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Bible Commentaries

Sermon Bible Commentary
Psalms 137



Verse 4

Psalms 137:4

Let us ask this question and ponder the answer to it in reference to our own poor efforts to awaken heart and voice to the utterance of the Lord's song, whether of sadness or joy, in the services of the Lord's house on the Lord's Day.

I. Consider the difficulty of singing the Lord's song in a strange land. Difficult as I find it to pray, difficult to confess sin, difficult to ask for grace, it is still more difficult, I find, to praise, to perform that highest, that most unselfish, that most self-forgetting, of all offices of devotion which is the telling forth, in the hearing of others, in the presence, we believe, of the communion of saints, dead as well as living, what God is, in act and in counsel, in power, wisdom, and love. (1) The very life which we live here in the body is a life of sight and sense. The world of our common life is a strange land as regards the realisation of God, and consequently the work of praise. Naturally we walk by sight, and to sing the Lord's song is possible only to faith. (2) Again, the feelings of the present life are often adverse to praise. The exiles in Babylon could not sing because they were in heaviness. In the common meaning of the words, the distressed and sorrowful cannot sing the Lord's song. A body of flesh, a sense of unhappiness, a burden of sin, would stop the voice of praise anywhere in any one. The land itself, so to say, is strange to it.

II. But there is a land, could we but reach it, where praise is, as it were, indigenous. In heaven praise is the universal tongue. It takes a lifetime to make heaven our own land. How many things go to this, what a multitude of tears and sorrows, of falls and risings again, of resolutions and repentances, of prayers and watchings, of communions and communings with the Unseen! If heaven is to be our land, it must be by our knowing God—God in Christ. We can never sing the Lord's song even here below intelligently or spiritually until we know the Lord. Life itself is only just long enough to educate us for God's eternal praise.

C. J. Vaughan, Last Words at Doncaster.

References: Psalms 137:4.—T. Arnold, Sermons, vol. iv., p. 221; F. E. Paget, Sermons for Special Occasions, p. 193; H. P. Liddon, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xx., p. 129. Psalms 137:5.—J. Percival, Some Helps for School Life, p. 254; T. W. Gittens, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. xvi., p. 197. Psalms 137:9.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xvii., p. 345. Psalm 137—J. Hammond, Expositor, 1st scries, vol. iv., p. 232. Psalms 138:1.—J. Keble, Sermons on Various Occasions, p. 72. Psalms 138:1-3.—Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes: Genesis to Proverbs, p. 166. Psalms 138:5.—Ibid., Morning by Morning, p. 32. Psalms 138:6.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iii., p. 82. Psalms 138:7.—Ibid., vol. x., p. 147.


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Bibliography Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Psalms 137:4". "Sermon Bible Commentary".

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Tuesday, December 1st, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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