Summary: Covid 19 has so many despondent and hopeless. The discovery of a vaccine has been a source of encouragement, but the journey has been long and hard. Yet, this psalm gives us a hope of a great turnaround.

Psalm 126 is called an ascension Psalm is psalms filled expectation and hope. It was one the song sang as the children of Israel went up to worship at Jerusalem. Some associate this psalm with the time after Israel was released from the Babylonian Captivity. Israel’s history is filled with occasions of great deliverance by the hand of God.

Although we cannot date this psalm, we do know what was happening. The psalmist says, “When the Lord turned again the captivity.” The psalmist clearly understood that what he is believing the Lord for is not a pipe dream. Israel has history with God. The psalmist understands that it was by the Lord's permission Israel were led into captivity, so only by his power they were set free.

When the Israelites had served in Egypt four hundred years, it was not Moses, but Jehovah, that brought them out of the land of Egypt, and out of the house of bondage. In like manner it was Jehovah and not Deborah that freed them from Jabin after they had been vexed twenty years under the Canaanites oppression.

It was God and not Gideon that brought them out of the hands of the Midianites, after seven years' servitude. It was he and not Jephthah that delivered them from the Philistines and Amorites after eighteen years' oppression. Although in all these cases, God used Moses and Deborah, Gideon and Jephthah, as instruments for their deliverance; but it was by the power of God they were delivered.

After seventy years of Babylonian captivity, it was not King Cyrus's valour, but the Lord's power that delivered Israel. It was not government’s policy, but God's wisdom, that, overthrew the Babylonians and gave to Cyrus the victory, and put it into his heart to set his people free.

I want to examine Psalm 126 more closely today, because it provides for us a pattern for action as we come to celebrate his name. The Children of Israel had gone into Babylon with a promise from God. God promised a day of restoration and a day of return. After 70 years of Babylonian captivity, those promises were just about all the people had left of their religious heritage. They were held in slavery, the temple had been destroyed, the city gates had been burned with fire, and they no longer celebrated temple worship. During those 70 years, those who remembered Jerusalem told their children about a land the children had never seen. Jerusalem was no more real to the children of the exile than a fable, or a story of the past. The only thing left to them was God’s promise to redeem his people out of slavery and to restore them to their home and to restore them to His worship. Then all of a sudden, without warning or expectation, King Cyrus gives an unexpected decree. There were over a hundred nations in captivity, but Israel only received a release: You Jews are free to return to your homeland. It’s a Season of Expectation beyond crisis and frustration.

Covid 19 has so many despondent and hopeless. The discovery of a vaccine has been a source of encouragement, but the journey has been long and hard. Yet, this psalm gives us a hope of a great turnaround.

1. God can turn things around again - Psalm 126:1 “When the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion, We were like those who dream.”

Somehow this blessing from God was almost unbelievable. It was like a dream. A bad dream can almost scare you to death, and a good dream causes you to hate to wake up. Some are refusing the vaccine because they it was developed too fast. They seem to forget that Our God can work fast and in unexpected ways. And, that is how the exiles felt when the Gentile King who held them captive decreed that they could return to Israel and to Jerusalem. Yes, it was real, it was so good, so real, that it made them feel that it was a dream – it was almost too real, and too good, to be factually true. And, yet, it was. In this season beyond Covid 19, God can not only turn things around; God can make you laugh again!

2. God can make you laugh again. - Ps 126:2 ”Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them.”

Many lost their joy through isolation and separation. It was amazing to see fully vaccinated persons visit their love ones in long-term care facilities. We should celebrate God’s goodness with joyful praise. Notice the text says, “when the Lord turned our captivity, Then our mouths were filled with laughter and singing. Israel’s joy stemmed from the proclamation, “You are free to go.” There were still many problems ahead of them. They were two thousand miles away from home, their homeland was in shambles, they had limited resources and no standing army for protection. But if God says, you are free, It’s time to celebrate. It’s never too early. I know people say, “Never count your chickens before they hatch.” But it all depend on whose watching the eggs. When God begins to move, our mouths should be filled. When God visited Abraham at age ninety nine, He said, Sarah thy wife shall conceive and bare a son. The Bible says, Sarah laughed in disbelief but less than a year later, she had a bouncing baby boy. This was so amusing to God until the child was named Isaac which means laughter. It’s never too early to celebrate God’s goodness. God’s celebration should contain two elements: laughter and singing. We have COUNTLESS reasons to be thankful to God and to others. The scriptures tell us to give thanks, so whether we do it regularly or not, it's our duty to continually thank God, our friends, and our family.

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