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Psalm 126

Are We Dreaming?


Everything was lost. All had been taken away. If Israel was once the pride of the nations, it now lay in ruins. The northern kingdom was gone, and the southern kingdom was conquered, and was led away. The Babylonians took them far away from the land, the land flowing with milk and honey. The beauty of their home was no more, and the land was a distant memory. It will be two generations born and raised in a foreign land, and only those who remember the land of their ancestors will have the capacity to keep the memory alive with hope, and promise of home.


Despite the limited and imperfect memory of the Israelites the Lord never forgets the Lord's promises to the people. After six decades of grief, loss, and captivity God brought them back to the land of their forefathers. The long, long night of hopelessness has now turned to hope. It is as the prophet, Isaiah says:

Comfort, comfort my people! says your God. Speak compassionately to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her compulsory service has ended, that her penalty has been paid, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins!

As one of the Songs of Ascent, Psalm 126 continues the step by step movement of God's people as they make their way up to Jerusalem. Along the journey they sing of their return from exile, even if that meant that other nations would be used to make this happen. The return from exile was a cause of great joy. The Israelites could hardly believe it. Were they dreaming, or was this the real thing?


Psalm 126 begins in a celebration of past deliverance for God's people. "Restored fortunes" celebrates the return of the land. The land has gone through great hardship over the past sixty years, but it is God's land for God's people. Yet, something further is at work here. Not only had the people been given their freedom, and their homeland again, there is now a reversal of fortunes regarding their sin. God's judgment has been lifted.


The reversal must have felt like a new exodus, where God's power has once again parted a sea of hostility and oppression. This is how the prophets read it (See Isaiah 40-55).The return meant that God was still their God. Yahweh had not abandoned them. Neither had the Lord held their sins against them. As far as the east is from the west, their sins have been removed from them. This is done in anticipation of the Messiah's coming. (See Romans 3:25-26).


Often times we need a reversal of fortunes. We need a new start. The Lord Jesus gives us a way into that new way. The shame of pas