Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sudden, Overwhelming, Joyful Harvest

When the Lord brought back the captivity of Zion,
We were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
And our tongue with singing.
Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us,
And we are glad.
(Psalm 126:1-3)
Sometimes we sow and know when we can expect to reap; it is a matter of waiting. Other times we sow and have no idea when the season of harvest will come; it is a matter of watching. In this psalm, the writer describes a harvest that came so suddenly and was so overwhelming that they thought it was all a dream. It was a wonder that filled them with laughter and uncontainable shouts of joy. The Hebrew word for “singing,”“rejoicing” and “joy” in this psalm refers literally to creaking; imagine continual squeals of delight.

So great was this harvest or returning souls, the pagan nations (who had no covenant with God) could not help but notice, declaring, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The psalm writer reiterates, almost as if with fresh wonder, “The LORD has done great things for us, and we are glad.”

Now, one would not necessarily have thought of this amazing event in terms of sowing and reaping, except for what the psalm writer says next:
Bring back our captivity, O Lord,
As the streams in the South.
Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.
(Psalm 126:4-6)
“Sow in tears, reap in joy.” That’s how the psalm writer describes it. No doubt, many tears were shed by him and his countrymen, who probably had been exiled from their homeland all their lives. They wept and they wailed, but then the “suddenly” of God came upon them quite unexpectedly, returning them to the land of promise.

There were, however, others of their own who were still in captivity, and there was yet more sowing to do, more tears to weep. But there was also the certainty that when they sowed their seed, they would come again with fresh harvest, creaking and shouting for joy.

Sow your good seed and do not quit. Your harvest will come, and it may be sooner than you could ever imagine.

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