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Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Psalm for St. Patrick's Day

Since St. Patrick risked his life and freedom to bring the gospel to Ireland, I thought it only appropriate to share a passage from that Bible that he taught the Irish. St. Patrick served six years as captive in Ireland before escaping through the encouragement of a dream. Psalm 126 is about the joy Israelite captives felt when God granted them freedom.
View towards signal tower, Bray Head, Valencia Island (Espresso Addict) / CC BY-SA 2.0

The author of Psalm 126 is unknown, but we do know that it was written when the people of Israel returned from the Babylonian captivity. During the 6th century B.C., the inhabitants of Judah were taken into captivity as slaves in a foreign land for seventy years.
We all felt great concern  for the brave American captives imprisoned in Iran for three or four years. Imagine if ISIS captured you and held you in the Middle East. Then, seventy years later, you were able to get free and return to America with your children and grandchildren who had never set foot on American soil. That's the kind of jubilation these Israelites felt when they returned to their land and people. I can almost hear the joy in their voices as I picture them singing this Psalm.

Psalm 126 NIV

A song of ascents.

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.
Restore our fortunes, Lord,
    like streams in the Negev.

Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them.

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