumstances. They said, "These people have a God who can open a sea for them. His fire comes down from heaven and He stands against their enemies. There's got to be something to this God of theirs!"
Like all the world, they wanted to see a people who endured the same problems they endured and faced the same battles they faced, yet could sing and shout and hold their faith in the darkest of hours! The Babylonians demanded a song because there is something in every person's heart that cries out, "Where on the face of the earth is something that can make you sing even when you've lost everything?" They needed a testimony! It is important that the children of God, wherever they are at whatever time, sing the songs of Zion: "God, I believe You, no matter what is happening!"
The world is shouting to us, "You can show us a miracle! It isn't the Red Sea opening up that impresses us. It's not seeing the blind given sight or the lame healed. It's that you can look at the darkest hour of your life, a situation that's hopeless to all human reasoning, and yet smile with joy, singing praises to God. That's the miracle we want to see."