Vindication of Joy

James Mays offers this in regard to Psalm 126:

Words for laughter/joy occur five times in the whole, giving the song its dominant emotional tone. The song is about joy remembered and joy anticipated. In both cases the joy is the work of the Lord, in the first through the restoration of Zion and in the second through the renewal of those who sing the song.

It’s the second occasion of joy I’d like us to consider. It seems to contrast with the first in that while the first occurs without any mention of human activity or involvement (other than their reaction to restoration), the second does not.

It is much different. It speaks of “those who sow with tears” and “those who go out weeping” (v. 5-6). It suggests that a season of difficulty and despair precedes the harvest of joy. This doesn’t mean that joy isn’t present during the hard times—only that’s its “seen” element (i.e., the harvest) isn’t yet present. And with this, we are reminded of an important truth for our journey—appearances can be deceiving. Things are not always what they seem to be. Because of that, we might conclude that there is no basis for joy at such times.

But we would be wrong.

Jesus went through His own season of tears and weeping on His way to the cross. Despite this, He told His disciples, “I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11). Later in His prayer to the Father He said this in speaking of His apostles, “. . . I say these things while I am still in the world, so they may have the full measure of My joy within them” (17:13).

Our tears and weeping in this life are real, but they don’t represent the ultimate reality. That is that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39). The harvest will come and our basis for joy will be vindicated.  

Psalms of Ascent


Published by A Taste of Grace with Bruce Green

I grew up the among the cotton fields, red clay and aerospace industry of north Alabama. My wife and I are blessed with three adult children and five grandchildren.

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