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Sunday, Jun 5, 2016 pm                                                            Psalms Index

 

STUDIES IN PSALMS
Unless the LORD Builds the House
Psalm 127

 

Tonight we continue our study of the psalms.  In the midst of the psalms of Ascents, we find the only psalm attributed to Solomon.  It is also a psalm that is quoted from time to time.   Let us examine this psalm as we do the rest.

 I.                     Unless the LORD build the house (1-2)

a.       The premise of this psalm – whatever we do, ought to be done with His blessing.
Colossians 3:17 tells us all ought to be done with His authority. 
We must welcome it as the word of God that effectively works within us – 1 Thessalonians 2:13

b.       Unless the Lord build the house they labor in vain who build it – it matters not what one does, he cannot defeat the Lord.  God is in control.
Hebrews 3:4 reminds us that all things are built by God.
Since this is a psalm of ascents, written by Solomon, certainly the temple would be considered.  As they journeyed toward and within the city, they would see the place that God gave His instructions to build.  Yes, it was built by Solomon and many workers, but ultimately it was with God’s blessing.
On the other hand, man attempts to build all sorts of things without God.  In time, such things are destined to doom! 
In the Bible I think of the tower of Babel – Genesis 11:1-9.  God confounded the people.  
Haman built gallows to hang Mordecai.  Instead he was hanged on it (Esther 5:14, 7:9-10).
When God created this world, He knew exactly what He was doing!  The laws He gives us in His word are for our good.  Even things we do not understand, we cannot question Him.
All things work together for good… Romans 8:28 – according to His purpose. 

c.        What types of houses are we building? Is the Lord building them? 

                                                   i.      Consider our homes – I am convinced this is one of the premises of this psalm considering vs. 3-5.  We have emphasized the importance of the family in shaping a society.  Imagine where we would be if men respected God’s pattern for the home.  Husbands and wives fulfilling their roles, homes with two parents that love each other and them, children that honor their parents, etc. 

                                                 ii.      The church – just at the people of this psalm could see the temple and utter the opening words of this psalm, so it is with us and His church.  Matt. 16:18 emphasizes that Jesus built His church.  WE know from Ephesians 3:11 (and Isaiah 2:2) that this was according to God’s eternal purpose.  If ever there was a truth to the statement of this psalm, it certainly applies to the Lord’s church. 
Eph. 5:24 reminds us that the church is to be subject to Christ (as a wife is subject to her husband).
We need to clearly understand that unless the Lord builds the church, they labor in vain who build something else.  What does that say of the multitude of manmade churches today?

                                                iii.      Our character – are we letting the word of the Lord dictate how we conduct ourselves?  Are we letting Him shape who we are and what we are becoming.  Romans 12:1-2 calls for us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we may prove the perfect will of God.

                                                iv.      A nation – Proverbs 14:34 tells us, “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.  Nations that forget about the ways of God are doomed to failure. 

d.       Unless the LORD guards the city – the watchman stays awake in vain. 
Again, you cannot defeat the purpose of God. 
I think of the Assyrian army surrounding Jerusalem and Sennacherib boasting.  Yet God defeated him.   I think of the Pharaoh of Egypt who rebelled in the face of God and the devastation of his nation.
ULTIMATELY, I think of Jerusalem that depended upon the LORD for deliverance, but at His will the city fell.  Why did Babylon defeat Jerusalem (and Assyria defeat Samaria)?  Because the LORD ceased guarding the city!
I think of nations who throughout history have tried to outlaw God’s word, but have failed miserably.
Physically, I think of the Titanic which in arrogance was supposedly unsinkable, yet on its maiden voyage, it sank and hundreds perished.
NOTE: Vs. 2 accords with much of Ecclesiastes which was written by Solomon who declared all the ways of this life are vanity.  The conclusion of the matter – fear God and keep His commandments (Eccl. 12:13-14)

e.       Vain attempts – to rise early, stay up late, eat bread of sorrows – toiling, etc.  It matters now how much you do or how hard you try; you cannot defeat the Lord.  Society often tries and works hard to accomplish things contrary to the will of God.  In time it will be defeated.

f.         He gives His beloved sleep – those who belong to Him (in trust) will sleep. 
Rest is an essential need in this life.  We all need sleep to rejuvenate the body.  Some have said that this is when God does His work on the body (sleep sometimes contributes to us getting better, relaxes soreness, refreshes the mind, etc.) 
One of the anticipations Christians anticipate is rest – eternal rest (Hebrews 4:1, Revelation 14:13), and peace in this life that no matter what happens, all is well.  Eccl. 5:12 speaks of the sleep of a laboring man being sweet. 
I think of Peter in that prison asleep when the angel awakens him (Acts 12:5-6).

g.       In these verse we find our source of Comfort – if God be for us, who can be against us?  Romans 8:31-32

 II.                   Children are a heritage

a.       There is blessing in children, the fruit of the womb is a reward  – they are a reward from God.  One author noted that children can be expensive and exhausting, but even so, the joy they bring outweighs it all.   The precious child that says, “I love you” and is there beside you is a joy we will not trade for anything. 
Continually there is an understanding that children are a blessing – those barren understand this.  In scripture, women saw their children as the favor of God upon them (Think of Elizabeth in Luke 1:24-25 saying the Lord had taken away her reproach, and Hannah – the mother of Samuel – 1 Samuel 1:19-20, etc.)
Too bad, far too many fail to realize this and practice poor stewardship with their children, or choose to murder them rather than giving them a chance at life.  And equally grievous is the child who is unappreciative of his/her parents and lives in rebellion (Proverbs 17:25) 

b.       Like arrows in the hand of a warrior – one wonders what is meant by this expression.  When you consider that you shoot an arrow, you point it toward a target and let it go.  If it is properly “trained” it will hit its target.  So it is with our children.  We are given our children only for so long.  They are a blessing from God, but they are also a stewardship.  God has blessed us with raising a soul that will spend eternity somewhere.  Parents must take this responsibility seriously – Proverbs 22:6 tells us to train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. 
Ephesians 6:4 calls for fathers to bring up their children in the training and admonition of the Lord. 
What an awesome thought knowing that we will have the greatest impact on the direction of a soul.  Consider Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and how parents were to instruct their children in the law.
Sometimes, in spite of what we do, he strays.  But often, his response is the product of our efforts. 

c.        Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them this is just another description of the blessedness of children, sometimes MANY children. 

d.       They shall not be ashamed but shall speak with their enemies at the gate – with confidence they answer their enemies.  They stand up in defense of their parents and care for them. 
Proverbs 27:11 says, “My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, That I may answer him who reproaches me.”
I see in this expression children that honor and obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1-3).  I see children who love their parents, realizing the sacrifices that were made on their behalf.  That is why in later years, they are there and willing to care for them (cf. 1 Timothy 5:8, 16). 

 

Ultimately in this psalm, we find faithful Israelites considering their heavenly Father.  Much of what we have said in this lesson we have applied to our physical families, and rightly so.  But what about spiritually?  Do we act like the heritage (inheritance) of our heavenly Father?  Do we bring Him joy rather than shame?  Do we trust Him as He deserves? Do we live with the realization that in the end, His will shall prevail?  May we, consider the message of this psalm, both physically AND spiritually.