“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. ” (Psalm 126:5-6 ESV)
“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those in a dream” (Psalm 126:1 ESV). Our psalm celebrates the return of the exiles to their own land. They had gone out as captives, weeping for the land and homes they lost, but carrying seeds of hope for the future, the promise that the Lord would restore them to their land. When the time was right, the Lord brought His people home, and the exiles returned with shouts of joy, bearing a harvest of promises fulfilled.
Centuries after the return of the exiles, another promise of the Lord was fulfilled in the birth of the Messiah, Jesus our Savior. For the sake of our salvation, Jesus was taken captive and condemned to death. He was, as foretold, the Man of sorrows whose path to the cross was sown in tears (see Hebrews 5:7). Jesus suffered and died, taking onto Himself the wrath of God against human sin and rebellion. Yet the Lord Jesus carried the seed of hope, the promise of life and resurrection—His resurrection and the future resurrection of all who trust in Him. On the first Easter morning that promise was fulfilled and the hope of our resurrection confirmed. As Jesus promised, “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:40 ESV).
It is true that now we will, at times, “sow in tears” of illness, loss, and grief. We are, after all, “strangers and exiles on the earth” and we “desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one” (see Hebrews 11:13-16). Yet in our exile, we bear seed for sowing, the seed of the Word, the Good News of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus. Throughout the years of our exile, we work and build and plant, seeking the welfare of our earthly home. We scatter the seed of hope and the promise of life and forgiveness in Jesus’ Name.
The Gospel seed that we sow takes root and grows in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus tells us, “Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together” (John 4:35b-36 ESV). It is a harvest that will be gathered on the Last Day when Jesus returns. All who trust in Jesus will rise to eternal life and live forever in His presence in the “better country” for which we longed during our earthly exile. Until that great day we rejoice with those returning exiles, “The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad” (Psalm 126:3 ESV).
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I sow in tears now, but I will reap a harvest of joy at Your return. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. Have you or your family ever had some sizeable thing restored? What was that experience like?
2. How does God console us in times of sorrow?
3. What do you most look forward to leaving behind when you enter eternal life?