Singing God’s Praises in a Strange Land

"How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” Psalm‬ ‭137:4‬‬‬

This past week I was having a conversation with a friend, and he commented that life just felt “off” for him during this season. I’ve been blessed during these last several months to continue to work during the duration of this COVID crisis, but I know for many people work and family lives have been changed at the least, and majorly disrupted for others. Whether it’s during this season or another that you can look back on in life, we all go through times that may feel off or strange. It can even seem sometimes that life is so strange that it is like being in a strange land, navigating each day through new and confusing situations.

If you feel as though you are wandering through a strange land now or can remember a time in the past when you felt like this, you are not alone. The Israelites describe a similar feeling approximately 1500 years ago when they were exiled in Babylon. Babylon was not their home, and Babylon was not the land that God had promised them. The Israelites were in a season where life seemed bleak, and in Psalm 137 the Israelites lament their exile and the harsh situations of their lives in Babylon. As they lay out their situations before God, the Psalmist asks, “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” (Psalm‬ ‭137:4‬). Life’s situations were so strange and uncomfortable that the Israelites even wondered how they could continue to praise God. Perhaps you have felt the same way, finding it difficult to praise God during this or another difficult season in your life.‬

Another prophet, Habakkuk, probably lived in Judah during the time shortly before the Israelites’ exile in Babylon. Because of the situations already present in Israel and a lack of peace with foreign nations during his life, Habakkuk likewise laments a strange season for Israel and lays out some complaints including a lack of food, a lack of peace, and general unrest (Habakkuk 3:17-19). After laying out these situations, though, Habakkuk says, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation,” (Habakkuk‬ ‭3:18‬). Despite the strange season in which he finds himself in life, Habakkuk resolves to praise the Lord and find joy, whether in a strange land or not.

We can learn a valuable lesson from Habakkuk: it’s okay to lay out the situations in our lives to God that aren’t ideal right now, but the proper response to every situation in our lives whether in its highs or its lows is to praise the Lord. God deserves our praises whether we feel like praising Him or not, whether we are living in the land of God’s promises and abundance or a land that feels strange. We do not praise the Lord because it benefits us or makes us happy. We praise Him because He is God and deserves our praise in every season and situation. To sing God‘s praises in a strange land is to prophetically declare God‘s unchanging character and glory despite the ever-changing situations in our lives. ‬

I’m not telling you that you should ignore the situations in your life and act as if everything is okay. I am saying, though, that God deserves our praises equally in the great moments of our lives as He does in the strange seasons. I also want to encourage you that although it may feel like it, God is not distant. Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit made available through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the fullness of the Godhead lives inside of you if you have accepted Christ into your heart (Ephesians 3:17-19). So, what should you do once you’ve laid your situations out to God? I may not have all of the answers for you, but I know the God who does, so seek Him. If I could end with some advice to you whether you feel like you’re in a strange land or not, it would be:

Keep singing.
Keep praying.
Keep knocking.
Keep seeking.
Keep asking.
Keep hoping.
Keep abiding.

No Comments






no tags