“The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy”
Psalm 126 is a “song of ascent”. That is to say, it was a songs sung by the ancient Israelites as they ascended in pilgrimage to Jerusalem for annual festivals. They sang such psalms as they approached the holy city, remembering God’s care for them in the past and holding in their hands the bounty of their fields. They came to offer the best of their fields to the Lord and to celebrate together.
This was a time for joy, but also a time of prayer; a time to give thanks, but also a time to live in reality. Life for them, as for us, if often much more burdensome and sorrowful than we imagined it would be. And so they sang, “Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negev.”
The Negev was a barren and dry land south of Jerusalem. It was a land of many wells, for water was hard to come by. You had to labor and toil for water and, therefore, for survival – just like the Israelites had to labor and toil for the harvest. But once in a while in the winter it would rain in the Negev. And when it did the streams of that land would flow in abundance. So, the Negev became a symbol for God’s blessings coming to those in need – he would quickly and wonderfully give abundant life to the weary and burdened. Here is the hope of the Israelites and the world: the God who will “restore our fortunes..like streams in the Negev.”
Yours, Pastor Brooks