This song is filled with shouts of joy, laughter, and gladness.
Review — A guide for the climb.
- Psalm 120 Prerequisites to your decision
- Psalm 121 Know God will help you climb
- Psalm 122 Have a vision for the gathering
- Psalm 123 Develop and eye of hope
- Psalm 124 Remember all your previous rescues
- Psalm 125 Be at peace due to your position in God
- Today (Psalm 126): Recognize where true joy is found.
Theme: The pilgrim must know where true joy is found. Look back, look around, look forward and know your true joy is found in God.
Joy is a truly Christian experience. The Christian life is a life of burdens. But the Christian life is also a life of joys.
True Joy — Look Back For It (126:1-3)
1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.
When did the Lord restore the fortunes of Zion?
- David — Amalekites / Saul / Philistines / Absalom / Anyone! 2 Samuel 22:7 (ESV)—7 “In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I called. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry came to his ears.
- Babylon — Cyrus
- Once the temple was built they all rejoiced — Ezra 6:16 (ESV)—16 And the people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the returned exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy.
- But no time frame is required, because God often “restores the fortunes” of His people.
What does it mean to have our fortunes restored?
- God brings back that which was lost. He restores them.
- What Adam lost — innocence, relationship, purity.
- God has made it His mission to restore that which was lost.
Look back for true joy — it was like a dream.
Remember what God has done! Remember that victory you received! Remember that rescue you experienced! Remember that forgiveness you enjoyed!
2 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.” 3 The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad.
Look back for true joy — it was the best.
We often look elsewhere for joy.
- Entertainment — the purchase of someone else’s imagination in an attempt to find joy.
- Experiences, successes.
- People — relationships, sex.
But when God is working in our lives it is the best of all joys.
So look back correctly.
- We tend to forget the joys of God.
- We tend to forget the pains of sin.
Look back for true joy — everyone noticed.
Their joy became a testimony to the nations.
- When Nebuchadnezzar saw Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah had survived the fiery furnace.
- When Darius saw Daniel had survived the lion’s den.
- When the favor of Cyrus (Ezra), Ahaseurus (Esther), and Artexerxes (Nehemiah) was released upon them — the nations knew God was with them!
Their joy became their testimony. This joy is a powerful witness, an infectious attitude.
True Joy — Look Around For It (126:4)
4 Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negeb!
So far they have celebrated God’s restorative work, but now they ask for His restorative work.
The Negev desert is very dry, but the dry stream beds can fill up quickly during the rainy season. Sudden, quick, overflowing — a true change!
James speaks of it this way: James 5:7 — Be patient until the coming of the Lord.
- Example 1: Farmers wait for fruit through the early and late rains (James 5:7).
- Example 2: The prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord (James 5:10).
- Example 3: The steadfastness of Job, and the purpose of God (James 5:11).
True joy is found in the desert. This is the song of a suffering person. A common tactic is to attempt to remove all that hurts.
- But this leads to an unchristian life — No faith (risks) / No relationships / No sacrifice / No fellowship with Christ
- Greater glory is coming: 2 Corinthians 4:17 (ESV) — 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.
Expectantly pray for God to bring streams to your desert!
True Joy — Look Forward For It (126:5-6)
5 Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! 6 He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
Fruit from trials, yes (Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 1:5-7).
- Romans 8:28 (ESV)—28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
- “We know” because we see the cross and resurrection.
But this seems to go even deeper — the tears are required for the fruit! This is an important promise for the pilgrim life, because pilgrims sow in tears and weeping.
Areas we sow and reap: Prayers / Fidelity / Discipleship / Taking God’s way — parenting, marriage, ministry / Loneliness / Childlessness / Financially
Galatians 6:9 (ESV)—9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
The pilgrim is confident the shouts of joy are coming!