Karl already did a great job of covering Psalm 126 yesterday, but here are my 2 cents on how it speaks to me. For all of the suffering that one might endure within their lifetime, there is redemption through our belief in God. We need to recognize and rejoice in the times that things are going well and give thanks to God. The year 2020 has been challenging to say the very least, but if we remain confident that God will provide what we need, he will restore us. Verse 4 mentions the Negev, which is a dry desert area in Israel. As I had to look it up, it receives about 2-3 centimeters of precipitation per year only. In climates like that, when it does rain, it can come down torrentially for a very short time. In those short rainy periods, the gullies and other low areas would quickly fill up, and therefore be restored with water for a period of time. God’s restorative power can have the same effect on those of us who trust in Him.
Nehemiah and the Israelites are celebrating and giving thanks to God after the completion of the wall around Jerusalem after returning from exile in Babylon. The prayer at the end of the passage, in particular the part that spans part of verse 5 and all of verse 6, is a great short prayer that could be recited daily as part of your regular prayer routine.
In Luke, Jesus has just selected his 12 apostles. I think that it is important to point out that there are words here that refer to a large number of disciples who came to hear him speak and be healed. We are most familiar with the 12, but there were plenty of other followers who faithfully would gather to listen to him speak. I also think that it’s important to point out that people were there just simply to reach out and touch his cloak for healing. Imagine that kind of faith, that your hope is to just barely nick the outer cloak of Jesus in hopes of being healed of your ailments. That’s true faith! It makes me picture the fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel where God is straining to reach out to a nonchalant Adam. He wants to be with us. If we just return the favor and reach back for Him, we too can be healed.