Summer of Psalms: Ministry of a Party

BIG IDEA: It can be hard to know how, when, and why we ask for things from God. Psalm 126 helps us know if we are requesting in the right ways and what to do when a request is fulfilled by our Father in Heaven.

SERIES: Summer of Psalms – In many ways, the Psalms are at the heart of Scripture, but we often disregard them. Let’s reclaim the wonder of the Psalms! Let’s reclaim this God breathed collection of 150 poems of the people of God sung aloud for thousands of years by the Hebrew people, inspiring and teaching generation after generation of Jewish children to communicate with Yahweh the one true God. Written prophets, poets, reflecting upon life with God between the Time of King David and the exile to Babylon, collected and organized for us by Spirit led scribes so that all people might have access to them, memorized and used for God’s people, including Jesus and his followers as “THE” vital connecting point for the hurting, praising, suffering, confused, joyful considerers. We must reclaim the Psalms if we want to learn to pray, to live, to connect with God.

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 126
When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad.

Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like streams in the Negeb!
Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him

KEY CONSIDERATIONS

  • Acronym for prayer: We’ve been talking about how the Psalms teach us to pray, and we’ve actually been silently working through an acronym that also teaches us to pray. AFTER the day, we pray.

Adoration/Awesomeness (Psalm 19).
Forgiveness (Psalm 32)
Thankfulness (Psalm 107)
Everybody Else (Psalm 109)
Requests (Psalm 126)

  • Why can we make requests of God? 
    • God, Our Father: We are told to make our requests know to God because he is our Father. This is how he sees himself in relationship to us.
      • Jesus himself tells us to pray “Our Father…”
      • Philippians 4:6
      • If even earthly fathers want to give good gifts to their children, how much more will our Heavenly Father want to give us good gifts. Earthly fathers aren’t always great, but our Heavenly Father is. He is holy and perfect, and he chooses to relate to us as a father.
      • Because he’s our father, we don’t have to figure out some sort of incantation to get God to listen and respond to us. We don’t need to because he is our father.
  • Ask as dreamers:
    • Ask God for that which only he can make a reality.
    • Ask God for things that when he gives them to us, will make us out of control with joy.
  • Verses 1-3: 
    • “…we were like those who dream…” or another translation might say, “we became like dreamers,” which leads into a then statement, saying that once we become like dreamers, then we also become rejoicers.
    • True rejoicing is the same as being a dreamer. It’s the overflow of seeing what God has already done. To rejoice is to be like a dreamer who has seen their dreams come true.
    • “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” – C.S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory
    • Our requests are so often for mud pies instead of the solid, better joys that God has for us. This doesn’t mean we can’t ask for the little things. Those are important, too, but we should ask for the little things recognizing that when we receive them, it is still God who gives them to us.
  • How do we know how to ask for those things?
    • Verse one: the Lord restores, he brings back, brings things back to the way it should be or once was.
      • Ask yourself: am I asking God for something that is restoring things back to how he originally designed them. Is it a design-realignment?
    • Verse two: God’s people were rejoicing so loudly that the people around them took notice and began to ask what all the commotion was. God answers requests in part to bring glory to himself.
      • Ask yourself: am I asking God for something that will bring glory to the personal God of the universe?
    • These are the filters to run your requests through to think through whether or not you’re making right requests of God. And then pray that if/when you ask for something that’s not right or not, in the long or the short of it, good for you, God wouldn’t grant those requests.
  • Verses 4-6
    • It’s okay to weep: waiting for God to answer us, waiting for our requests to be granted can be a long and painful process, but know that it’s okay to weep while you wait. These are not, however, tears of despair or because what we’re waiting for will never happen, but because we know it’s a good thing and it hasn’t happened yet. And this will happen over and over again. We will always be scattering seed and petitioning God, sowing in tears and reaping in joy.
    • Tears of Joy vs Sorrow: These two kinds of tears often feel the same way. They are so similar because a life with God is full of both, overflowing into life in relationship with the Father.
  • When should we ask for things from God?
    • Never stop asking for more, regardless of if you are in need or in plenty, so long as our hearts are in alignment with God.
    • If you didn’t use your last blessing to be a blessing, then do so before asking for the next blessing. Ask for blessings that will also bless those around us.
    • If you feel guilty about the abundance of your blessings, check yourself to see if you’re believing the lie that God is limited and that he cannot do more and still bless others. You don’t need to feel guilty about your blessings.
  • God doesn’t satisfy easily, so neither should we.
    • God didn’t settle for a group of good religious people. He wanted more, so he sent his son, Jesus, to die so that we could be more than a fallen people striving in vain to redeem ourselves through the Law. And then when Jesus ascended into Heaven God sent his Holy Spirit to guide us.
  • Ministry of the Party: the vision God always has in mind is for a big, spontaneous, God-glorifying party full of laughter and dancing. It’s all throughout the Bible.
    • Remember: Those who aren’t Christians may not be excited for you. They may recognize that you are directing glory to God, but that’s it.
    • Exodus 15
    • It’s not always a party for everyone else involved. In fact, it can look like a war party, like people rejoicing on a moral high ground, but that’s because they aren’t looking close enough to see that we are rejoicing because we serve a God who gives us good gifts, not the least of which is his son Jesus, who shed his blood so that we might live.

Our Response

  • Ask and allow God to give you the good gifts that he desires to give us.

Want to study this topic more?
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