Advent 2017 – Up Close and Personal – Friday, Dec 15th

Psalm 126:1 (RSV) When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. 2 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.” 3 The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad. 4 Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb! 5 May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy! 6 He that goes forth weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

The Psalm for the third week in Advent is a familiar one. At least the last two verses are. Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy. And then it is re-iterated by the psalmist that those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, will come home joyful and fruitful. This is another great picture of what waiting looks like. It is particularly for those whose current circumstances are full of tears and heartache.

See how the psalmist in verses 1 and 2 praises God and recounts what it was like when the Lord brought about good times for the people. That previous time was so powerful that other people took notice and recognized the power of God and his love for the nation of Israel. The psalmist then makes the request…do it again LORD! We keep sowing LORD but there are tears in our eyes. We have the seeds and are fast at work with weeping in our midst. This is the picture of a people who refuse to give up. Few groups had more reason to give up than the Israelites who faced constant attacks from enemies both from within and outside. And many times these enemies won and inflicted great hardship up to and including death and exile. And yet, the psalmist says they never stopped sowing. Notice the request for blessing for the nation in verse 5 and the individuals in verse 6. Both the large and small units of society will be remembered. The whole and the sum of the parts will be given success as longs as they never stop moving forward into God’s will.

You know one person, or many persons, who are refusing to give up even though their circumstances would seem to say “give up!” Now is the time, during this season, to remind them that they are not alone and that the LORD will remain faithful. Encourage them to keep planting their seeds and moving forward. Remind them that the LORD has promised that their tears will be replaced with joy and their empty cupboard will be filled to overflowing. So write that note, make that call, send the text or email. That they are hanging on is a sign of God’s grace at work and we all need to run, like the Shepherds to Bethlehem, to the place where God’s grace resides and see how he wants to use us to bring Good News to them about the Savior who is up close and personal.