Psalms 126 A Song of Degrees:
“When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongues with the singing; then said they among the heathen, the Lord hath done great things for them. The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south. They that sow in tears come again to rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Lessons from the Trees – The Story of Honi
The Talmud tells the story of Honi. When Honi read this first line of Psalm 126, he wondered to himself: the Jewish people spent seventy years exiled in Babylonia. This verse implies that we were sleeping and in a dream state for all those years, when God decided to bring us home to the land of Israel. Is it possible that someone could sleep for that long? One day Honi was traveling along a road when he saw a man planting a carob tree. Honi stopped and watched the man for some time then asked, “How long before this tree can bear fruit?” The man replied, “Seventy years.” Honi then asked the man, “Do you think you will be alive in seventy years to eat the fruit of the tree you are planting?” The man stopped, thought, and then answered, “Probably not. However, when I was born into this world there were already many carob trees. Trees were planted by my father and my grandfather; just as they planted trees for me, I am planting trees for my children and my grandchildren to enjoy and eat the fruit.” The lesson of Honi is when we plant a tree it is not so much for us but for the sake of future generations. During the seventy years the carob tree will take to bear fruit many things happen: roots will dig into the earth, branches will stretch upwards to the sky, leaves will grow and birds will find a home. Having to wait for something good is not wasted time. Good things happen along the way. As Psalm 126 says, “May those who sow in tears, reap with shouts of joy.” Doing something that challenges us physically, mentally or spiritually now can be difficult, but the rewards in the future will be greater than any strife we feel in the moment.
Points of Interest:
We live in a world of instant gratification. We want action and reaction immediately and become disinterested or dissatisfied when we are made to wait. The Lord shows us throughout the bible that he first equips us for our calling and in His time we are called to action. It also shows us that we may not know the role we are given or the chain of events that they will spark. Examples in scripture include:
v Ruth – Her decision to leave the life she knew for a foreign land led to a chain of events she could never have expected. She would have no way of knowing that she would go from gleaning to marrying the wealthy land owner. She also did not live to see the chain reaction of her decision to follow Naomi. Her tree bore fruit with the preserved lineage of Jesus Christ.
v Rahab – Her decision to help the spies and follow the Lord was a decision with immediate reaction but the fruit was not seen until Boaz married Ruth and in doing so maintained the lineage of Christ.
v Joseph – His decision to share the interpretation of the cupbearer and baker’s dreams was one that did not immediately produce fruit but years later the chain of events that lead to his appointment of the highest position in the Land.
v Search your life and see what the Lord has done for you through the provision of those that came before you.
v Seek opportunities to plant trees for future generations. Ask the Lord what you can do today and each day.
v Challenges yourself physically, mentally and spiritually with the focus on the fruit you are producing and how you might grow as well as help those around you grow.