For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying…
The noblest employment of which the nature of man is capable is the worship of his Maker. One of the elements of the worship is the rendition of praise, and in the songs of Zion we are amply provided with material for this purpose.
I. THE SONG OF THE PARDONED PENITENT. This song can be sung by him who no longer looks to his own righteousness for salvation, but whose desire is to be found in Christ as the righteousness of God.
II. THE SONG OF THE ADORING CREATURE. This song is sung not for any special gift received, but in contemplation of the great acts of God — His past acts in the Church and in the world — for the laws of nature — for all those marvellous exhibitions of power and wisdom that are before our eyes.
III. THE SONG OF THE RECIPIENT OF MERCY. This is well brought out in Psalm 103. The mercies that are renewed to us daily are not to be taken as a matter of course. Count up your daily mercies and sing.
IV. THE SONG OF THE HEAVEN-ROUND PILGRIM, "Thy statutes have been my songs," etc. God's people should not go on their way as if to be a Christian were the most gloomy thing hi the world. They are commanded to "rejoice." Let us attain to the apostolic stand and come "to Zion with songs."
V. THE SONG OF THE SORROWER. "He giveth songs in the night." Where sufferings abound, consolations abound. God never lays one hand on us but He lays the other hand under us. Paul and Silas sang in prison in the night.
VI. THE SONG OF THE SANCTUARY. The service of song in public worship was very prominent under the old dispensation. Music should be edifying; not a sensuous enjoyment, but a part — a noble part — of the worship of God.
VII. THE SONG OF ZION WHICH IS TO BE SUNG BY THE GLORIFIED ABOVE. That song is to be the utterance — the ceaseless utterings — of their gratitude and praise for all the eternal love wherewith they were loved, for the grace by which they were redeemed, kept there, sanctified there, brought there — "Salvation to God and to the Lamb." Are you in training for that choir which is in heaven — for exchanging the songs which we sung in a strange land for the songs of the New Jerusalem and all her beauty?
(J. C. Miller, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.