Sadness has a way a stealing our song. It robs the joy out of our lives and leaves us with the feeling of hopelessness. So it was with the nation of Israel. During their years of captivity, many of them began to lose hope. Consider this psalm that was written during that difficult time period.
Psalm 137:1 By the rivers in Babylon we sat and cried when we remembered Jerusalem. 2 On the poplar trees nearby we hung our harps. 3 Those who captured us asked us to sing; our enemies wanted happy songs. They said, “Sing us a song about Jerusalem!” 4 But we cannot sing songs about the Lord while we are in this foreign country! NCV
“Sing us a happy song!” the Babylonians requested. “How can we sing a happy song when the Lord has us living in the land of sadness?” they replied. Sadness had stolen their joy and their song.
Yet the Lord did not want them to lose their song. He wanted them to continue to trust in Him and His goodness. Though it was necessary for them to go through this season of sadness, God promised them a day of future joy. We read last week from the book of Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 31:15 …”A voice was heard in Ramah of painful crying and deep sadness: Rachel crying for her children. She refused to be comforted, because her children are dead!”
Rachel was so sad that she would not be comforted. Yet the Lord reached out to her with hope.
Jeremiah 31:16 But this is what the Lord says: “Stop crying; don’t let your eyes fill with tears. You will be rewarded for your work!” says the Lord. “The people will return from their enemy’s land. 17 So there is hope for you in the future,” says the Lord. “Your children will return to their own land. NCV
As we read from the book of Psalms: “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Ps 30:5)
As with often throughout the book of Jeremiah, God used a visible example to help illustrate this important truth. In Jeremiah 32:6-25, God commanded Jeremiah to purchase a parcel of new land and to seal the title deed up in a clay jar. Why did God have His prophet to do this?
Jeremiah 32:14 ‘This is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: Take both copies of the record of ownership — the sealed copy and the copy that was not sealed — and put them in a clay jar so they will last a long time. 15 This is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: In the future my people will once again buy houses and fields for grain and vineyards in the land of Israel.’
The Bible says: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)
Sight said: “There is no hope. We’re being led away into the land of sadness.”
But faith said: “There is hope. One day God will bring us again into the land of gladness.”