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Psalm 126: Dreaming of Better Days

Maybe life used to be good: full of laughter, joy, and the admiration of others. But now – perhaps due to life circumstances or ill health or the cruelty of others – that ‘blessing’ all feels like a distant memory. Have you ever felt like this? I know I have.

This psalm is a song of longing. The journeying singers were a group of people who had been greatly blessed by God in the past. Their fortunes were so good, in fact, that they were living the dream (v1) – “our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy” (v2) – and others looked on from the outside and marvelled (v3). But look at the contrast in the two halves of the song: now, they simply long for that blessing (v4-6). 

The good news is that miracles can happen. 

This song goes beyond some hope for mere economic or situational recovery but is really speaking about spiritual renewal: the deepest type of renewal possible. You may not consider yourself a spiritual person, but we all live life as if there’s more out there than just the things we see and touch around us. We all have a deep longing for something more. And God wants to give it to us. 

The pace of such renewal can vary: sometimes it’s fast (see v4: the Negev was a dry riverbed which, because of its mountain source, could suddenly change to a surge of flowing water) and sometimes it’s a bit slower (like the farming image in v5-6: it takes a long time for seed to bring a harvest). But the amount of transformation God can bring is huge: from arid to overflowing (v4); from weeping tears to songs of joy (v5,6); from tiny seed to voluminous sheaves (v6). 

This is what God offers to bring to your life. He does this through offering you his Son Jesus. In his own life Jesus said the same thing, in different ways: 

‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

“I have come that they [you] may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” (John 16:24)

We all long for a miracle, for joy once tasted, for happiness. It is right to long for it; it is even better to ask for it, from someone who is able to give it, and to wait and see what he does. 

PRAYER Thank you God, that you offer to bring great transformation. You know how I long for better days than this. Please can you bring this deep spiritual renewal into my life, in a way that I know that it’s from you. Amen. 

Psalm 126

A song of ascents.

1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed.

2 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.’

3 The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.

4 Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev.

5 Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.

6 Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow,

will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.


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