Hebrew Highlights 24 - Captives
Shalom, this is Yuval Shomron, coming to you from Jerusalem.
PSA 126:1-6 (A Song of Ascents.) When the Lord brought back the captive ones of Zion, We were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, And our tongue with joyful shouting; Then they said among the nations, "The Lord has done great things for them." The Lord has done great things for us; We are glad. Restore our captivity, O Lord, As the streams in the South. Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
OK, I admit it. Today’s Hebrew Highlights is going to be an advertisement. Not for me, nor for the Voice from Jerusalem, but for Israel.
First of all, what is a “shir ma’a lot”, or “song of ascents”? It is generally understood as being a psalm sung when going in procession up the steps to the temple. This particular psalm is appropriate in another sense. In Hebrew, “ma’a lot” means goings-up. Wherever you are in Israel, you must go up to Jerusalem. And immigrating to Israel is called making “Aliyah” or making an ascent.
For almost 2000 years, God’s returning the captive ones of Zion was literally only a dream. Even today, as each person, from the former Soviet Union, or Ethiopia, or India, or even the Bronx steps off the plane, a stare of wonder fills their countenance. Are we really here? Can this be happening?
Then, as their passports are stamped and they emerge with their suitcases into the warm sun outside the terminal, “their mouths are filled with laughter”.
As they make their way to Jerusalem and pass kibbutz farms with fields flowing with grain, orchards bowing with fruit, and greenhouses, glowing with brightly colored flowers, and then wind their way through hills covered with trees, hills which were completely barren only 80 years ago, they can truly understand that "The Lord has done great things for them."
The psalm reverts momentarily from prophetic past tense to the present, offering a prayer: “Restore our captivity, O Lord, As the streams in the South.” Even now, as we rejoice greatly, over what God has begun, we continue to pray for those still in captivity.
Then comes the sobering statements: Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
This land has been bought with blood, sweat, and many many tears. Yet, the shouts of joy overwhelmingly drown out the sobs.
All of God’s miracles concerning this land are part of the signs of Yeshua’s soon return, and are the reasons Israeli’s stay here.
Soon your mouth will be filled with laughter, your tongue with joyful shouting, and you will be glad.
As soon as you visit Israel.
Shalom, Shalom from Jerusalem.