Psalm 126. It is believed that Psalm 126 was written when the Israelites returned from Babylonian captivity. Some biblical scholars even speculate that Ezra could have written the Psalm. You will notice that the heading of the Psalm is ‘A Song of Ascent’. It is one of fifteen ‘Songs of Ascent’ (Psalm 120-134). It is believed that these Psalms were sung by the people as they ascended toward Jerusalem for one of the celebrations commanded in Deuteronomy 16:16.
While interesting, does this have any relevance to us today? I think it does, in that the people of God came to corporately worship Him and they did so with singing. We too are exhorted in Colossians 3:18 to ‘sing Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God’. The people of Israel as they approached Jerusalem would have been singing these ‘Songs of Ascent’ together. Joyfully celebrating that they were coming together to remember what God had done for them. So too, we should come joyfully each week to corporate worship and sing praises to God for what He has done for us.
This Psalm also is a reminder that God will bring His people home. He had made that promise to Israel and He did bring them back to Jerusalem. So they could say ‘The Lord has done great things for us’ (verse 3). He makes the promise to us too, that He will bring us home to Him. We will one day gather around the throne of God and will sing out that the Lord has done great things for us too.
Our tears will be turned to shouts of joy (verse 5). Our weeping will reap a harvest of unexpected joy. Our temporary struggles, illness, suffering and pain will be replaced with the joy of being with God forever. Surely that should cause us to want to burst into song to sing about God’s faithfulness.