Psalm 126

Good Days

A Song of Ascents.

1 When YHWH brought back those who returned to Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with singing.
Then they said among the nations,
"YHWH has done great things for them."
3 YHWH has done great things for us,
and we are glad.
4 Restore our fortunes again, YHWH,
like the streams in the Negev.
5 Those who sow in tears will reap in joy.
6 He who goes out weeping, carrying seed for sowing,
will certainly come again with joy, carrying his sheaves.

World English Bible

When was your last, "really good day?" What made that day so memorable?

Some days are better than others. Sometimes we wake up and our bodies creak or our spirit seems low. But, there are days when the sun warms us and our hearts are filled with joy. These are the days when we raise our hearts and hands to God, and say, "Thank you!"

Psalm 126 was one of those "good day" psalms. It praised God for leading the faithful through tough and lean times. Two themes of thanks are interwoven in the psalm: 1) the restoration of the nation (126:1b) and 2) the celebration that looked forward to rain and a bountiful harvest (126:4, 6). Taken together, the psalm might have been written after return of exiles from Babylon and the restoration of the Temple; it could have also been a psalm written for the feast of Tabernacles, a joyous feast in early Autumn that celebrated the harvest. The agricultural analogy in 126:4-6 could not be missed; 126:4 was an implicit prayer for rain (restore the desert with a shower), while 126:5-6 compared the recovery of the mourner (the spirituality of the Babylonian Exile?) with that of the farmer who had a great harvest.

As we grow older, our bad days might outnumber our good days, but we should always remember that good days are ahead. In the spirit of Psalm 126, we should thank God for the good days and look forward to better days. This is the essence of the second theological virtue: hope.

How do you maintain your hope, even in tough times? How do your good days strengthen your hope?