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We Want To See The Completion Of The Ideal
"Where else can we go but to Him Who has done such great things for us? Who can turn again our captivity but He Who has turned it before?" - Charles Spurgeon
"God's appearances for His people are to be looked upon as great things."
"Those that were laughed at now laugh and a new song is put into their mouths."
- both quotes are from Matthew Henry
"The Lord Himself has blessed us, blessed us greatly, blessed us individually, blessed us assuredly; and because of this we sing unto His name."
"None are so happy as those who are newly turned and returned from captivity: none can more promptly and satisfactorily give a reason for the gladness that is in them."
- both quotes are from Charles Spurgeon
In Psalm 126:1-4, David said - "When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them. The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south."
Here we have a Psalm dealing with the miraculous return of the Israelites from Babylon unto their own land. The Persian king Cyrus published a decree - giving them the liberty to return to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and their temple. They are called "Zion" because of the city of David built on Mount Zion in Judea and adjoining to Jerusalem. Their release from captivity is called "the turning again of their captivity." Even though Cyrus issued the decree, it was the LORD Himself Who orchestrated the events - "When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion..."
What was the Israelites' reaction when they heard the "good news"?
They were electrified...ecstatic...surprised...astonished...and amazed. The news was so marvelous that they could scarcely believe it was so. They wondered if it was an illusion. It seemed too good to be true - "...we were like them that dream."
The people who hung their harps on the willows were now able to resume their harps and sing and laugh again - "...Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing..." They were so happy and full of joy that they could hardly contain themselves. This unexpected, singular, and amazing mercy caused such irrepressible mirth that all they could do was laugh and laugh and laugh in order to find expression for it. Before they were mourning, but now they were giving glory to God in song. Their freedom from captivity came in such an extraordinary way that even the heathen around them took notice - "...then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them..." However, the heathen weren't the only ones who recognized the hand of God at work. The Israelites themselves acknowledged that it was God alone Who had given them this enlargement - "...The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad..."
At this time, in this particular Psalm, the Psalmist does something very peculiar. He takes a turn from the ecstasy of the moment and flows right into an unexpected prayer - "...Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south."
What caused such a twist in his train of thought? What made him mention again the "captivity"? Didn't the Lord "turn again their captivity"? Was he insinuating that the Lord's work was not complete? Then why was he asking Him to do it again?
David was not implying that God's work was not complete. He just knew that there were still some brethren that had not yet returned home from Babylon. Hence, he prayed that God's mercies toward His people would not be lacking in any way - but rather be fulfilled to all.
How then does this portion of Scripture apply to you and me?
When God saved us through the sacrificial death of Jesus on the Cross, He actually "turned again our captivity." He translated us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son. When we got saved, we were "like them that dream." Our freedom from sin and Satan all seemed like a dream. The Good News of the Gospel almost seemed too good to be true. Our heathen friends and family members had to admit that - "...The LORD hath done great things for them..." And we certainly had to testify that - "...The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad..."
Nonetheless, just as the Israelites who came out of captivity realized that there was a considerable part or portion of their people who still remained in bondage, even so did we come to realize that there are still some areas of our lives that have not been completely restored to us or brought out of slavery. We still find ourselves groaning under burdens and still discover mercies yet wanting. It may be in the areas of our health, families, marriages, finances, relationships, souls(mind,will, and emotions), etc. where we still sense - "captivity."
What God would have us pray is a prayer for the perfection of our deliverance - the completion of the ideal -
"...Turn again our captivity, O LORD..."
David added to this prayer - "...as the streams in the south." What did he mean by that?
The southern parts of Palestine were parched and dry due to the summer heat. However, after the heavy autumnal and winter rains, the dry waterbeds would become torrential streams that made the wilderness blossom. He was praying that the Lord would intervene in miraculous ways and provide the means to rebuild and restore what was still lacking in their lives.
In other words - "...Restore our fortunes, O LORD..."
Perhaps this is where you find yourself today. Yes, salvation has been a glorious experience for you. However, you have yet to realize the perfection of your deliverance. There are still heavy burdens and weights that attempt to hold you down or back from all that God has for you.
Don't be satisfied with the portion that you are enjoying. Don't settle for the "small" when you can have the "great." Go after it all!
Cry out to the Lord today to - "Turn again my captivity" - and don't let up until you see the completion of the ideal.
May God Bless His Word.