This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.
The Lord Hath Done Great Things
Meditation on Psalm 126:1-3
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.
It is so easy for us to feel sorry for ourselves and complain. But instead of looking at the negative, we, like Israel, need to count our blessings. Israel had been in captivity in Babylon because of her sins. But God did not leave her there. Through chastisement, He corrected His people who were worshipping other gods, and then brought them back into their homeland.
What things had the LORD done? He created the world in six days. When Adam and the human race fell into sin, God came to Adam and promised that the Seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. He translated Enoch up into heaven and saved Noah and his family with a flood. He gave to Abraham the promised son that was impossible, for Abraham and Sarah were unable to conceive. God delivered His people from Egypt and brought them into the Promised Land. With David and Solomon, God gave His people a great kingdom and prosperity and peace. More recently, God brought His people out of Babylon. With godly leaders, the temple was rebuilt and the walls of the city restored.
Our text exclaims that the LORD has done “great things”. The work of God was great because it was life changing. God’s people were once again in their own land, with the temple rebuilt and worship reestablished. These things were great because of what it revealed about Israel’s God. He is Jehovah. Even the heathen nations around Israel acknowledged His greatness: “then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them” (vs.2). The name Jehovah is His covenant name. He is all-sufficient, unchanging, wise, all-powerful, righteous, and He has chosen us for His people. Great things are done for us because He is great: great in His love, goodness, mercy, and faithfulness.
Can you list some of the great things He has done for you? He gave His only begotten Son for our salvation! Think of the work of Jesus Christ: the wonder of His incarnation, His suffering and death, His resurrection, ascension, and His ruling at God’s right hand. Think of the Holy Spirit as He gives life to all things, works spiritual life in each of His children, and leads the church in the truth. God has done great things. When the church falls into apostasy, He brings reformation. Psalm 126 is another song of ascent sung when God’s people were traveling together up to Jerusalem. Let’s get even more personal. Can you hear one saint saying to another, “Come, hear, all ye that fear the Lord, while I with grateful heart record what God has done for me; I cried to him in deep distress, and now his wondrous grace I bless, for he has set me free” (Psalter 175 stanza 2)? Have you struggled with a besetting sin, and crying to the Lord, He set you free from that captivity? Have you or a loved one gone through a difficult illness or walked through the valley of the shadow of death and found that the Lord was a “very present help in trouble?”
How great it is that God says to you and me, “I will be your God. You are my beloved sons and daughters. God says that to us each Sunday morning and evening in the votum and salutation. How great is His mercy for us poor sinners, that He stoops to help and save. How great is His work of taking dead sinners and making them alive in Jesus Christ. By His Spirit He calls us, gives us faith, works our conversion, justifying, sanctifying, and preserving us.
Our response, when we think on these great things, is that of joy, laughter, and gladness. It is the laughter of true faith. It is the joy of salvation. It is not only a joy in the good things God has and is doing. It is gladness in God himself. He is faithful to me even though I am so unfaithful. What a God we know, love, and serve. So go forth; “Count your many blessings, name them one by one. And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done” (Edwin O. Excell, 1851-1921).
“Come, all ye people, bless our God and tell his glorious praise abroad, who holds our soul in life, who never lets our feet be moved and , though our faith he oft has proved, upholds us in the strife.” Psalter 175, stanza 1