"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." Psalm 126
America has long been the land of dreamers for at least two big reasons:
a. Freedom allows us
b. Profit motivates us.
When it comes to chasing a dream and profiting from it, few have done it better than this guy.
All of us have benefited from his dreams as well!
Dreams have two main purposes:
1) To Escape Reality
2) To Shape Reality
Most of us start off life with a dream of making a good life for ourselves and making a positive difference with our lives:
We want: A Good Education At A Good College - Get A Dream Job With A Great Salary – Marry The Most Attractive Human Being Possible And Be Deliriously Happy – Have 2.5 Of The Smartest Best Looking Kids In the World – Live In The Best House In The Best Neighborhood With The Biggest Luxury Vehicle We Can Afford Out Front – And, In 30 Or 40 Years Retire Fabulously Wealthy And Become A Care-Free Beach Bum.
Maybe a few are able to shape a reality that fits that dream, but most don’t. For many their job becomes a hassle or their marriage becomes a nightmare or their kids become delinquents and they are looking for ways to escape reality.
Most of us spend life dwelling between the dreams trying to keep the dream alive so we can survive the nightmare. We spend part of our time trying to shape the world and the rest of our time trying to escape it.
For the context of our Psalm we must remember that the dream of the great King David and his son, King Solomon had brought such joy and prosperity to God’s people as they turned the nation back to God and then building the glorious Temple. However, when God’s people turned away from Him and rejected Him the dream came crashing down as the Babylonians destroyed the Temple, burned Jerusalem and took them into a nightmare 70-year captivity.
THEN SUDDENLY, when it looked like God had abandoned them and the dream was over – here’s what happened – TURN TO II CHRONICLES 36:15-23
Most Old Testament Scholars believe that was the event that inspired the writing of our next Psalm in the Summer In the Psalms Series – Psalm 126, follow me to that Scripture.
Doesn’t it seem that we spend the majority of our lives dwelling between the last big thing God did for us and the next big thing we need Him to do. Since that is true for most of us – shouldn’t we learn how to live there? Wouldn’t you love to know how to keep the dream alive during those nightmare times of your life? Wouldn't you like to keep believing you can shape the world in a postive way?
LEARN FROM THE PSALM:
I. REALIZE – You Can Live In Freedom, V. 1
It had been 70 years since they had seen a move of God. Their dream was dying and their hope was gone.
HAD THEY FORGOTTEN ABOUT JOSEPH?
HAD THEY FORGOTTEN ABOUT DANIEL?
These great men were both in captivity but they chose to live in freedom. They never forgot that God was in control of their lives and their circumstances. They never gave up on the dream He had placed in their hearts!
God shaped them in their nightmare experiences so that when their dreams came true they could shape their world. And after they had been faithful God delivered them in miraculous ways!
And once again – GOD DELIVERED HIS PEOPLE BY TAKING THEIR CAPTORS CAPTIVE!
Should we only serve God when things are easy and our dreams are coming true? Should we doubt Him when life gets hard?
HAS A CAREER SETBACK TAKEN YOU CAPTIVE AND MADE YOUR JOB SITUATION A NIGHTMARE?
HAS YOUR DREAM MARRIAGE BECOME A NIGHTMARE?
HAVE YOU BEEN TAKEN CAPTIVE BY A TROUBLED TEEN?
HAS ILLNESS OR DISEASE STOLEN YOUR DREAM?
MAYBE YOUR HOUSE IS SO FAR UNDER WATER THAT IT HAS TURNED INTO A FINANIAL NIGHTMARE.
PERHAPS A FINANCIAL SETBACK OR THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY HAS TURNED YOUR DREAM RETIREMENT PLAN INTO A NIGHTMARE.
You see God moving and doing miracles in other places and over bigger situations than yours, but it isn’t happening for you. You are hanging on by the only fingernail you haven’t chewed off in your anxiety.
What do you do? How can you keep life from taking you captive and crushing your dream like a coke can?
1) If you belong to God, He is in control of you and your captivity! (Ro. 8:28)
2) If you belong to God, He has taken your captor captive – you are free!
JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T SEE GOD WORKING DOESN’T MEAN YOUR DREAM IS DEAD! LET THE SAME GOD WHO WAS IN CONTROL OF YOUR DREAM TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR NIGHTMARE! HE MAY NEED TO TAKE THE DREAM TO SHAPE YOU SO YOU CAN SHAPE YOUR WORLD.
WHEN YOU REALIZE HE IS IN CONTROL YOU REALIZE YOU CANNOT BE A CAPTIVE!
II. REJOICE – You Can Live In Fullness, Vv. 2-4
There are those times when God seems to be making dreams come true all around you but you are stuck in a bad dream – what do you do during those times?
1) In His Fullness
The Psalmist knew that joy was to be found in WHO God IS not just in what He does. For Him joy was a FACT not a feeling! It was the fact of what God had done for them. It was the fact of Who He was! It was the fact of what He had promised to do!
YOU CAN ALWAYS REJOICE IN HIS PRESENCE
YOU CAN ALWAYS REJOICE IN HIS PARDON
YOU CAN ALWAYS REJOICE IN HIS PURPOSE
YOU CAN ALWAYS REJOICE IN HIS POWER
YOU CAN ALWAYS REJOICE IN HIS PROMISES
YOU CAN ALWAYS REJOICE IN HIS PRAISES
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psa. 16:11
“The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” Psa. 19:8
“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7
2) In The Dreams of Others
This is not the normal or natural thing to do… but we are not here to compete, we are here to complete!
Any great thing done for any child of God makes the world sit up and notice! That is worth rejoicing over!
At FredWes, one of the things that makes us a little different from some churches is that we are not here to convince you or sell you on jumping in to help my dream come true, we are here to help you discover your dream that God has birthed in your heart and help develop it and nurture it and find a place for it to be expressed so it can help shape the church and help our church shape the world.
III. RISK – You Can Live In Fruitfulness, Vv. 5-6
The signifcance of the "sowing in tears" is that a farmed had to take a large portion of his stored grain which also represented his food supply and plant it in the ground. What if there was a drought and he lost the grain? His family would be at risk for food. What if the crop was attacked by locusts or stoled by mauraders such as the Midianites. When that seed was sown there was an even chance that it wouldn't return a yield. So, it was with tears of anxiety that he sowed his seed.
What is a farmer’s dream as he plants his seed?
Dreams are like seeds – they have to be planted and allowed to die….
The farmer puts his seed to risk because he hopes in the harvest.
The harvest comes when we sow our dreams into His! HIS DREAM IS HEALTHY LOCAL CHURCHES WHO DREAM OF BEING USED BY GOD TO SHAPE THEIR WORLD!
In the final analysis it isn’t about your dream or my dream it is about HIS dream and He is dreaming of a HARVEST! The harvest IS HIS DREAM!
THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT GOD’S DREAM FOR THESE PEOPLE DID COME TRUE – and we are beneficiaries of that and every generation since who learn how to dwell between the dreams and learned to live in FREEDOM AND IN FULLNESS AND IN FRUITFULNESS through the good times and the bad!
So, how are you going to spend your life?
Are you going to dream up ways to escape the world and waste your life in fantasy land?
Or are you going to sow your dream into a local church with other dreamers who want to be used to shape the world!