Restore Our Fortunes, O Lord
A Song of Ascents.
126 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
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 LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad.
Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like streams in the Negeb!
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.
Psalm 126 Commentary
by Hank Workman
God has the ability to restore all things. From the wreckage of our lives to the exile and captivity we have been held in – our God has the strength and might to do the impossible. Simply consider a forest that has burned down. The black charred stumps show death. But amazingly, in time, these forests begin to see growth. Things from deep down push their way up and growth is seen. It’s a word picture that speaks to the absolute ability God has in bringing new growth from death.
For each of us when we find ourselves standing in some horrific situation, there is something God does in the midst for those who trust. He stirs the embers of their hearts toward hope. In time this hope begins to dream of all God can and will do. Even though the Israelites were led to captivity by their own disobedience, He held before them a promise they would return to their homeland in time. It seemed too good to be true.
Just like them, we too find ourselves in situations of life where either circumstance or our own disobedience has led us. There is a fact to cling to. God will restore. He will instill in us dreams that seem beyond comprehension. That’s what makes the opening of this psalm so beautiful. With beauty, the writer describes a sense of joy and grateful astonishment at the power and goodness of God who brings His people back from captivity. It all seemed like a dream but they were living it!
We all know of God’s restoration but truly when we are in the moment of it happening it is nothing more than shock and awe at our great God. Undeniable joy is birthed at the goodness and faithfulness of our great God. The Lord has done and will do great things!
No matter where we may be standing today, now God has greater plans for restoration even if the facts don’t dictate such a thing. He will do great things. He will restore joy. He will bring laughter. We will be astonished at the greatness and goodness of our God. Hang onto that!
Psalm 126 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Dr. J. Vernon McGee writes…
“The Psalms are full of Christ. There is a more complete picture of Him in the Psalms than in the Gospels. The Gospels tell us that He went to the mountain to pray, but the Psalms give us His prayer. The Gospels tell us that He was crucified, but the Psalms tell us what went on in His own heart during the Crucifixion. The Gospels tell us He went back to heaven, but the Psalms begin where the Gospels leave off and show us Christ seated in heaven.”Dr. J. Vernon McGee
In Psalm 126, we read a song of ascents. Though other chapters of Scripture document remnant Israel returning from Babylonian captivity, the Psalms give us the song that they sang to God. In it, we find a profound sense of gratitude. It was like a dream come true.
Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy. 6 Though one goes along weeping, carrying the bag of seed, he will surely come back with shouts of joy, carrying his sheaves.Psalms 126:5-6 HCSB
A major theme is finding joy within our sorrow. This is a constant theme through the Bible. In fact, it’s a major theme of the crucifixion/resurrection.
With His eyes fixed on obedience to the Father, Jesus’ greatest joy was also His greatest suffering. The Bible doesn’t compartmentalize evil and suffering from the hidden and mysterious treasure of true and lasting joy. Like a painting smeared only by black and white paint, suffering and joy acutely contrast each other while still appearing on the same canvas. Jesus Himself validated these thoughts.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy. 21 “Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world.John 16:20-21 NASB
At the core of the Gospel – that we profess to believe in and follow – is an underlying theme that the predictably heart-wrenching hour of darkness is followed by an exclusive, personal, tidal wave of joy! The joy referenced here by Jesus is not experienced by everyone. The emotion that’s felt here – using His analogy – is for those who have been through the hour of testing and have persevered to the end only to be shocked by the strength and potency of God’s unspeakable joy.
Like the Israelites who returned to Jerusalem after captivity, we must fix our eyes on Him and anticipate His promise to turn our suffering into joy.