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Sunday, July 3, 2016 pm                                        Psalms Index

 

Studies in Psalms
BLESSED IS HE WHO FEARS THE LORD
Psalm 128

 

We are continuing our study of the psalms of ascents, a group of 15 psalms believed to be sung as Israelites journeyed toward Jerusalem for various festive occasions.   In our last psalm (127) we observed the need for the LORD to build the house and how children are a heritage from the LORD.  Psalm 128 is believed to be a companion to that psalm as it addresses the home in its more mature state.  It describes the blessedness of those who fear the LORD. 

 I.                     Blessed are those who fear the LORD

a.       We need to fear the LORD – what does that mean?  Be reminded that to fear the Lord means that we render to Him the reverence He is due.  We exalt Him to the place He deserves in our lives (first place). 
The fear of the LORD is a frequent theme of scripture -
Psalm 19:9, The fear of the LORD is related to His law and described as, “clean, enduring forever”
Psalm 111:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.
Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” …fools despise wisdom and instruction
Proverbs 8:13, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil”, also pride, arrogance and the evil way.
Proverbs 10:27, it prolongs our days; 14:26-27 – brings strong confidence and is a fountain of life

The conclusion of the whole matter, Eccl. 12:13-14 – Solomon concluded that our purpose in life is to fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.
Proverbs 23:17, “Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day;”

Ecclesiastes 8:12, “Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him.”

b.       Who walks in His ways – this cannot be separated from “the fear of the Lord”.  
1 John 2:4-6, He who professes to know Him and does not keep His commandments is a liar.  We seek to walk as He walked.
1 John 5:2-3 – we must love God and keep His commandments. 
this is how we show that we “fear” Him and love Him.
 3 John 3-4, John found joy in knowing that his “children” were walking in truth.

c.        He is “blessed” – one upon whom the LORD shows favor.
But also it is descriptive of one whose life is full and pleasant.  Typically, this is not based upon how much we possess materially, but our disposition and direction in life. 

 II.                   The home of the godly

a.       NOTE: This is the rule.  While there are exceptions, if truth be known, when we genuinely seek the Lord in our homes, it will be a place of blessing. 

b.       Happiness when you eat the labor of your hands & all shall be well with you

– contentment, and perhaps abundance.  
Proverbs 15:16, Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, Than great treasure with trouble.
1 Timothy 6:6 reminds us that godliness with contentment is great gain.
In the godly home, man is happy with little or much, as long as his family is fine.  (Again remember Psalm 127 3-5).
Perhaps, in considering the home we are reminded to stay within our boundaries and eat our own fruit, and not that of others.  Proverbs 5:18 says, “Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth.”
Furthermore, if you trust in God, it will be well with you in the end (Romans 8:31).

c.        Your wife will be like a fruitful vine – a happy relationship.  The Bible is clear in presenting the roles of both husband and wife.  While not acceptable by many in our society, we must accept that God knows best in these things.  A godly wife fulfills her role and enhances the home (as the husband fulfills his role).  Both treat each other with dignity and honor (1 Peter 3:1-2, 7, cf. 1 Timothy 2:15, etc.).   I’m reminded of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 as she is productive and an asset to her husband.   This IS how God intends the home to be!

d.       Your children like olive plants – in preparing this lesson I read that young olive plants spring up around their “parent” and begin to produce themselves.   This is the picture of this psalm AND the goal within a family.  Children that are raised to leave home and produce a family of their own (see vs. 6). 
Just as scripture is clear with the husband/wife role, so with the parent/child role is defined.  Children are to honor their parents (Ephesians 6:1-3, Proverbs 6:20, 31:28, etc.). 
Parents are to raise godly children (Eph. 6:4, cf. 2 Tim. 1:5, 3:15, etc.).  Proverbs 22:6 tells us, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Sadly there are circumstances where such does not develop.  Some, in spirt of the efforts of godly parents refuse to submit (and vise-versa), but the general rule is as Solomon speaks. 
AGAIN, this is the home that the LORD has built, based upon the fear of the Lord and walking in His ways. 

e.       All around the table – the exact meaning of this could be related to an abundance of offspring.  But I cannot help but think of the need for “the table” today.  We need that time when we meet together as a family and just talk about our day.   Sadly, this has been replaced far too often with the tv tray in front of the tv or everyone just grabbing something on the way out the door to whatever busyness they are involved in.  We need family time.

f.         Vs. 4 – repetition of vs. 1, Thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.

 III.                 Blessed out of Zion

a.       The LORD bless you out of Zion – Zion, where blessing begins. 
Many of these psalms of Ascent appeal to Jerusalem and Zion.  We have described Zion as the place where the LORD meets with His people, so it is here.   Physically it is Jerusalem, spiritually – the meaning can be deeper. 
Our goal must always be to dwell in the presence of God.  How does that happen?  Cf. Psalm 15 & 24:3-5 – who may ascend to His presence. 

b.       May you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life – the prayer of the Psalmist is that all the days of one’s life they will see good as the LORD God blesses His people and His place of dwelling.  Continually in the prophets and in the LORD’s promise to Israel via Moses and Solomon, there is hope of His blessing so long as they remain faithful to Him. 
The deeper meaning of this request includes an understanding that for such to exist, the man AND the city must fear the LORD and walk in His ways!    Sadly, they didn’t always do this!

c.        May you see your children’s children – Proverbs 17:6 says, “Children’s children are the crown of old men, And the glory of children is their father.  
This expression is a prayer for long lasting blessings.  Blessings that extend for many generations.   Friends, the ONLY way this will happen is if we leave them a heritage in the LORD.  It is imperative that we leave a spiritual legacy for our children and beyond.  The sad history of Israel, even a single generation after inheriting the land shows a failure to do this – see Judges 2:10.  And it became repetitive of their history. 
What are we leaving our grandchildren?   Proper grounding will often lead not only to children obeying, but it will pass on for generations.  A problem that younger generations often fail to grasp is the wisdom behind what the previous generation did.  There is a reason the older generation is concerned at the direction society AND the church are going!  They see moral standards eroding and being disregarded for the latest and greatest fads.  Part of the fault lies in older generations that fail to properly GROUND and warn the next generation, but it also can be found in a youthful generation that wants change just for the sake of change.   May we never be caught up in such!

d.       NOTE: We have observed that if our nation is to change, it will begin with the home. 
As parents we have an AWESOME responsibility to ground our children in truth.  Don’t see how close to the line of morality you can take them without crossing it.  THINK before you say yes to what they watch, where they go and how they spend their time.  There is a reason I preach that you should not go to the prom and such, why what we wear matters, why we shouldn’t engage in social drinking, why we should not go to R-rated movies (and many PG-13 movies as well).  There is a reason we emphasize the need to attend every service and put value on the Lord’s church, and to be careful with who you associate with – both physically AND spiritually.  Their future and the future of society depends on this!   If you don’t raise them to FEAR GOD and walk in His ways (cf. Matthew 6:33), they may just go a different direction as soon as they leave home.
We have to create homes where God is reverenced and honored and multiply such if our society is to change. AND when we accomplish this, it can change our society for the good for generations to come!

e.       Peace be upon Israel.   The closing benediction of the psalmist.

 

And thus we see another psalm – a blessing and a prayer.  May we consider these things carefully and resolve that no matter what, we WILL fear the LORD and walk in His ways.  Think about it!