by Carter Conlon

Psalm 126:6: He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

■ A SEASON OF TEARS There are times in every person’s life when you have to walk through sea- sons of tears and personal heartache. It would be a delightful thing if you and I could come to Christ and never have to go through tough times again. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and anybody who has been a Christian for any length of time knows this.

The psalmist in Psalm 42, verse 3 said: My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? The psalmist is going through a difficult time. The psalm does not tell us expressly what the elements of the trial were but he was in a season of sorrow, common to all of us, day and night weeping, day and night tears flowing from his eyes. Then there were these voices continually saying, “Where is your God in the midst of this sorrow? Where is your God in the midst of this trial?” It is in these times of sorrow that you become very vulnerable to such lies of the enemy, the lies that come in and begin to accuse, not us, but our Savior. Lies of God somehow not being there, somehow being indifferent to our time of distress.

■ PAUL EXPERIENCES THE COMFORT OF GOD The Scriptures in the New Testament tell us very clearly that we will have no ability to comfort anyone else in trouble if God has not first comforted us in our times of distress. Paul said, “He is able to keep that which I have entrusted to him against that day.” Paul knew seasons of sorrow, and he knew seasons of incredible trial, trials that would overwhelm even the most positive and strong among the people of his time. However, Paul had a confidence in God, so God was able to take him through stoning, through shipwreck, through times of famine and hunger, and even imprisonment, loneliness, and sorrow. But God brought him through, even though therewere innumerable tears. There weretimes Paul would tell the church, “I don’t want you to be ignorant. In Asia we were pressed so harshly and above measure that we feared even for our lives. We gave up hope at one time of even living, so we entrusted ourselves to God who is able to raise the dead.” Paul had known pain and sorrow, and because of it, this incredible revelation of Christ was given to him. This revelation of Christ was his meat, his bread, and his daily strength.

■ DAVID IS WEARIED WITH ALL THE WEEPING OF HIS MANY TRIALS David, a great king of Israel said in Psalm 6:6: I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. David is not exaggerating in this psalm. He has cried so much that his pillow is drenched with tears. Mine eye, he said in verse 7, is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies. David was speaking of the human condition that everyone faces when going through the place of weeping; he was saying he could hardly see any good ahead. He was o v e rwhelmed by the situation, by the sense of sorrow that had come upon him so that his eyes were waxing old. In other words, there used to be a light in his eyes, an assurance of knowing where he was going. He remembered the clarity he had when as a youth he joyfully ran down into the valley facing Goliath, but now he was in this place of weeping and he can hardly see any good ahead of him. In Psalm 23:5, David speaks of a table of abundance—God preparing a place of provision even in the midst of your enemies. He speaks about an anoint- ing that comes upon the believer and a cup that God places in our hand that overflows. In Psalm 23:6, he speaks about this incredible knowledge of God’s goodness and the security of his promises. He comes out of the difficulties in his journey with the Lord, and says, Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Before verses 5 and 6 with this incredible revelation of God’s provision comes verse 4 that speaks about a place called a valley of the shadow of death. Quite often this is the sequence of the Christian experience. You will always come through these places that are seemingly humanly impossi- ble to get through. Once on the other side, though, you find you not only survived, but you came out of it with an anointing, and provision of God’s life within us.

■ DAVID – BETRAYAL AND DESPAIR In Psalm 55:12 David says: For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him. David was betrayed by his close friend. But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquain- tance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God… (verses 13 and 14). It was almost inconceivable to David that his friend, the one whom he hadtrusted and taken counsel with, opened the Wo rd with, talked with, and seemed to be on the same page with, had betrayed him. They had walked in the house of God together and now his hand was raised against David in betrayal. Consider David in 2 Samuel 18:33. David was a wonderful man of God, but the truth was, he had failed and he understood his own failure. He failed as a father, he failed in his duty to God, and then he went on to fail morally and ethically. He committed incredible sins against the Lord and against his fellow man. He knew that these sins were the eventual cause of the death of his son, Absalom, and a weeping came upon him. Joab, returning from the battle against Absalom, brought the news that Absalom was dead, and to their surprise David began to weep in heaving sobs, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son! There are no words that can describe the anguish the godly feel when they realize that what they have done has hurt the ones they love the most. David knew it, and it brought him into a season of despair and weeping.

■ THE SEED OF GOD’S PROMISE After Absalom’s death David must have thought it was all over; he had ruined his future, only to find that the seed of God’s promise was still within him. God raised up a son called Solomon to sit on the throne after him. David would not be rememberedas a failure in his last days, but would be remembered as a great king from whose lineage our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ came.

■ JOSEPH – BETRAYED AND FORGOTTEN The valley of the shadow of death is a place where for a season one might seem to be in danger of being lost. Joseph, one of the sons of Jacob and one of the twelve founding fathers of the tribes of Israel, was given a promise by God that one day God would put him in a position that would be considered successful and victorious. You see this young Joseph bragging to his family: “You are all going to bow down to me.” It was a foolish thing to do. When he shared it with his brothers he stirred up envy in them and this envy caused them, his own family, to betray him and sell him into Egypt.
In Genesis 42, verse 2 when the crime of betraying their brother finally caught up with them, the brothers say: …we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear… There is a pain in betrayal that can never be underestimated. I do not know if there is any deeper betrayal to be found in the world than disloyalty and duplicity among one’s own family. Even in the house of God, among those who are supposed to be brothers and sisters in the Lord, we can never underestimate this pain of betrayal. Joseph was 17 when he was betrayed, and for 13 years he was in this place of weeping. While working in the house of Potiphar, a leader in Egypt, he is again betrayed. This time he is falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, and placed into prison. In this place of imprisonment where he didn’t belong, he shows kindness to one of Pharaoh’s servants who is also in prison. Joseph requests that the servant not forget him when he gets out, and the servant promises that he will not. But the servant is released and immediately forgets Joseph. This is another type of betrayal: kindness that is not reciprocated when the person has an opportunity to do so. Now you can imagine Joseph is saying at this point, “Oh, God, I would do anything to get out of this place.” He is beginning to move in the flesh. He had trusted God in the beginning, and now was starting to put his own hand to his own deliver- ance. This is why God caused the baker or the butler to forget him.

■ THE KING CALLS All Joseph had left after his over- whelming despair was the vision that God had given him years ago, the vision that he was going to ru l e and reign and then supervise incredi- ble provision. That vision was all he had. But he had no ability to fulfill it or imagine how God would do it, until suddenly one day a call came to the prison cell: “Change your clothes; shave your face; get ready—the king has called you!” Now you can’t stay in the valley of weeping, for the king has an appointed time for you, and when he calls you, he will give you a new robe, a new song, and a new heart! And when he calls you out, he will put in your hands the keys of provision, and will give you wisdom that people of this world know nothing about. You will have a storehouse of supply of God’s knowledge, compassion, and power within you to feed a starving genera- tion in a time of famine.

■ SACRIFICE OF CONVENIENCE In Psalm 126, the psalmist is saying that the time of captivity was over. This psalm is about a people who had been in captivity because of carelessness and a casual attitude in seeking God. In the northern kingdom they set up two altars, one in Bethel and one in Dan. These altars were conveniently placed so that people didn’t have to go all the way down to Jerusalem to sacrifice. I fear that in this generation, lest we become Christians who simply serve God when it’s convenient, that we will end up doing exactly what these altars in Bethel and Dan speak about: no sacrifice, no journey, and no personal inconvenience. It becomes a sacrifice of convenience. And because of these things, the people went into captivity.

■ BABYLON: THE PLACE OF MIXTURE Psalm 137:1-2: By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. The psalm speaks about the captivity of the people. Israel was supposed to be “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord besides streams of water that come from the very throne of God.” But here are God’s own people, and the waters now that they are camping beside are the waters of Babylon. This was the result of mixture. And the things of mixture had brought them into captivity. Instead of hanging their harps on the olive trees in the Land of Promise, they are now hanging their harps upon the weeping willows, as they’ve come to be known.

■ CAN YOU SING THE LORD’S SONG ON MONDAY? In verse 3 it says, For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? There is the person who has been casual in their service to God, going to work on Monday morning, and people in the work place are asking, “What is worship like in your church? What do they sing like? Sing to us one of the songs.” But because they a re camped in a wrong place and have had a casual walk with God, they are captivated in heart and mind. Now the true Christian experiences a weeping that comes upon them because of this; it is an inner sorrow because the one within them loves them passionately and is not willing to let them stray from him. God in his mercy will not let them be joyful when they are not living in right re l a- tionship with him. But, for all who are in a right relationship with the Lord, the true song that is in the heart will show up on Monday morning. And when others at work ask, “How was church yesterday? And what kind of songs do you sing there?” you will be able to sing one because you are in right standing with God.

■ PRECIOUS SEED Verse 6: He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. This verse is quite often misquoted or misapplied. It is about a people who went into captivity, and they went into captivity weeping. The precious seed they took with them were actually the promises God had made to them as his people, and that’s all they had left. They had no power to get out of their struggle; they had no power to get out of their weeping; they had no power against their captors; and they had no ability even to change themselves, because their own hearts had become so cold to the things of God. They were absolutely powerless. They headed out from the provision of God, and what had been the glory of God. They were a people who should’ve been set upon a hill and they knew it. The only thing they had left were the promises that God had made to them through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Now the psalmist is saying that those who went forth weeping and had inside of them these precious promises of God, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing with them the fruit of those promises in their possession. You may be in a season of weeping or a time of difficulty. But if you are truly a Christian, if you truly have the Holy Spirit within you, God has made promises to you, and he is not going to leave you where you are. All you may have left in this season of weep- ing is the Word of God and even that seems no bigger than a mustard seed within you. You may just have a little tiny promise left, but Jesus has said that if you have faith even as the size of a mustard seed, this incredible life of God will begin to spring from you. You don’t have to know the whole Bible to get out of weeping; you just have to have one promise of God sown in your heart and you will come out with the fruit of the promises of God in your possession.

■ MAGNIFIED HIS WORD ABOVE HIS NAME Psalm 138, verses 1-3, 7: I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee. I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. In the day when I cried thou answered me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. In verse 2 David says, You have magnified your Word above your name. I used to often wonder, What does that really mean? God, how do you magnify your Word above your name? You see, the Lord has an incredible name, a magnificent name. He says in the Word, “I am a great king.” And as a great king, his name speaks of provision, compassion, mercy, righteousness, justice, and judgment; in fact, everything of the divine nature is found in the name of this great king. But now think of the number of times that you have disgraced his name. Think of the many times that you don’t represent him and are not living a holy life. You do not speak the truth as it ought to be spoken. You walk around saying, “The Lord is my God” and yet you disgrace his name. You have taken his name into your lips, but your actions don’t match his name. In reality both you and I have completely dishonored his name. But still, in spite of how we have treated his magnificent name, he has still given us powerful promises that reside within us, and this is how he has chosen to inter- twine himself with you and with me through his Word. So the psalmist is saying that even though you might have disgraced his name, and misunderstood his character; even though you have doubted or impeached his integrity, and dishonored him before many, even losing heart in the battle, yet he still has upheld his promises to you. “Lord, truly you have set your Word above your name. Hallelujah!” Doesn’t that make your heart come alive? God has given you precious promises, and these promises are as true as his Word is true, so even if you have failed and walked through this world making a mess of his name, his Word to you and his promises to you are still magnified above his name and you will come, bringing the har- vest of a changed life with you.

Carter Conlon March 12, 2006 ©2006 Times Square Church