Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Jesus Christ leads to New VisionPsalms 126
Vs. 3: “The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.”
This Psalm is the seventh of the Song of Ascents beginning from Psalm 120 which goes till Psalm 134. It begins with the verse 'When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion'which may be referred to the return of exiles from Babylon to Jerusalem. But in a much broader sense we could even consider it to any restoration and speaking to us always.
1. Restoration from captivity to freedom: We can see a continuation of captivity and freedom constantly happening in the lives of Israelites. Every time they falter from the commandments of the Lord, they end up in much deeper problems similar to what we experience in our daily lives. Yet haven't we experienced the unwavering grace of God that has restored us from our places of troubles (captivity) to complete peace and joy (freedom).
God has been constantly forgiving us for our disobedience and giving us many chances to now lead a righteous life. Yet, once we are out of troubles, we go back to our old self - being arrogant and proud of our achievements and degrading others. I have heard some church goers say, 'I prayed and our problems were solved or the other family got the answers for their problems'. Whom are we trying to glorify as we make this statement - Were the problems solved because God was compassionate to shower His grace or because we were so righteous that God could not turn a deaf ear to our prayer.
We seldom realize the arrogance in such statements which we feel are words uttered by a believer. Arrogance and pride are also states of captivity where we count ourselves higher than others. When God frees us from the troubles of the world, He wants us to free ourselves from the captivity of our soul. Instead of being arrogant and again falling to the zone of exile, God wants us to experience complete freedom.
2. Being filled with joy: We all desire to be happy and we are seeking it from many sources. We seek external validation for experiencing happiness. But God does not promise happiness to those who live in obedience to Him. He promises joy which we all are supposed to desire and strive for. It's an internal state of being, unlike happiness which we experience due to some external source of gratification. For eg: When someone praises us, we feel happy. When someone compliments our work or our appearance, it makes us happy.
Joy, on the contrary, is a state of being which is experienced even when we do not get any external compliments. In a state of joy, sorrow or pain cannot affect us for long. We have conviction in ourselves and our choices that we no more seek external validation. Unless we deliberately take steps to obey God's Will and persevere in it, we can never reach the state of joy that God has promised for us. In this state of joy, we won't be toiling day and night to keep on meeting our needs, but we learn to say - this is enough! Easier said than done, but it truly takes us to a state of joy where our priorities change, and we focus on Godly blessings of joy and peace which we can experience even in times of troubles.
3. From tears to songs of joy: The verses 4-6 is a request from the people asking Lord to restore them back as He had done earlier. How long do we continue seeking God's grace to restore us again and again? It is time to take the responsibility to constantly seek God's guidance each day and each moment of our lives where we no more have to shed tears but only sing songs of joy.
Abba Father, you have been patient and kind with us restoring us back to freedom every time we have faltered from your ways. Help us this time to only seek Thy Will in everything we do - in our daily conducts, our thoughts, our intentions and our words. Help us experience the blessing of joy and peace. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Rev. Johnson P. Abraham
The Mar Thoma Church, Staten Island
The Mar Thoma Church, Staten Island