Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Freed from Captivity (Psalm 126)

"Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy" (Ps. 126:5).

Psalm 126 consists of three parts: First, the writer exhorts the redeemed captives to thank God for His deliverance and for His abounding grace in bringing them home. Second, the writer leads Israel in a petition that God would perfect His own work that He had begun among His people. Finally, although the prospect of full and complete restoration remained far off, the writer assures the people that though they may sow their seed in sadness now, the harvest they bring in will one day be filled with joy.

Like the Israelites, whom God freed from the bondage of the Babylonian Empire, all believers have been freed from the bondage of sin and darkness. The church in all ages praises the Lord for this great and mighty work. He has shown His people abounding grace in bringing them home to dwell in His presence for eternity. While they were captives in a foreign land, they sunk beneath the heavy weight of their bondage. But by the grace of God those shackles have been broken. If you are a Christian, you have been brought home to the kingdom of Christ, to dwell in His presence forever, and to dine with Him at that eternal feast in glory.

Just as the Israelites prayed that God would finish His work by gathering together all the captives, the church throughout the ages has prayed that He would gather His elect from all nations, to bring that set number to completion, that the name of Jesus Christ would echo throughout the earth as every knee bows at the consummation of His kingdom. But like the Jews who waited for their brethren to partake of the benefits of God’s deliverance, we continue to wait until all those whom God has appointed come to faith.

In conclusion, all of God’s children also wait patiently until the completion of their restoration. While the tears referred to in this passage could be applied to the sorrow of captivity, Calvin maintains that the writer exhorts the faithful to patience regarding the future. The restoration of the church has not been completed. God has begun His work, but it has not been consummated. Though you are saved, you still battle sin and look forward to the day of resurrection. This is our hope—that though the way is difficult now, one day our tears will turn into dancing, and our fears will turn into joy.

Read Galatians 6:7–10. While you wait until the consummation of Christ’s kingdom, how should you live? What harvest will you reap at the proper time, according to this passage? Does this mean that you have to earn salvation? Why not (refer to Rom. 8)? Examine your life and discover whether you “sow to please the Spirit.”