Psalms 120-134 are ‘Songs of Ascents.’ It’s presumed they were sung when pilgrims went up to Jerusalem (situated on a hill), usually for a Jewish festival. It reminded the people that Jerusalem is the place for coming together as a people and as worshippers. We read one of these Songs today.
Prepare to listen. Remember today: The LORD has done great things for us, and we rejoiced. (Psalm 126:3)
Read Psalm 126 (Song of Ascents)
1 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
‘The LORD has done great things for them.’
3The LORD has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.
4Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the watercourses in the Negeb.
5May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
6Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.
Things weren’t going well for the faith community who prayed this psalm. We don’t know what the problem was, just a sense of pain and loss in the psalm. However, the community isn’t ready to give up on Yahweh. They remember another time when things weren’t going well and how God intervened and restored their fortunes. They remember the exuberant joy they felt then, how joy bubbled out of their mouths and lips in shouts of praise. Even their neighboring nations saw that ‘the LORD has done great things for them.’ Remembering helped them believe that again God will restore them, and they’ll experience the same joy. It will be like rain falling on the arid ground of the Negeb. Things will again spring to life, and joy will be the reward. Therefore, the psalmist keeps praying, ‘Restore our fortunes, O LORD.’ Behind their prayer is the anticipation that they will again say, ‘The LORD has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.’
Remember a time when God did great things for you. Let it give you hope in whatever your present situation is today.
Respond to the Lord in prayer
Sometimes Lord, when things aren’t going well, I need to remember what you have done before and be assured that you will once again come in and do great things for me. Amen.
Go and live obediently in the world remember and anticipating God’s great things.
Reading the Bible has always been essential to followers of Jesus. I've been reading, studying, teaching and writing reflections on biblical texts for as long as I can remember. I invite you to read the Bible with me during the Lent and into Easter Sunday.