In captivity, Israel recalls the blessings that they once had in God’s Promised Land. Despite benefitting from God’s Providence, Israel rebelled against Him and rejected the relationship with their LORD. Because of their disobedience, the people were sent into captivity in Babylon. Now as they are living in a foreign country, they remember with fondness God’s songs and God’s Presence. Jerusalem was their highest joy. The songs of praise to God they at one point refused to sing become, in captivity, the very songs they long to sing in their homeland once again.
What a blessing we have now to sing praises unto our God as benefactors of His Providence and Grace. The psalmist mourns the loss of his freedom to sing joyfully in the Promised Land. In Babylon, his only solace is the hope of judgment that the Lord will bring against his captors. He longs for a time when he will once again enjoy all that the Lord had given. The psalmist’s sorrow causes us to value our joy in the Lord and the blessing of His nearness to us. We as believers today have solace in God’s Presence with us through Jesus. No captor can cause us to forget our hope of Heaven, since we have our Lord. We have not yet seen our true home with God. The songs we sing unto Him are but echoes of what will be far more joy-filled in the fullness of God’s Presence. Like the psalmist, we long to go home. But in thanks for His blessings that we know now, we have every reason to still sing unto Him.