Friday: Psalms 125 & 126; Nehemiah 8.13-38; Acts 23.12-35

From: Mark Booker

[Note: After a rest for much of Eastertide, we are restarting our Scripture reflections at the pace of 1-2x/week throughout the summer. These reflections are intended to help us 'chew' on Scripture together that we might come to greater life through the Word of God.]

Psalm 126.3 is a call to joy because of the great things that God has done...FOR US. 

We are in the stretch of the church calendar when we most explicitly remember the great things that God has done. We remembered the death of Christ 43 days ago. We celebrated the resurrection 41 days ago. Yesterday was Ascension Day, when we are reminded that Jesus ascended into heaven to take his place upon the throne as sovereign Lord over the entire universe. And in 9 days, we will mark the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the people of God at Pentecost. Christ's death, resurrection, ascension, and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. God has done great things.

But have you remembered throughout this season that these great things are FOR US—for you and for me? These acts heal our pasts. They direct our futures. They, more than anything else, define our present. They produce tongues that are filled with shouts of joy (v. 2) and genuine gladness (v. 3). Joy arises from God's acts for us. Lose the 'for us' and we sever the vital link in our lives to joy.

I met a pastor from Canada at a conference last week who is beginning doctoral work on the Christian life and joy. The reason? He sees the pervasiveness of joy for God's people in Scripture and yet its lack in the church today. I suspect the reason is that we've lost the 'for us' of these great acts of God that we are in the middle of remembering. 

If joy seems hard (and all of us can affirm this at one level), I would encourage you to sit with God with these great acts in mind and ask him to show you again, in a very personal way, how they were for you.