Psa 126:1 A Song of degrees. When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.
Psa 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.
Psa 126:3 The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.
Psa 126:4 Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south.
Psa 126:5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
Psa 126:6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
There is Fifteen Psalms, called songs of degrees, or, ascents. They are indeed Psalms of “the goings-up” for we rise higher and higher as we read through them. Prophetically they give us again the steps from trial and suffering to the glorious conclusion.
"Songs of Degrees," "Songs of Ascents," or "Songs of Steps."
suggest that they are psalms composed for the Jews to chant on their ascent from Babylon to Jerusalem at the return from the Captivity
THE PSALM OF THE SOWING SAINT
Beginning with Psalm 120 and continuing to Psalm 134, these Psalms are called “Songs of Degrees.” They were sung by the pilgrims who were traveling to Jerusalem to keep the various feasts days on the religious calendar of Israel. There were stations along the way where the pilgrims could stop for rest and refreshment. While they were there, they would sing one of these Psalms in worship to the Lord. Psalm 126 is the seventh of these fifteen “Songs of Degrees.” It was a special Psalm to the children of Israel because it reminded them of the Lord’s past works in the life of their nation and of His promise to carry on that work into the future.
It is also a special Psalm to those who are in the church of Jesus Christ. It speaks to us of what the Lord has done for us in saving us and it also reminds us that God has a plan to bless us and use us for His glory into the future.
I. v. 1-3 THERE IS A WORD OF PRAISE
A. v. 1a They Speak Of Their Deliverance – As the Israelites began this hymn of praise, they did so by remembering the great grace of God. They remembered how they had been oppressed and held captive by their enemies, and how God in His great power had delivered them. They praise Him for the day He set them free and brought them back to their homeland.
(Note: It should be our constant practice to remember where we were when the Lord found us, Eph. 2:1-3; and how He delivered us from our lost and hell bound condition by His matchless grace, Eph. 2:8-9. He deserves our praise for setting us free, changing our lives and altering our destinies.)
B. v. 1b-3a They Speak Of Their Delight – They couldn’t hardly believe what had happened to them. They were amazed at the grace, love and power of their God. They felt like people who were living in a dream. It was too good to be true! But, when it finally dawned on them that what they were experiencing was real, they were filled with joy and they lifted their hearts and their voices in praise to the Lord. Even some of the sinners around them recognized the work of God in their lives and gave God the glory. These saints simply agree with the assessment of the heathen, “The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.” So, they are filled with praise because the Lord has worked in their lives in power for His glory. And, they simply cannot hold back their praises, but they exalt the Lord for His grace, His goodness and His blessing in their lives.
(Note: What a lesson for the children of God! We have been delivered from death and Hell by the grace of God. Our names have been written down in glory. We are children of the living God! We have a reason to rejoice. Oh that our hearts were filled with His praise and that we would be vocal and quick to proclaim His goodness, His grace and His salvation. The Bible teaches us praise honors the Lord and we should be involved in praising Him, Psa. 47:1; Psa. 113:1-3; Psa. 135:1-3; Heb. 13:15.)
C. v. 3b They Speak Of Their Decision – As these people think about all they have received from the Lord, they make a decision and say, “Whereof we are glad.” They make a conscious decision to be happy in the Lord Who redeemed them!
(Note: There is much to be distressed about in the world today. Crime, war, politics, disease, death, sin, evil, etc. all combine to cause our hearts to despair. However, if we can learn to keep our hearts focused on the Lord and all that He has done for us, it will go a long way toward giving us joy even in the midst of trials. After all, the Lord has promised His children joy, 1 Pet. 1:8; Gal. 5:22. The bottom line is this: if you allow your happiness to depend on the circumstances around you, there is a good chance you will be sad and defeated. If, however, you make God and His gracious gifts the focus of your joy, then you can rejoice regardless of what is happening around you. Let us make the same decision that Habakkuk made in Habakkuk 3:18, “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”)
II. v. 4 THERE IS A WORD OF PRAYER
A. As these pilgrims ponder their past and as they deliberate their deliverance, they also lift their voices up in prayer to the Lord. They pray that just as the spring rains fill the southern streams with floods of water, that God will also deliver others from their captivity and restore them to their homeland. They have a burden to see others delivered as they have been and they call on the Lord to see they others are set free as well. They want other captives to enjoy the deliverance they have experienced.
B. Again, there is a word here for the church. Those who have been delivered from their sins should carry a burden for those still lost in sin. We need to pray for them and for the Lord to touch their hearts, show them their condition and to point them to Jesus Christ so that they too might be saved.
(Ill. "Tom, you're the sort of Christian I like," said a young lost man to his friend Tom. Now Tom was a church member in good and regular standing. "You're the sort of a Christian I like. You never seem to bother yourself about a fellow's soul." The words were lightly spoken, but they pierced like an arrow. If we had listened at Tom's chamber door that night, we would have heard something like this: "O God, forgive me that I seemed indifferent to the welfare of my friends! Help me to trouble myself more and more about them. Give me a passion for souls!"
May God create a burden within our hearts for the lost that drives us to Him for them and then drives us to them for Him! May we be like John Knox who was so burdened for Scotland that he prayed, “Give me Scotland, or I die!” Or, like George Whitefield who was so burdened for the lost that he cried, “Give me souls or take my soul!” Or, even like Paul the Apostle who wrote, “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:” Romans 9:3.)
III. v. 5-6 THERE IS A WORD OF PROMISE
(Ill. There seems to be a total change in the direction of this Psalm at this point. In fact, these verses continue the thought of the previous verses. When these people returned to their homeland, they found in decimated and totally destroyed. The fields were fallow and there was no harvest and little food to eat. All they had was a few precious seeds that held the promise of a future harvest. Taking these few seeds, they involved themselves in the backbreaking work of sowing the fields. They take those few seeds, and with tears, they sow those seeds into the earth. With faith and patience they wait, and in a few weeks, there is life in the fields! When harvest time comes, those few seeds have been transformed into a great harvest, and the workers return from the fields this time with great rejoicing, carrying their sheaves in their arms.)
(Note: This speaks volumes to the saints of the Lord. After we have been delivered from our sins and saved by God’s grace, we are moved by a burden to see others have what we have been given. We are to take what we have, the Gospel message, the seed, the Word of God and we are to go into a lost world and sow it for the glory of God, trusting Him to take our few seeds and turn them into a mighty harvest for His glory. Let’s take a few minutes to look at these last two verses and what they have to teach us about this matter of sowing the Gospel.)
A. The Task Of The Sower – The sower is to “go forth” and sow that seed. The verb form there is in the present tense. This speaks of a continual, consistent going and sowing. When Jesus gave His men the Great Commission, He said to them “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,” Matt. 28:19a. That word “Go” has the idea of “as you go.” In other words, your testimony is not something you should be able to turn on and off like a light switch, but we are to be constantly going and telling a lost world about Jesus.
When the Bible says, “Bearing precious seeds,” that little phrase has the idea “of leaving a trail of seeds.” The idea here is that everywhere we go; we are to be dropping the Gospel seeds!
B. The Tears Of The Sower – Notice that this farmer goes out to sow and as he sows he is shedding tears, v. 6. Why does he weep? Because he knows that everything depends on the next crop. He has a burden for the harvest and he wants to see the seed multiplied so that his people might live! I have already touched on the need for a burden over the lost, so I will merely point out threesimple reasons why we need a burden for the lost:
1. Biblical Examples – The Bible offers many examples of men with a burden for the lost. Their burden serves as a lesson to our lives.
a. Jesus Had A Burden - John 11:35; Luke 19:41
b. Jeremiah Had A Burden - Jer. 9:1
c Paul Had A Burden - Acts 20:31; Rom. 10:1; Rom. 9:3
2. Past Experience - There was a day when we were lost without God. Just the memory of sin and a life lived apart from the Lord ought to be enough to drive us out into the world to tell others about a God who loves them and died to save them. (Ill. Isa. 51:1)
3. The End Of Man - The Bible clearly indicates that many more will die lost than will be eversaved
Mat 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. The Bible is also clear in that there are only 2 possible destinations for men when they leave this life. One is Heaven and the other is Hell. I submit to you that if we really believed in an eternal hell, where the condemned burn for eternity apart from the presence of God with no hope of relief or release, then we would be more active in spreading the news that Jesus saves sinners!
(Ill. The Salvation Army was holding a convocation. Morale was at all-time low. The organization had hit rock bottom. They did not know what to do. They sent a telegram to their founding father, William Booth, asking for any advice he could give on how they could get back on their feet. William Booth sent back a telegram with two words: "Try tears!" When they did, revival came to the Salvation Army. We can talk about revival, preach about revival, pray for revival, but revival never comes until desperation comes, and the sign of desperation will be the tears of our eyes, and the brokenness of our heart.
Ill. Isaiah said, “For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” Isaiah 66:8. May the Lord give us back our tears over a lost and dying world!) The only way to bear precious seed is that the seed is accompanied with tears.
C. The Triumph Of The Sower – The sower went to the fields, he worked and he sowed, now he returns with rejoicing, bearing in his arms the fruits of his labors. He has a great harvest to show for the investment of his time and his tears.
(Note: The seed is called “precious.” Why? There are several reasons, but the main one is the fact that the seed contains within it life. When it is sown into the ground, and the conditions are just right, that seed will germinate and new life will be the result.
When the tomb of Egyptian Pharaoh King Tutankhamen was discovered, among the many treasures in that tomb were some seeds that were over 3,000 years old. Scientists took some of those seeds, planted them and they germinated and grew up into plants. No wonder the Word of God is compared to a seed. There is power in the blood, but there is also power in the book!)
(Note: If we will go and sow, God will give the increase, 1 Cor. 3:6. you won’t see everyone you witness to saved, but God will save some for His glory and there will be souls in Heaven because you took the time to share!)
I am speaking to a group of people who have been given much. You have been saved by His grace and are headed to His heaven. I would just remind you that “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required,” Luke 12:48. As I close this message, I want to encourage you to do a few things for me.
1. Remember where the Lord found you and what He did for you when He saved you.
2. Seek the Lord for the kind of burden you need for the souls of the lost.
3. Make a decision today, that by the help of the Lord, you will leave this church, go out in the field of this world and sow the Gospel seed.
Will you listen to the voice of the Lord as He speaks to your heart about the needs of a lost world? Will you commit to taking up the precious seed of the Gospel and seeing that it is sown into a world that so desperately needs to hear about Jesus? If the Lord has spoken to your heart about this, or any matter, then you come as He calls.