Do me a favor and please read Psalm 127.
Everything that you do is considered “vain” unless it is God who does it for you. You want to be “blessed” in life? Don’t do things on your own. Allow God to work, lead, guide, and go before you. You want to build a house? You want to protect the city? That’s fine…but make sure God is the builder and protector and not you. Simply stated: trust in God. Whether home, work, play, family, or friends…give it all to God. And for me I appreciate this short psalm – and yet this short psalm sure takes a jab at my feelings (but I’ll get to that).
Our psalm is broken up into two sections and from the look of it, and initial reading, it looks like the psalmist is talking about two different things here for what does “children” have to do with house building or city-watching or getting up early and staying late as you work?
- A house is a blessing and it becomes useless unless God builds it for you (vs 1). The understanding here is that your home is a blessing from God – so see it that way.
- You cannot protect your house or your city, you cannot watch and see your enemies coming unless God is your protector, watcher, and hope. Because what happens when they come? You can fight and try to defend…but the victory of holding strong against your attackers and the “watching” over the city is only in the hands of God (vs 1).
- What good is being a slave to work when it is God who provides your goods? God will give you enough for today. God’s blessings of what is needed today will be provided so don’t work for more than you have or will have (vs 2).
- Children are not only a blessing but they are a blessing from God. In the Ancient Middle East it was believed and understood that the blessing of little ankle-biters came from God. We see it throughout scripture with Mary, Elizabeth, Sara, and countless other women (vs 3-4)
- When your opponent takes you to court and you stand against them…if they have a family of 8 and you have a family of 12? You win. You outnumber your foe. And if all of them are big and strong boys/men? The advantage is CLEARLY to you (vs 5).
So…why am I rubbed raw with this psalm? Well, in order of declarations:
- So if you don’t have a home because you cannot afford it…then you’re not blessed?
- If you and your city are taken over…then God isn’t blessing you?
- If I cannot find work, or cannot get enough food then I am not blessed? If the job I have means I work atrocious hours (or be without a job) then I’m not blessed? Or that I should not work as much as just be happy with the little I do have – even if it won’t provide for my family?
- What if I cannot have kids? What if I never get married? What if I lose my kids – am I not blessed? Does God not love me?
- What about those who take me to court and I lose? What if I have no support and yet I know I’m innocent – am I destined to lose because I SHOULD only win because I have more people on my side?
We believe FIRMLY that God is the author, dictator, and watcheroverer of every part of our lives – and even this world. His hand traces everything (except sin). But what we need to do is check our own feelings and thoughts and first understand the author’s. Times haven’t changed in that the Israelites firmly believed that God was in all things too – which meant that everything you were given, everything received, and everything done was not only to the glory of God but the results were the blessings of God. You got an abundance of crops this year? God blessed you because while you sowed the seeds he brought the rain, gave you the sun, and moon. You were able to have a boy? God blessed you (yes, “boys” were considered a blessing more than girls as they kept the family name going) because you have kids to help with the house, carry on the family name, and to bring you MORE to the family (grandkids). You have a house, food on the table, a field to work in or a boat to go out in? Then God blessed you.
Do we feel any different today? To the devout believer do we hold to anything different from the above “blessings?” Not at all. You have a job, you have kids, you have a home…then you feel and declare that you are “blessed.” We all say it and we all feel it. But what we need to remember is that simply because we don’t have kids, don’t have a marriage, or don’t have a job DOES NOT MEAN we are not “blessed” by God.
The reality and truth that this psalm is declaring is that “blessings” are about what God is doing and not what you are receiving. Who grows the trees or compresses the rock that allow us to have building material? Is it you…or God? Who watches over every city on earth? Who topples powers and prepares evil for their ultimate destruction? We may drop seed but who provided the seed in the first place? Who brings the rain and sun? Who grows the seed into a crop that helps, sustains, and brings nutrition? Who provides you with energy to work and created a body that is able to work hard and rest harder so that tomorrow you could have the energy and ability to do it again? Who created our bodies to have children?
No, this psalm isn’t declaring that God blesses those with these things and that if you don’t have them you aren’t blessed. The psalmist is simply declaring that in their understanding, in their culture, in their life EVERYTHING THEY HAVE should be counted as a blessing because none of what we do is on our own ability and strength.
So wherever you are, whatever you “have” or don’t have…REALLY LOOK at your life and realize the blessings that God bestows. You may not feel you have much and in fact you may not have “much” in the way of our society’s standards but that doesn’t mean God doesn’t love you or want you to be blessed. And ultimately, the “blessings” we have declare redemption, salvation, and life-eternal and none of those things have ANYTHING to say about children, homes, work, or anything today. True blessings…come when Christ returns. But until that day happens, whatever you do – do it for the Lord.