A song of ascents.
When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. 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.” The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, LORD, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.
Psalm 126:1-6 (NIV)
VERSE 1 : A song of ascents. When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed.
Let us begin with the background. This psalm was authored by the Prophet Ezra. The Israelites were exiled to Babylon for seventy years. Ezra then led them back to Jerusalem. After seventy years, they had ditched all hopes of returning to their homeland. Thus, as God restored their circumstances and called them back to Jerusalem, it all felt like a dream. God suddenly answered with the impossible.
Such restoration was too good to be true for the Israelites; likewise, in our lives, God has actually prepared many blessings, which seem too good to be true, even for us to dream.
God’s Word shines forth a ray of hope out of our cloudy circumstances. Have faith as small as a mustard seed. That tiny faith is God’s reason to pour down His blessings. Sometimes, God works silently – without signs – because He himself is miraculous, able to create something out of nothing. Keep your hope up, and tightly hold onto your faith.
“ …….. When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,……….”
The fortunes of Zion refer to the lost years, that seventy years of vanity and fruitlessness being in exile. God is able to restore your situation and redeem your lost years.
How does God restore our lost years?
- Forging closer relationship with God
A deeper relationship with God is the origin of restoration. Relationship with God holds eternal value.
- Turning short-run losses into long-run profits
Whenever we face unfavorable circumstances, as long as our life remains in God, we will always learn new lessons from God. We will be strengthened to go through this phase and perceive this season’s suffering as a leaping stone.
- Multiplying our fruitfulness in the coming season
Nothing in God’s hand is doomed to vanity: any ruins can be turned anew. God will take you to race and experience multiplication, as well as acceleration. However, God can’t take the disappointed to race. Keep your faith, for faith enables you to listen to God’s voice.
VERSE 2 : Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.
The laughter that filled their mouths were not condescending or mocking in nature. When God restores our situation, our heart would be so alight, joyful, and saturated in natural laughter. A day would surely come when our struggle ends and our heart rests.
Tongues filled with songs of joy refer to mouths abounding with God’s praise. Such praises are not meant for show of self-piety, but more intended for sincere expression of our hearts: giving thanks to God for whatever we have right now.
“…….. Then it was said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The public will have a range of opinions towards our life. They might negatively comment about our lives at one time, while positively complimenting at another. This verse reminds us: Do not live for what others might say about you; do not gossip about others.
Do not stop short at just being a commentator over the restoration taking place in other’s lives, but desire to personally experience it.
VERSE 3-6 : The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, LORD, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.“
“The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.…….”
This verse depicts one’s perspective of experiencing God’s miracles. There’s joy out of restored lives.
“……. Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy..”
Do not allow your current situations to stop you from sowing the right thing. Whatever we sow or burry stays underground. The difference lies in our respond and attitude. We have to intentionally do God’s will even in suffering.
Agriculture of Faith: Faith doesn’t suddenly pop up. Faith begins with a seed sown by the visionary Sower, God himself. Our heart as the seed needs to trust and believe in the Sower. When we are pressed underground, we must believe in the Sower that one day we will grow and bear fruits. The seed and the fruit differ physically. Do not compare your current suffering with the fruit that you will harvest later. Be faithful in this season of your life. If you have to cry, shedding tears, then cry for the righteousness in God’s Word.
“.……. will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.”
Harvest with praises and renewed attitude.
Excerpted from Ps. Philip Mantofa’s sermon, 21 June 2020, Sunday Service, GMS Surabaya Barat