Psalm 126 combines the theme of restoration with that of rejoicing. It is another of the psalms of Ascent that were likely a collection of psalms used by folks who were on their pilgrimage to Jerusalem each year. The psalm begins with a memory of God’s history of restoration. It’s a verse that reflects on what is to come. “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream”. The psalmist is dreaming of the day when God’s people return to their land following the Babylonian exile.
There have been plenty of restorations that have happened in history before and after this time:
- the restoration of Sarah to Abraham
- the restoration of Joseph to Jacob and his brothers
- the restoration of the people to the land after the Exodus
- the restoration of the ark to the people after the Philistines captured it
- the birth of the Messiah; the restoration of Jesus to his parents
- the resurrection
God is in the restoration business. He often restores us if we’ll only allow Him that opportunity.
Coming out of that restoration was praise and rejoicing. “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”” The people of God praise God. They recall the reality that “the Lord has done great things for us; we are glad”. It’s the reality of God throughout history. We don’t always see it as we’re too close to the actual events, but God has done lots of great things – enough to justify the psalmist writing those exact words twice in these short six verses.
The psalm ends with repeated requests for yet more restoration. “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him”. Life is not always going to happen the way we wish. There are plenty of times we’ll have the need and opportunity to seek God’s restoration. This may refer to a physical drought, but it also is a metaphor for other kinds of crisis such as spiritual drought or the drought of a nation’s leadership. God can restore the joy. We need to cry out to Him!