Turning back to God
Turn again our captivity Oh God as the streams of the south.
Psalms. 126: 4 (KJV)
Lord’s people were carried away as slaves. Now they are in a foreign land They yearn to come back to their motherland. This psalm is the prayer for the restoration of Lord’s people in exile. A few of the people had the privilege of returning to their land under the leadership of Ezra.
Some Bible scholars hold the view that the journey from Babylon to Israel took 66 days covering eight miles per day. The distance covered was 528 miles. There are 22 short paragraphs of 8 verses each in Psalm 119. The people sang each song for three days. Thus they completed the journey.
Psalm 126 deals with the joy of their returning. Their hearts were overwhelmed with thanksgiving for themselves. At the same time they were much concerned about those who were still living in Babylon. We will analyse this little Psalm and apply this to our present day life.
1. The unbelievable experience of redemption. (verse 1)
The captives were eagerly looking for the day on which they will be allowed to go home. But when it happened they could not believe it. They were in a dazed state. The order of the King allowing them to return was too good to be true. They felt they were dreaming. There was no price or expense to be paid to anyone for this privilege. Only by the grace of God they were allowed to be partakers of this divine plan. This exhilarating experience can be compared to the gift of salvation which is free, too good and unbelievable to be enjoyed.
2. The experience of the Redeemed (verse 2)
They had singing and laughter throughout their journey. Great joy at
the deliverance was experienced by all. Great peace and tranquillity after years of agony were felt by all. Please note that this great joy, peace and comfort accompany the experience of salvation. Praises and thanksgiving are released spontaneously from their hearts.
3. The testimony of the Redeemed (verse 2)
The gentiles said among themselves that God had done great things for them. All the precious things, gold vessels and all things carried away from the temple in Jerusalem were returned to them when they were released. This was an unimaginable development which was surprising to everybody. Indeed God had done great things for them!
When the Israelites looked back, they had so many great things done for them by their mighty God, El Shaddai. Their own eyes witnessed them. Similarly every child of god has so many things to be thankful to Lord. At times he has to take time now and then to ponder these things.
4. The prayer of the Redeemed (verse 4)
They express their burden for souls They pray to Lord to bring them back from captivity as streams of the south. The streams flowing in south ae always overflowing and are never dry. In the same way they are praying for the restoration of their brothers and sisters left behind. They are aware of the fact that all their former glory and blessings were lost because of their negligence and disobedience. Their only desire now is that their former glory and blessings may be restored.
Similarly every child of God who experienced the salvation has that burden and yearning for lost souls. He wants the lost ones to experience the joy and peace which he experiences now.
5. Duty of the Redeemed (verse 5)
The redeemed has to sow in tears. Those who sow in tears will reap in joy. When the farmer carries seeds form sowing he has a great concern for the seeds. He is not at all sure how this will turn out, whether there will be rain or storm or drought, how the seeds will yield fruit etc. So he goes out weeping.
Similarly those children of God who are going out with burden for souls have to do three things.
Bearing seed (word of God) - Burden
Weeping - Moved by the anxiety regarding the lost
state of souls
Sowing - Executing their responsibility
Too many things are uncertain at the time of sowing. Strong winds may carry away the seeds at that time. Unexpected rains at harvest season may destroy the crops. Wild animals may devour the crops. Anything can happen. It is written in Word that one who is concerned about wind (adverse circumstances) won’t be able to sow. (Ecclesiastes.11: 4) In other words they won’t be able to execute their duties. In the morning sow the seed. In the evening water the seed. We know from practical experience that morning times are good for sowing and evening times are good for watering. Sowing and watering are to be done side by side to get good yield. Working and Praying tearfully have to go hand in hand. The sure result is that the one who sowed will come again with great rejoicing and carrying sheaves.
Yes Lord, turn again our captivity O Lord like the streams in the south!!