1 When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion,
We were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
And our tongue with singing.
Then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us,
And we are glad.
4 Bring back our captivity, O Lord,
As the streams in the South.
5 Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
6 He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.
The setting of this Psalm is important for our understanding and for our application. Israel had been taken into captivity and then, after over 70 years, returned to their land. Both their being taken into captivity and their release was undoubtedly the hand of God at work.
In verse 1 the Psalmist speaks of the Lord returning them from captivity to Zion and it being like a dream come true. They were filled with laughter and singing. While they were in Babylon there was not a lot of laughter and there was no open singing of the Lord’s songs. But now singing filled the air and the outcry of the people, for all nations to hear was, “The Lord has done great things for us.”
When God brings us out of our distress we too should rejoice with laughter and with singing and with public blessing of His name. We too should let others know that God has brought us from our “captivity” to rejoicing. Release from sin’s grip, release from bodily pain, release from relational chains and emotional misery is the work of God. He who does all things for our good and for our glory deserves our rejoicing in Him. “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.”
Then, when God restores us we are glad to get back to life. Verses 5-6 have often been used for sowing the seeds of the gospel with weeping but in the context I see people who had lost their ability for normal life rejoicing that they can get back to that. They are taking the seeds, which they have not planted for over 70 years, and are back in their fields planting. They are so glad to be back at normal work of providing for their families that they are weeping as they plant. They plant, they plant precious seeds with the rain of their tears and are going to come out of the fields with rejoicing feeding their own families from their own hands again.
The greatest part of God’s healing in our lives is our ability to get back to normal life. Don’t remain in your pity but get back to work, get back to normal self-preserving life. Rejoice that God has returned your abilities and start using them with tears of rejoicing. You will reap the benefit of your work in many ways.
We rejoiced with Pastor Bill yesterday in 62 years of continual pastoral ministry. We are blessed to have him as part of our congregation. His testimony of faithful care for people is his message to us. Pastor Bill longs to see us all caring for others for Jesus sake for the sake of the gospel.
I introduced a sermon theme for the month of December entitled, “At the name of Jesus…” It is my goal through the month that each of us will come to a greater love of the Lord Jesus but more than that a greater understanding of the power of the Lord and the use of His name to accomplish His purposes.
Next Sunday will be our annual Christmas service where with song and readings the birth of Christ will be exalted. Invite family and friends to this Christmas service.
Have a great day in the Lord, PS