Psalms 120 – 134 are a part of a collection of psalms known as the “Songs of Ascents”. Today we are looking at the seventh psalm, 126, in this series of 15 songs for pilgrims coming to Jerusalem. This song was likely composed after Israel’s exile and can be separated into three sections. Let’s read the psalm and then we can breakdown the sections.
Psalm 126 GNT
A Prayer for Deliverance
1 When the Lord brought us back to Jerusalem,
it was like a dream!
2 How we laughed, how we sang for joy!
Then the other nations said about us,
“The Lord did great things for them.”
3 Indeed he did great things for us;
how happy we were!
4 Lord, make us prosperous again,
just as the rain brings water back to dry riverbeds.
5 Let those who wept as they planted their crops,
gather the harvest with joy!
6 Those who wept as they went out carrying the seed
will come back singing for joy,
as they bring in the harvest.
We can clearly see God’s people, Israel, in this psalm, but let’s remember that we are also God’s people, and so let’s connect the two. We must always remember that the Word of God is living, and it relates to ALL of God’s kids of every generation.
Verses 1-3: Remembering the Good Old Days
Verse 4: Praying for Current Days
Verses 5-6: Looking Ahead as the Harvest
In verses 1-3, if this is “when the LORD brought us back to Jerusalem” then it could be when the Israelites return from their exile in Babylon. Regardless of the context, it’s clear that the Israelites are remembering the good old days, and that is when God’s restoration was so great that even other nations took notice. You and I “should” have the same type of remembrance of the good old days, when we were restored to such greatness that “many” took notice…it is our salvation in Christ. It truly is the greatest thing that He could have ever done, is doing, and will do for you and me.
Verse 4 is a connection of the past, to the present, and on to the future, a reminder that with the Lord we are to keep moving forward and always in prayer for His guidance. Remembering the good old days in verses 1-3 has ended, and verse 4 begins a prayer, and it’s a big prayer that is needed for the present, and for the future. The prayer is an ask for water that will replace dryness. “For as the waters fill the sea, the earth will be filled with an awareness of the glory of the LORD.” (Habakkuk 2:14) Our lives are filled with dry and hard places, but we must not remain there, we must pray and ask for the glory of the Lord to fill us to overflowing with the renewing baptismal water of Christ, just as the Israelites were asking.
Verses 5-6 are about the harvest, and my friends, you and I (just as the Israelites) are the harvest. Please remember that there is no place in scripture that tells us that crying is a problem. The Bible instructs us to cry out to the Lord, Jesus cried, and during these time in the Old Testament we see God’s people crying out and they lament. We know that through our restoration in Christ Jesus we are called to carry out and plant seeds, regardless of how hard and dry places might be. Even when those places in our own lives cause us tears, we are to remain joyful and tending to the crops. Never forget, that the harvest each of us will have in heaven one day is directly connected to the seeds we are sowing now, and the crops we are tending to now here on the earthly realm.
Prayer: Father, thank You for Your Word which is always Truth for each generation. Help us to open our souls to allow Your spirit to bring Truth so that we can see Your blessings, allow Your restorative work in our lives, be filled with Your living water in the dry and hard places of life, so we can pray boldly to You, and so we can ultimately grow in You as part of Your Harvest. I ask all of this in Your Name, Jesus. Amen.
Written by: Jennifer Auer, Pastor Mary Haley’s Assistant