The Bible commentators say that Psalm 126 is a psalm of community lament. In some ways it would seem applicable to the problems of our world situation today. Many around the world may feel as if they have all been in a desert and they are longing for refreshing steams of water to come again.
But this psalm opens with remembering a time of restoration in the past, ’When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad’ (Psalm 3-126:1). How exciting this memory was! They had scarcely been able to believe it was true and they had shouted for joy. They had laughed and laughed. They had also been conscious that the rest of the world was watching and was giving the credit to their God, the one and only true God.
Remembering all this leads to a heart-felt prayer, ‘Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negeb!’ (Psalm 126:4). Because they had experienced the hand of God bringing such amazing answers to their prayers before, they were now turning to Him for help in their present circumstances. Although it was a desperate prayer, they had a confident expectation that God would again answer it. ‘Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him’ (Psalm 6-126:5).
There is a picture here of people who are doing their best to plant seeds for the future, even though they are presently going through sadness and grief. They have faith that a time of fruitfulness will return again, and a harvest of blessing will be given to them by the Lord.
It reminds me of another verse in the Bible which has personally meant a great deal to me during last year, ‘Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning’ (Psalm 30:5b). The night can seem never-ending when we are going through a valley of grief or a time of anxious waiting. Faith is hanging on to the promises of God’s word, especially when we believe He is speaking them into our personal situation.
In Psalm 30 King David is celebrating the dedication of the temple and he says, ‘You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!’ (Psalm 12-30:11). He has come through the valley and is now praising the Lord and giving thanks.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, may I also remember how You have answered my prayers in the past and be encouraged to put my trust in You for the future, as I hold on to the promises I believe You have given me from Your word. May I choose, like David, to give thanks to You forever for every answer to prayer. Amen.
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