Journal Ps 126-127 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream…(a dramatic pause here)…
Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy!! Then “they” (the other nations?) said among the nations: “The Lord has done great things for them!”
The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad…
Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Ps 126:1-3 and 5-6)
Observation: It is worth the effort to search and wonder how the Psalmist might have said what he writes out loud; to experiment with inflections and pauses until I might respond, “Yeah, that sounds right…”
Application: There isn’t much scripture that is an interesting read in a monotone and strict cadence, “da ta da ta da ta da ta da…” and so on.
Being the Living Word, I decided way back when that I needed to read the Bible with some life in it. That meant,
- Pauses where pauses might be needed
- Shouts or raising the voice in emphasis
- Fast in some places, slow in others, and
- Little comments here and there to keep the reader or listener attuned to the subject matter, or changes of speakers, etc.
Take the first line of Ps 126: “…we were like those who dream… (And then) …Our mouths were filled with laughter…”
I can imagine what the Holy Spirit is describing here. Israel is witnessing God restoring the fortunes of Zion and doing it without Israel’s input. The result was a “drop the mic” moment; jaws dropped; mouth wide open but without a sound.
And then the whoop and hollering started and Israel’s praise to God went amuck with laughter and joy!
Not only Israel, but the nations surrounding Israel could not but recognize what Israel’s God had done: “Then “they” (the other nations?) said among the nations: “The Lord has done great things for them!” Were the other nations stunned? Amazed? In wonder? Shaking their heads saying, “Their God restored them again? How can that be?”
It makes a difference on how scripture is read, not only in silence, but especially out loud. Reminder:
(Paul writing to Timothy) “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture…” (1 Tim 4:13a)
Prayer: Father, your word is full of life. Therefore, keep me from sounding like dead nails rat-tat-tating when I read your word.
Ricky Two Shoes