by Ivor Powell

God's Silent Orchestra
Ivor Powell
Psalm 137:1-2

The Psalms are among the most popular and widely read parts of the Old Testament. Most of them were written by David, whose words relate to the experiences of millions of people. Readers may not know that a few of the songs were composed by other authors and were accepted by the scholars to whom God entrusted the responsibility of compiling the Holy Scriptures. Psalm 137 is an outstanding example of that fact. It was written by someone who evidently sat alongside the rivers in Babylon, placed his harp in the willow trees, and shared the remorse that broke the hearts of the Hebrew captives. It is not known whether he wrote his lines in Babylon or after he returned to his homeland, but the word picture gained an abiding place in the sacred records of Israel.

The Babylonian people were famous for agriculture. Although they lived in a desert they created canals through which the water of the Euphrates River flowed in all directions. Probably many of the Hebrews were responsible for the maintenance of those waterways. It is not difficult to imagine the slaves sitting outside their hovels after a long day's work, even the stars in the heavens appeared to mock the people whose eyes were filled with tears. Far back across the years, Hebrews had been warned by their prophets and entreated by Jehovah but had refused to cooperate, and their land had been devastated. Their outlook was forbidding; the sands of the desert were an impassable barrier between their hovels and freedom.

The Disturbing Reflection . . . Saddening

"We wept when we remembered Zion." There was plenty of refreshment in the rivers of Babylon, but unfortunately, there was no living water! It was easy to meet the need of the households, but the wells of salvation were beyond reach. It is interesting that the slaves still possessed harps. When the invaders overran Jerusalem, homes were burned and possessions were either destroyed or stolen. Yet the ...

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