Beliefnet
Mark D. Roberts

Restore our fortunes, LORD,
as streams renew the desert.

Psalm 126:4

Psalm 126 begins by celebrating the return of the Israelites from exile (126:1). It was a time of laughter as God’s people rejoiced in the “amazing things” God had done for them (126:2-3).

But the festivity did not last. In time, Israel began to resemble a dry desert, a place of infertility and inhospitality. So the psalmist cries out, “Restore our fortunes, LORD, as streams renew the desert” (126:4). The Hebrew of this verse refers to a particular desert region, the Negev, which lay to the south of Israel. For most of the year, it was a dry and desolate place. But when the rains came and filled its streambeds, the Negev would soon be blanketed with flowers and other natural growth. (Photo: The Negev today, from Beersheba. Photo courtesy of http://www.holylandphotos.org/.

Beersheba-Negev-stream-8.jpgIn the last couple of years, the Hill Country of Texas suffered a major drought. To make matters even worse, last summer we experienced all-time record heat. Trees wilted, plants dried up, and the normally lush Hilly Country began to look more and more like a desert. But all of this changed last fall when the skies began to pour. Since then we have been blessed with an unusually wet series of months. Having never experienced anything like this before, I have been amazed at how the streams of water have renewed the Hill Country. Trees look fresh and vibrant. Plants have rejuvenated. My grass is growing like a jungle. And flowers are abundant. (Photo: Wildflowers near Willow City in the Texas Hill Country.)

wildflowers-willow-1-8.jpgWe all go through dry seasons in our lives, times when our souls are parched and our hearts yearn for living water. In these seasons, we echo the prayer of Psalm 126:4: “Restore our fortunes, LORD, as streams renew the desert.” We look to the Spirit of God to wash over us and flow within us, giving us a fresh sense of God’s grace and empowering us to live fruitfully.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have there been times in your life when you have felt like a parched desert? When? What happened? Are you yearning to be renewed through the power of God’s Spirit? Have you asked for this grace?

PRAYER: Gracious God, thank you for your renewing grace, for the way you restore us and give us new life. Thank you for seasons of dryness that remind us of just how much we need your living water. And thank you for all the times you restore our fortunes as streams renew the desert.
Continue to make us new, Lord, through the presence of your Spirit. When our souls are parched, may we open them to you. Refresh us in your grace, so that we might live full and fruitful lives.
All praise be to you, O God who waters the earth and renews our souls. Amen.

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This devotional comes from The High Calling of Our Daily Work (www.thehighcalling.org), a wonderful website about work and God. You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace.

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