Key Verse: Verse 2 – "We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof."
Key Words: We hanged our harps upon the willows
The willow tree represents the tree of lost joy. The psalmist was talking about Israel. He was talking about the day they hung their harps in the willow trees and gave up hope. It would be like a preacher putting his Bible on a shelf and saying, “I give up!”
Have you ever hung your harp upon the willow tree? Have you ever said you were not going to sing anymore or play anymore?
It seems as though the writer of this Psalm is writing during a time of captivity, the captivity has led them to hang their harps and lose their joy. But there is no doubt, no matter what the reason, they have lost the joy of their salvation.
Where is joy found?
Not in unbelief – Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He wrote: “I wish I had never been born.”
Not in money – Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of money. Yet when on his deathbed he said: “I suppose I am the most miserable devil on earth.”
Certainly joy is not found in infidelity to God! Thomas Payne cried out during his last moments: “O Lord, help me! God, help me! Jesus Christ, help me!” Voltaire said, “I am lost! I am lost! Oh, that I had never been born!” Colonel Charterius is reported to have said, “I would gladly give 30,000 pounds to have it proven to my satisfaction that there is no such place as hell.”
Joy is not found in pleasure. Lord Byron, who reveled in pleasure all his days, wrote on his last birthday: “My days are in the yellow leaf. The flowers and fruits of life are gone. The worm, the canker, and grief are mine alone!” He was twenty-five years old when he wrote that!
J. Wilbur Chapman wrote: “In church last Sunday I noted a small child who was turning around smiling at everyone. He was not gurgling, spitting, humming, tearing the hymnbooks apart, or rummaging through his mother’s purse. He was just smiling. Suddenly his mother jerked him around, and in a stage whisper that everyone could hear, said, ‘Stop grinning. You’re in church.’ With that she gave him a slap on his hindside, and as the tears rolled down his cheeks she added, ‘That is better,’ and returned to her prayers. If you cannot grin in church, where can you be happy?”
So the next time you hear of the willow tree, remember it is the tree of lost joy. That need not be.
What to do:
✞ For the believer, sin and joy never run together. Sin and worldly fun are cohorts, though; and we should know the difference
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