Main point summary
The LORD has powerfully performed tremendous things for us who are bound to him by promise. Therefore, we call upon him to complete his restorative work.
Do you often remember the time when God delivered you from the dominion of sin? When the LORD restored your soul at salvation, how did that season seem? Cast your mind back, you who are bound to God by his unbreakable promise. Were we not all held captive under the law of sin and death? But we have been set free by the Spirit, who applied the finished work of Jesus Christ to our souls? And did it seem beyond belief at first? And as a matter of course, our praise was directed to God. Why did the LORD choose us to be recipients of his redeeming love? Dumbfoundedly we laughed and triumphantly we shouted in praise. Has the LORD done great things for you? Have you experienced this? Or have you only heard of the LORD doing great things in others? There remains a full restoration for which we plea. Remembrance of God's work in us provokes a longing to experience it once again. Do you long for a future restoration, the redemption of our bodies and a heavenly possession (even God himself)? And on what basis can we make this plea? On the basis of the work God has already performed for us, and on the basis of a future reality: "[we]… shall reap" and "[we]… shall come home" (Verses 5 & 6). Our labors here are not in vain, since promised rest is before us. The fruits of labors shall follow us to that blessed place of rest (Revelation 14:13). Our present sorrows and tearful groaning in our daily striving serve as an indicator of a future consolation that is to be expected. Can you see through the tears?
When the Lord restored the fortunes
we were like those
Then our mouth was filled
and our tongue [was filled]
then they said
among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things
The Lord has done great things
we are glad.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
in the Negeb!
Those ... shall reap
He ... shall come home
who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed
bringing his sheaves
When the Lord s restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who t dream.
Then our u mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
v “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord , like streams in the Negeb!
w 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.
I. Restoration Remembered ( Verses 1-3 ) A. "we were like those who dream" (verse 1) Minds are cast back to the when the LORD acted. Though it seemed like a dream, it was an event rooted in reality. And only the fortunes of those who were bound to God by promise were restored. Humanity had entered into corporate bankruptcy and by nature all stood as debtors before God. All were held captive under the law, awaiting the wages of sin. But what was our case? Through Christ, God has restored the fortunes of the children of promise. The riches of his grace has reached us and we have been redeemed from captivity. We look to ourselves and we see no reason why God favored us. Now set free by the Spirit from the law of sin and death, who can believe such a deliverance? Is it beyond belief? B. "Then our mouth was filled" (verse 2) As a matter of course, praise is directed to God. It is the fitting response wrought by God in us. Uncontainable laughter is poured out before God. Why did he choose us to be recipients of his redeeming love? Dumbfoundedly we laugh and triumphantly we shout as inexpressible joy takes hold of us. Have you ever felt such joy? C. "then they said" (verse 2) The LORD's restorative power becomes not only the talk of the town, but it reaches far abroad. Peoples see those who were once imprisoned by sin now roaming as freemen. Not only roaming, but now praising God. And, looking on, they too must acknowledge and confess the wonders of God's restoration, that such power worked for the benefit of God's people. D. "The LORD has done great things" (verse 3) What was acknowledged by the nations is echoed by the LORD's people. The former speaks by way of received report, the latter speaks by way of experience. What category to you fit into? (1) Those who have experienced deliverance worked by God, or (2) those who have heard of and acknowledge deliverance worked by God in others. II. Restoration Requested (Verses 4) A. "Restore our fortunes, O LORD" (verse 4) Here is a plea on the basis of God's favor previously shown. It is a desire for full restoration. Remembrance of God's workings provokes a longing to experience it once again. It is a corporate request, yet it still remains personal. Today, believer, do we long for a future restoration also? Surely we groan inwardly for the redemption of our bodies and the heavenly possession that await us, even God himself. B. "like streams" (verse 4) An appeal is made to the LORD in making a comparison, arguing from the lesser comparison to the greater request. The LORD is able and has made dry, barren places into places of plenteous water. What is attempted with difficulty and found to be beyond mankind, the LORD is able to achieve with ease in an instant. At that last restoration, in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, the dead will be raised to imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:52). The LORD will perform this with ease. III. Restoration Reserved (Verse 5-6) A. "Those... shall reap" (verse 5) The promise of restoration is found here, giving fuel for the preceding request. Restoration will be experienced again, for those who sow. Those who sow in tears. The restoration is reserved for tearful laborers for God. A groaning for the promised full restoration, with all ties to captivity severed and all labors past, the time of reaping. Are present tears and sorrows a concession you are willing to make, in order to obtain everlasting glory? By God's grace working in us, these will seem like a light concession for us to make (2 Corinthians 4:17). B. "He.. shall come home" (verse 6) Everlasting glory is what ultimately awaits the believer bound to God by promise. Heaven is the home that lies before us, and the fruits of our labors shall follow us to that blessed place of rest (Revelation 14:13).