CCORDING to Ecclesiastes 3:4, there are certain times when it simply is appropriate and proper to weep and to mourn. The Jews who were taken captive out of Jerusalem during the days of Daniel were instructed by their captors to sing one of their sacred songs concerning Jerusalem. Of course, there was nothing to sing about. Jerusalem had been razed. There were no smiles on the faces of these prisoners of war. They had no energy to expend in playing their beautiful instruments. It was absolutely ludicrous for the Babylonians to demand from them that they sing a happy tune. Their souls were consumed with bitterness. It was a dark day in their history. They were justly miserable. The only thing that felt right was sadness.
Sometimes we try to cheer people up and to make them smile when they are down in the dumps... and of course, that angle can be good and noble in many circumstances. But let's remember that sometimes people are sad for a good reason and what they really need us to do is for us to just weep with them (Romans 12:15). The exiled Jews were bitter in their souls because of the hard judgment that they were enduring. There was plenty of cause for worry and for fear. They had powerful and violent enemies and they had neighbors and acquaintances who were egging their opponents on. They had angered God and their punishment was irrevocable. The Jews had witnessed some horrific and inhumane things done against their own friends and family members in recent days. It was time to cry. It was time to weep and to mourn (James 4:8-10). In fact, frankly, anything short of such a response would have been inappropriate. When we are guilty. When God takes us to the woodshed for a good thrashing, it's time to weep. Good, deep, hard sobbing; sincere cries of sadness, this will do us good and will please God too (Luke 6:25 & Ecc. 7:2-4).