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Sabbath: Singing the Lord’s Song in a Strange Land — 11 Comments

  1. At one of the early performances of the Messiah, The Earl of Kinnoull told Handel that it was fine entertainment. To which Handel replied that he would be sorry if it was only entertaining, he was aiming to make a change for the better.

    Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain.”
    – Isaiah 40:4

    Something to think about as we study this week's lesson.

  2. We presently live in a 'strange land' of globalism, consumerism, materialism, secularism, and fundamentalism.
    We are called to sing songs of service, love, praise, and ensure that our walk matches our talk. This is how we sing the Lord's song in this strange land- then and only then will we be fully armored.

  3. God's silence and absence on the suffering of His people in this strange land is something that over the years I've wrestled with. His silence makes me sometimes wonder as to whether He is a 'weak God' to defend His name in the face of wickedness and injustices meted out on His people or silence is His way of operation. Can't you speak louder God!?!

    • Question: Is God asleep?

      The scoffers say: where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

      Answer #1 God is not asleep

      But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgement and perdition of ungodly men.

      Answer #2 God is not asleep

      But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

      Answer #3 is god sleeping or waiting for us?

      The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

      Answer #4: is God sleeping or waiting for us?

      What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversations and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God,...

      Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

      Thank you 2 peter 3: 4,7-9, 11,12,14

  4. I enjoyed how this day's lesson reminds us that 'we do not need to get deep into the book of Psalms in order to discover that the Psalms are uttered in an imperfect world, one of sin, evil, suffering,' Also, the lesson emphasizes that 'sin corrupts the world more and more, the earth has increasingly become “a strange land” to God’s people.'

  5. The world is indeed 'a strange land' Too many troubles here and there but to us who believe in The Loving Arms of The One Whom we learnt about last week,we fear no evil.

  6. God knows and sees our deeply seated feelings of sadness, pain, grief and anger. God want us to genuinely express these human emotions to Him. It is extremely comforting to know that our kind and loving God will handle these burdens for us. Our God is an ever present help at the time of great distress (Ps 46:1). How can we sing the Lord's song to our tormentors (Ps 137:3)? When we are tormented with negative emotions, let us go to our kind and loving Saviour for rest. "Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest" - Matthew 11:28(NLT).

  7. Poetry is to the mundane language as the polish is to the ordinary stone - it makes it precious. Combinding ordinary language with heaven's inspiration will uplift the heart of the beholder. I consider to receive the capacity to ‘sing the Lord’s Song in a strange land’ to be the aim of every believer in our God who we consider to be perfect, just and ever present.

    To me, though the psalmists are ordinary people given a special capacity to express the experiences of ordinary people, they do so with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit which 'polishes' the ordinary words to make them appealing to our ears and heart; anyone 'experiencing' them will benefit.

    The psalmist's experiences are our experiences today; their thoughts are our thoughts. We can learn to 'sing the Lord’s Song’ in any circumstances we find ourselves in - believing and loving Him with all our heart and being will bring this about!

  8. Today's lesson reminds me of this powerful story:

    19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone (a girl slave possessed by demons who told fortunes, whom God healed through Paul), they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

    22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

    25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

    29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

    31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household. ~Acts 16:19-34

    What if Paul and Silas had been groaning and complaining in their prison cell? They had a right to, they had certainly been treated unjustly. They had not received a fair trial. God had not saved them from suffering. He had not stepped in to defend them. What if Paul and Silas had interpreted the situation as God's absence, rather than as God's presence?

    I love how the passage says they were singing AND praying. They may have poured out their feelings of pain to God in hushed prayers, but they were heard by everyone singing praises! They spread hope in God in the darkness, and holy cheer, not discouragement. Even when the chains fell off, they were more focused on God's mission and work in that moment than they were concerned about their own personal comfort. Their seeds of faith in the midst of trouble had germinated in that dark night. Their songs of trust in God bore fruit in the conversions of the jailer and his whole family. Maybe other prisoners, too, turned to Christ. Paul and Silas had showed no unbelief in Jesus. And so God powerfully shook everything up, literally. God's Word shone that much stronger through weak bodies (2 Cor. 12:8-10 ESV). Men who were patient and kind and joy-filled in much suffering were a strong influence to others to accept the same Life. Look, it says a jailer was filled with joy!

    Please Jesus, help us to have that kind of confidence in You, and so rule our tongues and voices that all that comes out is praise for Your goodness, and encouragement, not discouragement!

  9. Babylonians requested for the songs of Zion. It is not mentioned whether this was a mocking or genuine request but one thing that sticks out is they knew there were songs of Zion. Does the world today know there are songs that are deemed Songs of Zion? Are we still singing from our own hymn books or from other churches' hymn books? While they said they could not sing the Lord’s songs in a strange land, I believe they were supposed to sing. These songs would have kept their hope and faith burning. Chances are Babylonians longed for the songs as they were different from what they themselves used to sing. I encourage all who are depressed, discouraged, and worrying to sing the songs of Zion. Happy Sabbath to you all


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