A Song For "Second Helpings"

Text: Psalm 126

Carol and I had a delightful meal with some dear friends last week. Every time we get together there are ample portions of laughter and a regular recycling of memories. While we were enjoying good food and good company, the host of the evening stood up from her chair and went to the kitchen. She returned with a second plate of ham and potatoes. She said, “Harry, how about some more food?”

In my mind I had rehearsed all the reasons why I needed to forego another portion of meat and vegetables. I also reminded myself that dessert would be offered shortly and I would have to refuse that as well. And so with firmness in my voice I said, “Sure, this is a great meal. I’ll be glad to try a second-helping!” I’ll be quick to note that the dessert was also extraordinary!

Good meals are often accompanied with “second helpings.” We don’t always ask for more. Gracious hosts simply ask us if we want more and we respond accordingly.

God provides us with "second helpings." Second helpings of grace, mercy, forgiveness, and hope. And it is worth singing about when it happens! That is why God has given us Psalm 126.

Psalm 126 is another one of the fifteen psalms of ascent. This particular piece of poetry has no specific historical setting. However, it does point to a time in the past when the LORD “restored the fortunes of Zion (v. 1).” It could have been a reference to Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage. Some bible students think it is a reference to the end of the nation’s seventy-year captivity. In fact, the psalm could have been written against the backdrop of any military oppression. What is significant is that the psalmist affirms that the Lord restored his people in unspecified ways in the past (vv. 2-3).

However, it is important to notice that past deliverance (vv. 1-2) led to a present reality (v. 3b), followed by a request for future deliverance (vv. 4-6). The centerpiece of the psalm is found in v. 4, “Restore our fortunes, O LORD.” What the psalmist wants us to know is simply this:

Since God is a deliverance God, you can keep asking Him for a second-helping of deliverance. 

You might protest and say that your failures are too great or your problem is too overwhelming. But the writer of this song invites ancient and modern spiritual pilgrims to come back to the table. He wants us to have a “second helping of deliverance.” 

  • WHY IS THIS POSSIBLE? The LORD who is mentioned in verses 1 & 4 is a God who pours out abundant grace on His people. He did it numerous times in the nation’s wilderness wonderings (cf. Numbers 21:4-9), and He does it in the lives of Christians as well (cf. JN 1:16).   
  • WHEN SHOULD YOU ASK FOR HIS DELIVERANCE? All the time! Unfortunately our self-imposed agendas often lead us into deceptive self-sufficiency. And then trouble strikes. It might be a scary diagnosis, a concern about our jobs or our children. But those are the contexts in which God holds out His grace for us to partake. So whatever the circumstance, ask Him for a “second helping of deliverance.”
  • WHAT WILL YOU DO WHEN HE ACTUALLY DELIVERS? The Apostle Paul phrases it so very well. “Rejoice. I will say it again, Rejoice!” (PHIL 4:4)  Or in the words of our text for the week, “We are glad.”  Tell the One who has delivered you how grateful you are for His presence in your life.

What are the challenges you are facing this week? Take a moment to look back and recall how the Lord was there for you in the past. Then ask him for His “second helping of deliverance.”

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