Focus verses: Psalm 126
This psalm talks of the joy of the exiles’ return to Jerusalem and prays for a restoration of fortune on top of their return home.
Harvest is a time of joy. When the crop comes in it means money in the pocket. But harvest in Israel means more than that.
Harvesting grapes for wine meant the grapes were crushed for their juice. Then the juice was set aside to ferment before being put into a new wineskin.
Harvesting grain meant that the stem was cut and the heads were winnowed to separate the grain from the chaff. Winnowing in that time meant that the heads were pounded, then tossed into the air from a wide flat basket. The grain came back down into the basket, but the chaff blew away on the breeze.
Harvesting the olives meant that the trees were beaten with sticks to shake the branches and make the olives drop. Then the olives were put into a press, much like a mill stone, where stones pressed the olive oil out of the fruit.
God’s harvest is His people. And they are also crushed and set aside, cut off and winnowed, beaten and pressed. The victory is that God is always there. And we are to rejoice even when we are being harvested.
It’s easy enough to praise the Lord when the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and we are feasting. Can we praise him during the vicious storm, when everything has taken cover, and we are cold an hungry? He is always bringing in His sheaves.
Help us to remember that life is not all sunshine and roses, but that You are God of all in the tempest and storm. Grant us the assurance that whatever befalls us, You are there with Your everlasting arms to surround and support us.