Sowing in Tears, Reaping with Joy

David Bast

Read: Psalm 126

He who goes out weeping . . . shall come home with shouts of joy. (v. 6)

Psalm 126, like the other Psalms of Ascents, is set against the backdrop of Israel’s return from exile. It’s all about an unexpected turn of events, an unimaginable reversal of fortune, an impossible dream actually coming true. For the survivors of the Babylonian captivity, coming back to the city of Jerusalem was a sort of resurrection from the dead.

But what is this about weeping while going out to plant seeds? Why would anyone do that? In a subsistence agricultural society like the psalmist’s, planting season was the hungry time. The grain you had reserved as seed for next year’s crop may well have been the last food in the house. You faced a choice between planting it, and going hungry for a while, or eating it now and starving later. The exile was a hard time, a season of weeping for Israel. But out of that sowing, God brought a harvest of new life for his people.

For many years, Words of Hope broadcast the gospel in Russian to the Soviet Union. Rev. John Sergey faithfully proclaimed God’s Word despite the difficulties. He loved Psalm 126:6; I heard him quote it often. And eventually he had the joy of seeing much fruit spring from the precious seed of the Word that he had sown. So “let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9). —David Bast 

As you pray, ask for stamina to continue to sow good seeds of obedience and witness.