Like Those Who Dream

Today's devotion from Psalms 122-126.

This psalm dates long after David and Solomon. This is a psalm that was written after the Babylonian captivity. The psalmist is thinking back to that time and the joy that must have flooded those returning to Israel. He likens it to having awakened from a dream state. The work of God was so amazing that the people couldn't really believe what was happening. What a wondrous experience!

He wants to experience that kind of move of God for himself. He wants God to do something that amazing again. Even though Israel was not in captivity at this time, they were not in the midst of blessings to rival those of the golden era of Solomon's reign, but he wants to experience that kind of work of God.

How can we relive those great moments of our faith? We must do the hard work of sowing in sorrow. Some interpret this as God's calling the pilgrims to true repentance. Others believe this is a metaphoric use of the myths of Ugarit and Egypt in which the gods of fertility must "die" to give life to enable the harvest.

Regardless of the psalmist's specific use of these words, the idea is the same. In order to harvest one thing, something else must die. The seed is planted to be seen no more. The process will change it. When it is over, the farmer will reap with joy those things that are wonderful and good, but he has lost that seed.

We don't think much of this. It seems silly of us to mourn the "death" of a seed when we realize that, in the end, what we really want is the fruit that gives us nourishment. We might even think this an odd thought. Yet, how much stranger is it to mourn our life before God?  These pilgrims had put forth the hard effort that would be rewarded with worship.

How wasteful is it to grieve over sins that separate us from eternal life with God? It may seem hard or difficult to let some of those things go, but in the end it will be worth it. Today, do the hard work, put in the effort, and, in the end, you will experience a joy that surpasses that felt buy the Israelites being freed from Babylon. You will celebrate having been freed from captivity to sin.