Day 14 – Reaping With Joy – 2023

Day 14 – Reaping With Joy – 2023

“Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.” 

Psalm 126:6 

Read Psalm 126 

I am fascinated by a line from my favorite band: “If you plant ice, you’re gonna harvest wind” (Grateful Dead, Franklin’s Tower). We were deeply blessed in Fall 2022 when a group of colleagues played the song in the Warkentine Culture and Arts Center at a faculty seminar. It is a reminder that among the vicissitudes that we have all seen in recent years, we are still more likely to attain success when we have laid good groundwork—we hope to share “shouts of joy” with our community. 

This psalm is thought to have accompanied the pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem—a Song of Ascents. It holds a central role in Jewish thought: it was a contender for the Jewish national anthem! The return with glad shouts is included in Brahms’ Requiem. The Lord will restore our fortunes, and sadness will turn to joy when we carry in the sheaves. 

Hosea reminds us of the inherent admonition, “For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” (8:7). But even though there is cause to weep, our sowing must be intentional. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin reaped the good harvest, and he recited Psalm 126 when he signed the second Camp David accord with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1979. Our sowing is rarely easy, but we need to recall Paul’s message to the church in Galatia: “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). 

Lord, we are weary, but we know that you intend for us to reap the harvest. Let us not give up but work together in your name. May your Kingdom come. 

Advent Devotions
W. Marshall Johnston, Ph.D.

W. Marshall Johnston, Ph.D.

Professor of Ancient History and Classics Fresno Pacific University


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