A harvest of hope - 1 September 2020
By Xanthe Hancox
When the LORD brought us back to Jerusalem, it was like a dream! How we laughed, how we sang for joy! Then the other nations said about us, “The LORD did great things for them.” Indeed he did great things for us; how happy we were! LORD, make us prosperous again, just as the rain brings water back to dry riverbeds. Let those who wept as they sowed their seed, gather the harvest with joy! Those who wept as they went out carrying the seed will come back singing for joy, as they bring in the harvest.
Psalm 126 is so wonderfully hopeful and joyful (and short enough!) that I thought I’d include the full text this morning. The psalm is a song that looks back to when the captives returned to Jerusalem following their long exile in Babylon. They had suffered so much, and now they suddenly found themselves back in their homeland, back in Jerusalem, back in the beloved city of God.
This first stanza encourages us to marvel at how God has helped us in the past and the second tells us to trust God to do it all again.
Although the Israelites were free and back in Jerusalem, there was still much work to be done. They needed to rebuild the temple and rebuild the walls. They faced discouragement from within and opposition from without. God had worked a great deliverance for them in the past. Now they needed to trust him to do it again.
God’s deliverance can sometimes be swift and unexpected, the way rains can suddenly send water rushing through the Negev desert, with grass and flowers appearing quite literally overnight. But often, God’s way of working is much slower – the hard work of sowing and reaping.
After sowing with tears, a ¬farmer might well despair of seeing any harvest at all, let alone a joyful harvest. But in the metaphor of this psalm, the sowers return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves of grain.
Our hope in Jesus Christ is that God has been faithful to his promises to save his people. Our tears will turn into songs of joy because of our hope of salvation through God’s love for us in Christ. “We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.”
Prayer: God of promise, thank you for all the times you have helped me in the past. Forgive me when I have been impatient, expecting instant deliverance. Teach me to trust you more each day. Amen