Psalm 128

In Psalm 127, Solomon explained the vanity of work without first having placed ones trust in the Lord.  Here the psalmist looks at the converse. Everyone who fears the Lord and walks according to His ways will be blessed.  It will be as if the curse from Genesis 3 has been lifted.

Their labor will be blessed and fruitful.  They shall eat and enjoy the fruit of their toil.  Their wife will be fruitful and multiply.  She will be a blessing to her husband and children.  The children of the man who fears the Lord will be productive and strong.  This is the blessing for the man who fears the Lord and walks in his ways.

The one who fears the Lord is not only concerned with himself, but for Jerusalem and the people of God.  Thus, the blessing he receives ultimately extends beyond the individual, and beyond the present.  When God’s people fear him and walk in His ways, the Lord blesses them corporately and eternally. The Lord will bless them from Zion!

So often we leave the Lord out of our plans.  We work and strive for success, but we only find failure.  This is not the case when we trust in the Lord and seek His will.  Though the world will groan under the curse that came from Adam’s sin, the people of God will once again be fruitful and multiply.  They will fill the earth and enjoy the fruit of their labors.  This eternal perspective of failure and blessing will allow God’s people to rejoice, for we have overcome the world.

Psalm 127

Solomon knew all too well the vanity of toil apart from trust in the Lord.  In Ecclesiastes 2:24-26, he discussed how God uses the sinful to gather and collect only to give what they have gathered to those who trust in Him.  Likewise, it is vanity to labor and build a house apart from following the Lord.  The idea of building a house should be understood as more than a building, but as a household; it includes the rearing of children.  To labor to build a family without first trusting in and submitting to the Lord, is a vain endeavor.

In the same manner, laboring to protect a city without first trusting the Lord is vanity.  Solomon knew that real security came from being connected with the Lord and not by human strength and wisdom.  How often we work ourselves ragged trying to provide for our families or secure our future.  The point is not to devalue work, but to place it in a proper perspective.  Without the blessing of sovereign God, we work in vain.

Having established the necessity of God’s care and provision for his people, Solomon focuses his attention on children as part of that blessing.  The Lord blesses his people with children as a heritage, “Like arrows to a warrior are the sons of one’s youth” verse 4.  Sons were like arrows because they would grow and be able to protect and care for their aging parents.

The man with a quiver full of children was blessed because he would be secure in his old age.  His children would provide for him and would be advocates for him.  They would seek justice at the gate and protect their elderly parents from oppression. The elderly were weak and vulnerable, but God provided children to care for their parents as instruments of His blessing.  This was the manner in which God built the home for those who trusted in Him.

Whether one was young and building a family or elderly with a grown family, the Lord cared for those who trusted in him.  This is still true today.  Our hope is not in a big 401k, or an alarm system.  Our hope is in the Lord.  When we trust in Him we can find rest in the midst of our toils.

Psalm 126

The people of God were taken into captivity and forcibly removed from the land that the Lord had promised their father Abraham.  They were sojourners in a foreign empire for decades.  Undoubtedly, many had given up hope of ever returning to their beloved land.  Surely they questioned whether God had forgotten or abandoned them in the nation of their enemies.

Then unexpectedly, they receive the news that they were being restored to Zion.  The news was too good to be true.  It was as if they were dreaming!  They were filled with laughter and shouts of joy.  God had remembered his promise and was going to restore his people.  Just as the Lord delivered the people from captivity in Egypt, this second exodus would deliver them from exile and restore them to the land of promise.

Once again the nations took notice of the great things God was doing for his people, Israel.  God was moving on their behalf and the world was in awe.  In acknowledgement of this, Israel rejoiced in the goodness and blessings of God, but the rejoicing soon faded.

When the remnant of the people returned to Zion, they didn’t find the promise land they expected.  When the nation of Israel originally entered the land, they received cities which they did not build and vineyards they did not plant. (Joshua 24:13)  However, those returning from exile found Jerusalem in ruins and the people experienced famine.  Thus, they cried out to God to restore their fortunes.

The people once again are encouraged to trust in the Lord.  Though there is famine, they will sow their seed in tears trusting they will reap with shouts of joy!  The Lord will bless and they will have a bountiful harvest, bringing in their sheaves.  Their experience has been one of heartbreak and difficulty, yet by trusting in the Lord they are joyful and content.  In Christ, we can live in the tension of the harsh reality of our circumstances while rejoicing because of our trust in Him.