A Song of Ascents.
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.
I was reading this this morning, and listening to the Sons of Korah version. This is a lament, meant to be sung on the way to the temple during times of famine and hardship to ask God to restore Israel’s fruitfulness.
The final couple of verses are striking, because they talk about sowing seed while weeping, and the promise that an abundant harvest will arise. In other words, during times of hardship, acting in faith, despite the apparent circumstances, is encouraged. Why? Because we know from the past that God is capable of restoration of fortune. He may choose not to, of course, but the same principles apply.
This is a challenge the Israelites failed at repeatedly in the desert, when instead of praying and asking God humbly for the things needed, they grumbled among themselves instead. I know as well there are numerous times in my own life where I’ve grumbled rather than asking God for what was needed. So, the psalmist says, press on in faith.