Turn again, O Jehovah, our captivity,
Like the streams in the south.
— Psalm 126:1-4
There are many things that capture us. For example, in the church life there are many complaints. Sometimes saints complain that the elders are not burdened enough. They complain that the young ones are too wild. Then they complain that the church life is too unbalanced. It is too focused in one direction. Some saints may complain, “The gospel is strong among us, but we are short of the enjoyment of life.” Others may complain, “We have so much enjoyment of life, but we are short of preaching the gospel.” With all of these complaints and opinions, there is only one “antidote.” That antidote is to pray, “Turn again our captivity, O Lord.” Why do we complain about the church life? Because the practice of the church life is against our self. In this psalm it is not the world that captures us, it is our self-life. When we are still under the captivity of our self-life, then our exercise in the church life will be frustrated.
We all need to be released from the captivity of our self-life. In this captivity we lose our enjoyment of the Lord and the enjoyment of the church life. Eventually we are not satisfied. If someone were to ask us, “Do you find the church life satisfying?” our answer would probably be, “Yes I do, but”
The “but” is a reflection on ourselves. It means, “Yes, the church life is satisfying, but I am still in captivity. I am captured especially by my self-life.” We should not point our finger at anyone else; we should point it at ourselves. This is why such a sweet and enjoyable psalm has this thought. At first when we are brought into the Lord’s testimony after striving and struggling, we are joyful. We are like those that dream. But then eventually we have a cry. “Lord, O Lord, turn again our captivity.” We long to be released from ourselves.
Adapted from The Journey of Life, pages 61-62.
Tomorrow: “Like the Streams in the South”