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Psalm 126:1-6

THE PSALM OF THE SOWING SAINT

 

Intro:  Beginning with Psalm 120 and continuing to Psalm 134, these Psalms are called “Songs of Degrees.”  They were sung by the pilgrims who were traveling to Jerusalem to keep the various feasts days on the religious calendar of Israel.  There were stations along the way where the pilgrims could stop for rest and refreshment.  While they were there, they would sing one of these Psalms in worship to the Lord.  Psalm 126 is the seventh of these fifteen “Songs of Degrees.”  It was a special Psalm to the children of Israel because it reminded them of the Lord’s past works in the life of their nation and of His promise to carry on that work into the future.

      It is also a special Psalm to those who are in the church of Jesus Christ.  It speaks to us of what the Lord has done for us in saving us and it also reminds us that God has a plan to bless us and use us for His glory into the future.  When this Psalm is preached in churches, often only the last two verses are used.  They are used to challenge the church to be active in out reach into a lost and dying world.  Tonight, I want to consider all six verses of this precious Psalm.  There are three powerful lessons that I want us to glean from these verses this evening.  As we do, I want us to see the Lord and what He has done in and what He longs to do through us.  Let’s take a few minutes this evening to look into The Psalm Of The Sowing Saint.

 

  I.  v. 1-3                  THERE IS A WORD OF PRAISE

A.  v. 1a  They Speak Of Their Deliverance – As the Israelites began this hymn of praise, they did so by remembering the great grace of God.  They remembered how they had been oppressed and held captive by their enemies, and how God in His great power had delivered them.  They praise His for the day He set them free and brought them back to their homeland. 

      (Note: It should be our constant practice to remember where we were when the Lord found us, Eph. 2:1-3; and how He delivered us from our lost and hell bound condition by His matchless grace, Eph. 2:8-9.  He deserves our praise for setting us free, changing our lives and altering our destinies.)

 B.  v. 1b-3a  They Speak Of Their Delight – They couldn’t hardly believe what had happened to them.  They were amazed at the grace, love and power of their God.  They felt like people who were living in a dream.  It was too good to be true!  But, when it finally dawned on them that what they were experiencing was real, they were filled with joy and they lifted their hearts and their voices in praise to the Lord.  Even some of the sinners around them recognized the work of God in their lives and gave God the glory.  These saints simply agree with the assessment of the heathen, “The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.”  So, they are filled with praise because the Lord has worked in their lives in power for His glory.  And, they simply cannot hold back their praises, but they exalt the Lord for His grace, His goodness and His blessing in their lives. 

      (Note: What a lesson for the children of God!  We have been delivered from death and Hell by the grace of God.  Our names have been written down in glory.  We are children of the living God!  We have a reason to rejoice.  Oh that our hearts were filled with His praise and that we would be vocal and quick to proclaim His goodness, His grace and His salvation.  The Bible teaches us praise honors the Lord and we should be involved in praising Him, Psa. 47:1; Psa. 113:1-3; Psa. 135:1-3; Heb. 13:15.)

C.  v. 3b  They Speak Of Their Decision – As these people think about all they have received from the Lord, they make a decision and say, “Whereof we are glad.”  They make a conscious decision to be happy in the Lord Who redeemed them!

       (Note: There is much to be distressed about in the world today.  Crime, war, politics, disease, death, sin, evil, etc. all combine to cause our hearts to despair.  However, if we can learn to keep our hearts focused on the Lord and all that He has done for us, it will go along way toward giving us joy even in the midst of trials.  After all, the Lord has promised His children joy, 1 Pet. 1:8; Gal. 5:22.  The bottom line is this: if you allow your happiness to depend on the circumstances around you, there is a good chance you will be sad and defeated.  If, however, you make God and His gracious gifts the focus of your joy, then you can rejoice regardless of what is happening around you.  Let us make the same decision that Habakkuk made in Habakkuk 3:18, “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”) 

 II.  v. 4                    THERE IS A WORD OF PRAYER

A.  As these pilgrims ponder their past and as they deliberate their deliverance, they also lift their voices up in prayer to the Lord.  They pray that just as the spring rains fill the southern streams with floods of water, that God will also deliver others from their captivity and restore them to their homeland.  They have a burden to see others delivered as they have been and they call on the Lord to see they others are set free as well.  They want other captives to enjoy the deliverance they have experienced.

B.  Again, there is a word here for the church.  Those who have been delivered from their sins should carry a burden for those still lost in sin.  We need to pray for them and for the Lord to touch their hearts, show them their condition and to point them to Jesus Christ so that they too might be saved.

      (Ill. "Tom, you're the sort of Christian I like," said a young lost man to his friend Tom. Now Tom was a church member in good and regular standing. "You're the sort of a Christian I like. You never seem to bother yourself about a fellow's soul." The words were lightly spoken, but they pierced like an arrow. If we had listened at Tom's chamber door that night, we would have heard something like this: "O God, forgive me that I seemed indifferent to the welfare of my friends! Help me to trouble myself more and more about them. Give me a passion for souls!"

            Perhaps more of us need a time of prayer just like that!  May God create a burden within our hearts for the lost that drives us to Him for them and then drives us to them for Him!  May we be like John Knox who was so burdened for Scotland that he prayed, “Give me Scotland, or I die!” Or, like George Whitefield who was so burdened for the lost that he cried, “Give me souls or take my soul!”  Or, even like Paul the Apostle who wrote, “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:” Romans 9:3.) 

III.  v. 5-6                THERE IS A WORD OF PROMISE

(Ill. There seems to be a total change in the direction of this Psalm at this point.  In fact, these verses continue the thought of the previous verses.  When these people returned to their homeland, they found in decimated and totally destroyed.  The fields were fallow and there was no harvest and little food to eat.  All they had was a few precious seeds that held the promise of a future harvest.  Taking these few seeds, they involved themselves in the backbreaking work of sowing the fields.  They take those few seeds, and with tears, they sow those seeds into the earth.  With faith and patience they wait, and in a few weeks, there is life in the fields!  When harvest time comes, those few seeds have been transformed into a great harvest, and the workers return from the fields this time with great rejoicing, carrying their sheaves in their arms.) 

(Note: This speaks volumes to the saints of the Lord.  After we have been delivered from our sins and saved by God’s grace, we should be moved by a burden to see others have what we have been given.  We are to take what we have, the Gospel message, the seed, the Word of God and we are to go into a lost world and sow it for the glory of God, trusting Him to take our few seeds and turn them into a mighty harvest for His glory.  Let’s take a few minutes to look at these last two verses and what they have to teach us about this matter of sowing the Gospel.)

 A.  The Task Of The Sower – The sower is to “go forth” and sow that seed.  The verb form there is in the present tense.  This speaks of a continual, consistent going and sowing.  When Jesus gave His men the Great Commission, He said to them “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,” Matt. 28:19a. That word “Go” has the idea of “as you go.”  In other words, your testimony is not something you should be able to turn on and off like a light switch, but we are to be constantly going and telling a lost world about Jesus. 

      When the Bible says, “Bearing precious seeds,” that little phrase has the idea “of leaving a trail of seeds.” The idea here is that everywhere we go; we are to be dropping the Gospel seeds!  Imagine if I were to put up a map of Caldwell County tonight.  Then, imagine that we took push pins and placed one pin for every family that makes up Calvary Baptist Church right in the community in which you live.  Do you realize that the map of our county would be covered with pins?  Nearly every community would have someone in it from Calvary Baptist Church.  What does that mean? It means that if you and I are doing what the Lord has called us to do; we will be dropping Gospel seeds all over Caldwell County.  We will be sowing the Gospel all over this county for the glory of God and it means that people will hear and they will be saved.  Are you sowing as you go?  Are you saturating your community with the seeds of the Gospel message?  God help us to do just that!

B.  The Tears Of The Sower – Notice that this farmer goes out to sow and as he sows he is shedding tears, v. 6.  Why does he weep?  Because he knows that everything depends on the next crop.  He has a burden for the harvest and he wants to see the seed multiplied so that his people might live! I have already touched on the need for a burden over the lost, so I will merely point out threesimple reasons why we need a burden for the lost:

1. Biblical Examples – The Bible offers many examples of men with a burden for the lost. Their burden serves as a lesson to our lives.

a. Jesus Had A Burden - John 11:35; Luke 19:41
b. Jeremiah Had A Burden - Jer. 9:1                 
c Paul Had A Burden - Acts 20:31; Rom. 10:1; Rom. 9:3

2. Past Experience - There was a day when we were lost without God. Just the memory of sin and a life lived apart from the Lord ought to be enough to drive us out into the world to tell others about a God who loves them and died to save them. (Ill. Isa. 51:1)3. The End Of Man - The Bible clearly indicates that many more will die lost than will be eversaved, Matt. 7:14; 22:14. (Ill. Someone has said that only 2% of all the people who have ever lived will be saved. That is a horrible and heart breaking statistic!) The Bible is also clear in that there are only 2 possible destinations for men when they leave this life. One is Heaven and the other is Hell. I submit to you that if we really believed in an eternal hell, where the condemned burn for eternity apart from the presence of God with no hope of relief or release, then we would be more active in spreading the news that Jesus saves sinners! 

      (Ill. The Salvation Army was holding a convocation.  Morale was at all-time low.  The organization had hit rock bottom.  They did not know what to do. They sent a telegram to theirfounding father, William Booth, asking for any advice he could give on how they could get back on their feet.  William Booth sent back a telegram with two words: "Try tears!"  When they did, revival came to the Salvation Army.  We can talk about revival, preach about revival, pray for revival, but revival never comes until desperation comes, and the sign of desperation will be the tears of our eyes, and the brokenness of our heart.

            Ill. Isaiah said, “For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” Isaiah 66:8.  May the Lord give us back our tears over a lost and dying world!)

 

C.  The Triumph Of The Sower – The sower went to the fields, he worked and he sowed, now he returns with rejoicing, bearing in his arms the fruits of his labors.  He has a great harvest to show for the investment of his time and his tears.

 

      (Note:  The seed is called “precious.”  Why? There are several reasons, but the main one is the fact that the seed contains within it life.  When it is sown into the ground, and the conditions are just right, that seed will germinate and new life will be the result. 

            When the tomb of Egyptian Pharaoh King Tutankhamen was discovered, among the many treasures in that tomb were some seeds that were over 3,000 years old.  Scientists took some of those seeds, planted them and they germinated and grew up into plants.  No wonder the Word of God is compared to a seed.  There is power in the blood, but there is also power in the book!) 

      (Ill. Dr. James Merritt tells this story:  “A man joined my church and had been a member there for a while.  He came up to me after one Sunday morning's service and pulled me aside, and asked if I would go and visit his wife?  Well, I didn't even know he was married because he didn't wear a wedding ring, and I had never met his wife.  But I told him that I would go.  Her name was Diane.  He told me that she was a confirmed atheist and hated preachers.  But by that time I had already promised to go, so I had no choice.

            On Tuesday night my wife and I went out to visit with Diane.  Now to say the least, she was extremely cool in her reception.  She let me know she was an atheist and that she did not like preachers.  But she agreed to let me come in for five minutes.  Well I got to work in a hurry.

            I said to her, "Diane, do you know for sure that if you were to die today you would go toheaven?"  She said, "I don't even believe in heaven.  I told you I'm an atheist."  I said, "Are you telling me that you know that there is no God?"  She said, "That's right." 

            I said, "Well, let me ask you a question.  Do you know everything there is to know about everything?"  She said, "Well, of course not."  I said, "Well, let me be generous.  Would you say you know half of everything there is to know about everything?"  She said, "No, I wouldn't say that either."  I said, "Well let's just say you do."  I said, "Now here's the half of the knowledge that you do have, and over here is the half of the knowledge you don't.  Would you agree that God could exist in the knowledge you do not have?"  She said, "Well, I never thought about that before."

      Then she said, "Well, I don't know whether there's a God or not."  I said, "Now we'regetting somewhere."  I said, "You're not an atheist, you're an agnostic."  She smiled very broadly and said with pride, "Yes, that's right, I'm not an atheist, I'm an agnostic."  (Now I did not tell her that the Latin word for agnostic was ignoramus.)  I said, "Now I want to ask you this question. Are you an honest agnostic, or a dishonest agnostic?"  She said, "What do you mean?"  I said, "Well, an honest agnostic says, 'I don't know whether there's a God or not, but I want to find out.' But a dishonest agnostic says, 'I don't know whether there's a God or not, and I don't want to know.'  Now which are you?"  She said, "Well, I'm an honest agnostic."

            I said, "Alright."  I went to my car and got out a little paperback New Testament, brought it in and gave it to her, and I said, "I want you to do me a favor.  I want you to begin reading everyday one chapter in the gospel of John."  She said, "But I don't even believe the Bible."  I said, "I understand that, but I want you to do it anyway."  She said, "It won't do any good."  I said, "I understand that, but I just want you to read the gospel of John."

            Then I said, "As you read the gospel of John I want you to ask two questions:  1) Who did Jesus claim to be?  2) What am I going to do about it?"  I said, "Do you understand?"  She said, "Yes."  I said, "Okay, there are twenty-one chapters in John's gospel.  If you read one chapter a day that's three week's worth of reading.  I will not be back, and you will not hear from me for three weeks.  But then I will come back and see how you are doing." 

            Sunday morning I gave the invitation, and the first person to walk down the aisle of my church, crying big crocodile tears, was Diane.  To show you how much faith I had, I said, "Whyhave you come?"  She said, "I have come to be baptized."  I said, "Well, Diane that's wonderful, but before you can be baptized, you've got to be saved."  She said, "Oh, I have been saved."  I said, "Yes, when?"  She said, "Wednesday morning."  I looked stunned, and then she smiled and said, "I did not get past the first chapter.")

(Note: If we will go and sow, God will give the increase, 1 Cor. 3:6.  you won’t see everyone you witness to saved, but God will save some for His glory and there will be souls in Heaven because you took the time to share!)

 

(Ill. Dr. R. Q. Leavell, used to be the Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Gainesville, Georgia and later became President of New Orleans Theological Seminary.  He was not only a wonderful preacher,but he was a tremendous soul-winner.

      He told the story once of preaching a revival in another state, and after the last night was over people had gathered up to speak to him and say goodbye.  He noticed out of the corner of his eye there was a young woman with two small blond-haired little girls standing over against the wall obviously waiting to talk to him.

      They waited there for over a half an hour and finally when the last person had walked away this mother and her two little girls walked up to the platform and she said, "Dr. Leavell, I have come many miles to be here tonight."  This was back in the fifties before there were many four-lane highways and interstates.  Obviously it had taken her a long time to get there.  Dr. Leavell said, "You mean you came all this way just to hear me preach?"  She said, "Oh no, I came here just to tell you something."  Hesaid, "You came all the way here just to tell me something?"  She said, "Yes."  He said, "What is it?" 

      She said, "Dr. Leavell, over twenty-five years ago I was just a nine year old little girl in the Delta of Mississippi, and I lived alone with my mother in a little one-room shanty not far from town.  They were having revival at the First Baptist Church and there was a knock on our door, and there was the pastor of the First Baptist Church, and a tall man in a black suit.  They asked if they could come in.  Well, they came in and that man sat down on our dirty floor right beside me, pulled out a little Bible out of his pocket and opened it and told me about the Lord Jesus Christ.  She said, "I bowed my head in that little house and I asked Jesus to come into my heart.  That night my mother and I went down to that church and I joined the church and I was baptized and my life has never been the same."

      Dr. Leavell said, "Well, that is a wonderful story, but what does that have to do with me?"  Well atthat point, tears began to well up in the eyes of this young lady.  She said, "Dr. Leavell, you were that man in that black suit, and I drove all this way just to tell you thank you for telling me about Jesus."

      At that point Dr. Leavell's eyes filled up with tears, and the tears began to roll down his cheeks.  He said with quivering lips and a cracking voice, "Honey, would you do me just one favor?"  She said, "Dr. Leavell, I will do anything you ask me to do."  He said, "When you get to heaven will you tell Jesus what you just told me?"  She said, "Yes, I will."  He said, "That will be heaven enough for me.")

 

Conc: Now, this evening, I am speaking to a group of people who have been given much.  You have been saved by His grace and are headed to His heaven.  I would just remind you that “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required,” Luke 12:48.  As I close this message, I want toencourage you to do a few things for me.

1.  Remember where the Lord found you and what He did for you when He saved you.
2.  Seek the Lord for the kind of burden you need for the souls of the lost.

3.  Make a decision tonight, that by the help of the Lord, you will leave this church, go out in the field of this world and sow the Gospel seed. 

 

      Will you do that tonight?  Will you listen to the voice of the Lord as He speaks to your heart about the needs of a lost world?  Will you commit to taking up the precious seed of the Gospel and seeing that it is sown into a world that so desperately needs to hear about Jesus?  If the Lord has spoken to your heart about this, or any matter, then you come as He calls.

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