are immediately familiar to us, coming as
they do from a very poignant verse in Psalm
137. This psalm speaks the language of
tears, sobs and broken hearts. God’s people
are in exile in Babylon, on account of their
multiple unfaithfulnesses to his covenant.
They are now experiencing its bitter fruits
as they remember Zion and its lost joys. To
make matters worse, their captors are
mocking them, and trying to get them to sing
‘one of the songs of Zion’. This they cannot
do, and they speak of themselves hanging up
their harps (or lyres) upon the willows, by
Babylon’s waters. The weeping willows with
their drooping branches seemed to weep and
mourn as they did. They ask, ‘How shall we
sing the LORD’s song in a foreign/strange
a precise mirror of our own circumstances
and feelings? We too, with deep and
heartfelt sadness, feel increasingly that we
are living in a strange land. It is our own
land, yet we scarcely belong any longer. So
much is changing for the worse. In the
highest places of the land the things of God
are being dismantled, one by one. Most
recently, as well we know, the Houses of
Parliament have voted – for this is what it
amounts to – to overturn the Bible and
rewrite the dictionary, where marriage is
concerned. Restricting ourselves for a
moment to the letter ‘d’, the present days
in our land are dark, dismal, desperate,
desolate, dire, drastic, degenerate,
depressing, discouraging, disconsolate,
distressing and dreadful.
of hanging our harps upon the willows suits
us very well. It expresses our emotions,
pains and sorrows at all the gross
dishonouring of God and his Word that is
taking place all around us. So how do we
respond? In particular, what are we to
recall? Precisely this: despite all these
woeful changes, certain things do not
God does not change.
He never will. He is still high and holy and
inhabiting eternity. He is the God who works
righteousness and justice. He will not be
mocked. As much as ever, he remains the
rock, stronghold and portion of his people.
He hears our cries, and will answer us in
his own times and ways.
The Bible does not change.
It never will. It is God’s eternal word
which is also his abiding, fresh and
ever-contemporary word. It requires no
apologies from us, and will admit of no
alterations. Our business is to believe it,
proclaim it, and, the Lord being our helper,
The gospel does not change.
It is still ‘the power of God for salvation
to everyone who believes’. The almighty and
heavenly power of the Holy Spirit inhabits
it. It is full of the Lord Jesus Christ, who
is all-sufficient, altogether lovely, and
‘the same yesterday and today and forever’.
He alone is the very Saviour the sinner
needs and the child of God has!
The true church does not change.
She remains the bride of Christ, is a
dwelling-place for the Holy Spirit, and is
charged with guarding the good deposit. At
her best she is ‘awesome as an army with
banners’ – the less she is like the world,
the more effective she is in the world.
Eternity does not change.
Heaven remains real, and so does hell. So
they shall. Heaven beckons and hell
however difficult we find it – let us seek
grace not to be overwhelmed with the
oppression of present things, but to hold
fast to those things which are unchanging.
That way, we shall yet ‘sing the LORD’s
song’ again, even in this increasingly