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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 126

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-6

  1. Intro: Dreams to Sheaves
    1. Background of Psalm 126:
      1. Pilgrimage to Jerusalem, at feast times, included the singing of Psalm 120-134, the songs of Ascent, the songs of going up. Here, the reminder of when they were slaves to now being Free [Psalm 126, is the 7th of 15 songs of Ascents]
    1. ​​​​​​​It begins with a scene of nearly delirious joy, seen from Israel’s past when people released from their Assyrian or Babylonian captivity & their return to Zion.
    2. (1b) We were like those who dream (pinch me). Or NIV We were like men restored to health.
    3. What captivity has God freed you from? Or, What captivity do you need Him to free you from?
    1. ​​​​​​​Lk.6:21b Blessed are you who weep now, For you shall laugh.
    2. The lord has done great things is the theme of many people who have experienced God’s grace.
      1. Samuel preached about it(1Sam.12:24). David thanked the Lord for it (2 Sam.7:21,23). Mary sang about it (Lk.1:49). The healed demoniac told everybody about it (Lk.8:39)
    3. What are the effects of God’s intervention in your life? What has God done for you? Has He ever answered a prayer? Ever see Him work in a situation that was indisputably Him?
    4. (Spurgeon) Some Christians are sadly prone to look on the dark side of everything, and to dwell more upon what they have gone through than upon what God has done for them. Ask for their impression of the Christian life, and they will describe their continual conflicts, their deep afflictions, their sad adversities, and the sinfulness of their hearts, yet with scarcely any allusion to the mercy and help which God has vouchsafed them. But a Christian whose soul is in a healthy state, will come forward joyously, and say, “I will speak, not about myself, but to the honor of my God. (Spurgeon, Morning & Evening, Ps.126, June 9.)
      1. The deeper our troubles, the louder our thanks to God, who has led us through all, and preserved us until now. He hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.
    1. ​​​​​​​The 2nd half of this Psalm jumps to the age in which the songs written, the time of difficult, unrewarding labor and even weeping. This stanza describes these hard times.
      1. ​​​​​​​Let’s remind ourselves we follow The One who was stretched out onto a Roman cross, & invited His disciples to do the same thing. Then told them if they wanted to save their life they would have to lose them, & most did. He calls us to pick ours up & do the same. [He didn’t promise a Rose garden, right?]
    2. (4a) Bring back the rest who haven’t returned yet. Complete the work You started God.
    3. (4b) South/Negev - picture Israel like a mini California. [green/North, dessert in South, valley/middle, on West coast Pacific/Med]
      1. Streams - no rain during dry season in South. Then torrents come flooding in during rain season.
      2. Then the Wadi’s those deeply cut seasonal stream beds become dangerous flood areas. [over the years traveling to this area along the Dead Sea they’ve had to change where the road goes because its been washed out from this very occurrence]
    4. Your difficult labor & tears, particularly your tears, are noticed by God himself.
      1. ​​​​​​​Ps.68:9 You, O God, sent a plentiful rain, Whereby You confirmed Your inheritance, When it was weary.
    5. Dry seasons: Most often we don’t feel devotions...but, you’re not necessarily supposed to?
      1. ​​​​​​​It’s not about feeling your devotions or prayer, etc.
      2. eg. When a horse is getting shod (shoed). The blacksmith pounds & drives nails into its hoof w/his hammer. The horse doesn’t feel a thing, as its hoof is similar to our toe nail, except larger/thicker. But now that the shoes are on & the horse is on the road, if he hits rough terrain, broken glass, rocks, bumps or boulders, he won’t feel there effect. That’s what our devotions & prayers do…
        1. They strengthen, protect, & give us spiritual stability (sure footedness). Ps.18:36 You enlarged my path under me, So my feet did not slip.
        2. Eph.6:14,15 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.
    1. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Gal.6:7 NLT Don’t be misled - you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. [either a bumper crop or a bummer crop]
    2. (5) As in husbandry the sower may cast his seed in a dry & parched soil w/desponding fears, so those shall reap abundant fruit who toil in tears with the prayer of faith.
    3. It’s death to the seed before it can give life.
      1. Jn.12:24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels - a plentiful harvest of new lives.
      2. One rice plant with its off-shoots, grown from one kernel of rice, has a yield of 1000-3000 kernels of rice.
      3. Some seeds only open w/extreme heat/fire (pine species, pop’s its seed & shoots it out 20-30’ when it hits the right temperature)
    4. Farming is full of heartbreak, and all its joys are hard-won & long-awaited.
      1. But the Owner of our garden promises us a sure harvest.
      2. God one day will overrule evil for good, suffering w/blessing.
    5. Today, maybe all that you have left is 1 naked kernel of faith. A small grain, but grain nonetheless. A grain Satan can’t touch, oh he can touch the chaff that he asks for…but not the Grain. The grain belongs to the Lord & He will bring it into His granaries.
      1. Cashew Story - When we were down in the most southern part of India at GAF’s Seminary KP’s son Danny was giving Greg & I a tour of the property. As we were walking he happened to point out a huge Cashew Tree. And started to explain the process of getting a Cashew (Intriguing, so I researched a little bit)
      2. When the nut is Picked it must be 1st Cracked Opened properly (If it’s not, the toxic resin will get on the cashew nut, making it inedible).
      3. It then is Roasted which removes the 1st shell. The Black Oil is removed (the toxic resin also found in poison oak/ivy).
      4. It is Roasted again thus removing the 2nd shell. Finally the Nut is Free.
        1. What a perfect picture of our Salvation & Sanctification: We’re Picked (chosen by God). Cracked Open (our hearts scored open before God with a surgeons care). Roasted (through trials of life). The Black Oil is drained from our life (aka sin) & then we’re Re-Roasted (in life’s toughest trials). Then finally, the Nut is Free.
        2. In the process you become a smaller man/women now that that old husk if off you. In the process you become broken & bare before Him.
    6. (6) This promise repeated implies there is no end of weeping here, as there shall be no end of joy hereafter. So, find comfort in the principle/promise of sowing & reaping.
      1. Is 35:10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
    7. We are all today sowing tears: Maybe over an Absalom son or a prodigal daughter. Maybe tears over our failures & mistakes, or weeping over disappointed hopes.
      1. But each tear is a seed-germ dropped into God’s keeping. He carefully collects our tears for His bottle. He does not forget. He stands a vigil guarding our buried seed...a guarantor of its harvest.
      2. Saints, if you’ve had a habitually hard life...full of tears & heartache...listen carefully...you shall doubtless come again with rejoicing.
    8. Bringing in the Sheaves, the famous Hymn by Knowles Shaw got its inspiration from vs.6.
      1. Sheaves are a bundle of grain, stalks laid lengthwise & tied together after reaping.
    9. Eugene Peterson summarized Psalm 126. The song does not give us… Joy as a package or as a formula, but their are some things it does do. It shows up the tinniness of this worlds joy and affirms the solidity of God’s joy. It reminds us of the accelerating costs and diminishing returns of those who pursue pleasure as a path toward joy... It repeats the promises of a God who accompanies his wandering, weeping children until they arrive home, exuberant, “bringing in the sheaves”.
      1. ​​​​​​​Whatever is happening in your life can you say, we are glad, I am glad. Can you remember one day we’ll come into His presence...Bringing in our sheaves.
    10. Wait, maybe He did promise us a lush Rose Garden...just some thorns along the way :)
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Psalms 126". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/psalms-126.html. 2017.
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