There on the poplars we hung our harps. Psalm 137:2
Harps make beautiful music. We often associate them with angels making music in heaven. Certainly they make appropriate instruments of praise. But in Psalm 137 we find Israel’s harps hung on trees, not being used. Why? God’s people grieve in Babylonian exile. Gone the temple in Jerusalem. Far away their homeland. They don’t want to accept the taunts of their captors to make music for them. They remain loyal to God. Repentant now, they long to return home and play their harps again in temple praise.
By contrast, Isaiah criticizes Israel for playing their harps at banquets with “no regard for the deeds of the LORD” (Isaiah 5:12). How easily we can be guilty of joining the world in loose living and disobedience against God. All the while we sing our songs and play our harps.
God wants us to repent and look to the Messiah for our deliverance. He came to make beautiful music in a dissonant world. He restored the harmony of creation by His death and resurrection. He brings us back home to Himself in our baptism. We dwell in the midst of His temple of living stones. Therefore we can take our harps off the poplars and play them beautifully in praise of Him. And someday we will join “the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders…before the Lamb” (Revelation 5:8) and use our harps to swell the new song eternally.
PRAYER: Lord God, forgive me for my sins, and lead me to my Savior, Jesus. Amen.
(Devotions from “My Daily Devotion” by Dr. Stephen J. Carter, copyright 1988 CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. For ordering information, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit www.cph.org.)
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