Summary: After seventy years of captivity the Israelites were coming home. What was their reaction? Indescribable joy! Let’s look in on their celebration and rejoice in the deliverances God has granted us.
Seventy years of captivity were over. The Israelites were going home. Many long years of longing for their own homes, their own city, their own land were over. They gather their meager belongings and set out to the promised land. Oh, what joy! Years later pilgrims journeying toward Jerusalem for the holiday feasts would celebrate this moment in song. This psalm is the seventh “Song of Ascent”. I think the feeling would be similar to Martin Luther King’s proclamation, “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, free at last!”
God’s Releases the People from Babylonian Captivity (1-3)
I. The Occasion: A decree for release has been signed by King Cyrus
A. The Reactions:
1. The people feel like they are in a dream.
2. The people begin laughing.
3. The people begin singing.
4. The people begin testifying to the nations.
II. Praying for the Further Release of Captives (4)
A. The Request: Release the remaining people to return home.
B. The Addressee: Jehovah – the personal God of redemption
C. The Illustration: Barren desert lands blooming as water fills the wadis
III. Sowing and Reaping (5-6)
A. The Past: The people went to Babylon with tear stained faces. Now they return with laughter in their mouths.
B. The Present: Much struggle is required. Present needs must be sacrificed to meet future needs. (Reclaiming and rebuilding their homeland was not easy.)
C. The Future: The law of the harvest brings results.
The event celebrated here was a dream come true for the Israelites. It was a change of fortune for which they had long hoped. The worst possible circumstances were reversed. God still redeems His people. Even from trouble of their own making. Do you need to move from a valley of tears to a mountain of joy in your own life? Seek the Lord. He will hear and He will deliver you.