Hope and Realism
Lord, You have done great things not only for Israel, but also for me.
Read PSALM 126
1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dreamed.
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
4 Restore our fortunes, Lord,
like streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
As you give thanks to God for the blessings of the past, do you think about how these may encourage us for the future?
It is good to look back and recall blessings that God has given us in the past. Israel is doing just that in this psalm, as the people recall the great things God has done for them in restoring them from exile in Babylon. His work has brought joy to Israel and caught the attention of the nations (2,3). We should indeed celebrate when the Lord blesses us, gives us victory and restores us. This encourages us for the future as we continue our pilgrimage of faith, just as Israel is encouraged to do (5,6).
As we rejoice at the way God has blessed us and as we acknowledge that this so often happens without our contribution but due to his grace (we were in dreamland at the time; 1b), we can then look forward and ask for more of the same (4). We acknowledge that often those who sing songs of joy do so after a period in which they “sow with tears” (5), seeking God for refreshment and help in what may well be future difficulties.
We do not want the tears, we want the joy! We certainly want to move from one to the other (from drought to abundant water, as verse 4 puts it). The journey from one to the other may be a long path, but we need to sow before we can reap. We must persist and endure, knowing that the outcome is secure (6). As the people look back, they rejoice. As they look forward, they kneel in prayer—much to give thanks for, but, as it were, much land yet to be possessed.
Ask God to help you see spiritual principles in these verses—hope, based on God’s reliability in the past, and confidence to keep persevering in the years ahead.
Lord, show us how to sow Your seed most effectively so that we can reap in utmost joy.