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June 21, 2021 2:00 am
I am considering with you this evening. Psalm 127. One of the Psalms of Ascent. There are 15 of those they began it. Psalm 120 and go through Psalm 134 again 15 in all in the Psalms of Ascent were Psalms that were used by pilgrims who would make their trek to Jerusalem, primarily for the three of festive holidays. The Jews were commanded to go to the temple.
So as Jews would make their pilgrimage. This was part of the journey, they would saying the Psalms of Ascent. We don't know in what order we don't know how frequent we just know that this was the religious practice.
So these hymns. The Psalms are hymns that were part of the hymnody of the Jewish religion so I say that because we wouldn't necessarily think of the content of Psalm 127 being suited for a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for worship, but indeed was given for not just that purpose exclusively, but was one of the purposes that it was used so Psalm 127. Again, laboring and prospering with the Lord is the subheading of the Psalm. The song of a sentence of Solomon. There are only two of the Psalms that are credited to Solomon.
This Psalm and Psalm 72. So when you listen to the words of Psalm 127. Listen for Solomon what he's known for, and what we attribute him to when we think of Solomon and particularly the book of Ecclesiastes beginning in verse one, unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build unless the Lord guards the city, the watchmen stays awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early to sit up late to eat the bread of sorrows for so he gives his beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward, like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate Psalm 2127 again is attributed to Solomon and you see in verse one twice the word vain and then again in verse two. The word vain and were reminded of Solomon and what he said some summation of the book of Ecclesiastes vanity of vanities, all is vanity vain and utterly meaningless, utterly meaningless. Everything is meaningless. Vanity what we make of that. Well what what were being told here again the word vain in our Webster's dictionary is defined as having no real value or significance being worthless being emptied, being hollow, futile, fruitless, unprofitable, and there are few things in life that are more disturbing than the thought that our effort might prove to be empty and fruitless.
What we yearn all of us yearn to count for something to live with the confidence of what were doing has meaning and has significance. We want our lives to be meaningful.
But the text says unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it unless the Lord guards the city, the watchmen stays up late in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early to set up late to eat the bread of sorrows for so he gives his beloved sleep, useless, meaningless in vain is everything meaningless will yes if we leave God out of the picture. Building is useless unless the Lord builds the house precautions are useless unless the Lord watches over the city useless unless the Lord blesses our work unless the Lord blesses our family are Herculean labors are in vain. They are not in vain. However, if God is and what we're doing. But if God is not a part of that if God is not at the center of that if God is not involved in that than all of our efforts. According to the word of God is fruitless is meaningless. So we see here in the very beginning of Psalm 127.
This warning in the morning is this without God's blessing our efforts will prove empty without God's blessing our efforts will prove empty empty, vain, meaningless, of no value without the Lord frustration with the Lord.
Satisfaction. So were confronted here in verse one of the meaningless of a frantic self absorbed, self-sufficient work that does not emanate from God is void of God and the blessing of God.
That's what Solomon is telling us so the Psalm begins with a sober warning again. What is being emphasized that living life apart from God is fruitless, empty, meaningless God must be at the center of our efforts in order for us to know blessing and satisfaction without God's blessing without his favor. All of our exertion.
All of our determination. All of our talent. All of our resources. All of our connections will ultimately amount to nothing. A life that is not consciously dependent upon God is ultimately a life that is not worth living.
According to these verses. Life is short. If we want life to have meaning and significance, then we must not live our lives, void of God and his involvement in particular, what is being emphasized in these opening verses is the idea that without God's blessing our personal exertion. Our own personal effort will ultimately have no value or significance. We can work and we can work and we can work some more. But if God doesn't build the home it's empty, it's meaningless.
It's worthless we can be diligent we can be careful to guard, that which is precious to us.
But if God is not the one superintending regarding it will prove to be a vain exercise we can get up real early and we can stay up real late, burn the candle at both ends.
As the saying goes. But if God does not smile upon our determination. It will be in the final analysis fruitless, meaningless, so we want to take seriously this sober warning that we find here at the very beginning. How can we in this country. Expect continued blessing of the living God upon our country upon our economy. Upon our culture. If we continue to ignore God and violate his laws so much in our culture that is brazenly defiant of God and his law but but we are very confident in our technology. We are very confident in our vast natural resources.
We are very confident in our money. We are very self sufficient.
Is it not the heart and soul of the American psyche that we can do it.
There's no mom so high we can't climate there is no challenge so great that we can't deal with it well. Psalm 127 warns us otherwise. Without God's favor without God's help, we are utterly powerless to be unable to provide for ourselves. No amount of toil, no amount of ingenuity. No amount of money, no amount of connections will compensate for the one thing that's needful for the one thing that is paramount and that is having God's blessing, so it's true in the first place, that if were to provide for ourselves. We need the blessing of God.
And it's also true in the second place. If we want to protect ourselves. We need the blessing of God is funny how we can take measures to secure our home in our lives and even our best efforts. If God doesn't honor them and God doesn't bless them our meaningless without a couple of break-ins at our home in the past with. Therefore, we have a security system and there is a sense of peace. I think at night when we go and set the alarm and activate the system and it says the alarm is set. So if there's anybody who enters the home in the middle of the night sirens go off noise gives a wakes us up alerts us to it. Same for way. We've set the alarm notification goes to the police station, but criminals, thieves they know they're not completely ignorant. They know how the system works so they know that they can break in your home with sirens and whistles going off the notifications going to the police station, but most likely they're in and out of your home in five or six units and gone before the police ever rollup so you haven't A false sense of peace and in and again here's the point. The point is that we can have our confidence in those things. And if we don't have our confidence in God's efforts are meaningless, even God's purposes when our homes are violated. It's a reminder of the broken world in which we live.
The sin cursed. We live depravity of the human heart. Violators of the laws of God. Psalm 33 verse 12 says Blessed is the nation whose God, the Lord, the people he has chosen for his own inheritance. In verse 16 of Psalm 33 were told a horse is a vain hope for safety some trust in horses some trust in chariots, but we trust in the Lord our God. So despite America's self-confidence and so on and so forth the living God is in control of our natural or our national security is in control of our personal security and again without God's blessing on all of our efforts to protect ourselves all or all of our efforts will prove to be vain. 1/3 way in which we see the futility of a life that's not lived in conscious dependence of God is seen in our efforts to correct and reform bad behavior in our children. We strive and we labor to bring up our children. The fear and admonition of the Lord.
We yearn to see the word of God shaping their character, but God is not owning our efforts of God is not blessing our efforts even those efforts as good as they may be as well-intentioned as they may be, will prove to be vain again in our parenting we can read it all know know it all, have all the books employ all the right techniques we can train we can discipline consistently.
We can talk and talk and talk, we can offer positive reinforcement for desired behavior. But one thing we must have is that we must have God's blessing or we will not see the yearning of our heart. God must own God must bless these efforts, God must build our homes or our efforts will be in vain. Notice warnings continue here apart from God.
All of our efforts to experience true satisfaction in life proved to be in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early to sit up late to eat the bread of sorrows. It's it's a fools errand.
I understand that where not in control of our work schedules that companies can insist that we work overtime. Some of taken new jobs and you have to work on Sunday and but those are matters of prayer that we make appeals that the Lord stays important to us and we trust God to overcome those obstacles in the workplace, but listen one of the big lies. I think men have bought into is this idea that I leave my home in the morning and I go to work whenever I leave work, whether it's 5 o'clock or 6 o'clock or whatever I'm leaving work and I'm going home now. I understand we call that work. We call that a vocation, but the idea can be that once I get home I'm off the clock. I'm not working anymore there's no more work to do.
Know the most important work to do is with in your home.
The nurturing of relationships. The teaching the training.
The investing in your marriage and your family and in your children too many men come home exhausted from the demands of work and would just interested in relaxing for the evening and I'm not against relaxing but if that's the mindset continually, we've missed it with missed it. There's work important work God ordained work worked in God's promise to bless us if we trust them in the process, apart from God all over efforts to experience true satisfaction in life will prove to be in vain. So, begs the question, what is it that were living our lives, for we living our lives for more income to buy more things.
Jesus said a man's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. It wouldn't have another verse, warning us against materialism. All we had was the words of Jesus that would be enough a man's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. So why therefore do we invest so much of our time in the accumulation of things. That's the world that's the culture in which we live. We've bought the lie.
We must learn to be content with less give ourselves to the things that are gonna last forever. Again, apart from God, apart from God being in the middle of the picture. Life itself and are satisfaction with life will be empty in vain and it is one of the most elusive things in this world, satisfaction, contentment, God alone provides a paycheck. God alone provides a quiet heart that is content and satisfied, you see that God promises something not to everyone. God promises something to those who are looking to him those who are abiding in him. Those who have entrusted themselves to him those who are looking to God to bless their God ordained efforts. What is that for so he gives his beloved sleep.
Now there's a number of applications here that we all know the benefit of a good night sleep on the heels of all our day of work.
That's just the body, recouping and replenishing itself, but there that's not that's not what's in view here. I don't believe what's in view here is being able to pill your head at night and not lay there and wrestle in an be awake and worry and be full of anxiety about things.
Why because you've entrusted yourself and your your children your family to the Lord your resting in him you understand that it doesn't depend upon you that it depends upon him, that is not your efforts is not your ingenuity is not your hard work. It's the blessing of God and if your resting under his smile. You can sleep at night because it doesn't depend on you. It depends on him again without God's blessing our efforts will prove empty.
No matter how much we exert ourselves no matter how much we fret and worry if God doesn't build the house you will be built if God doesn't guard the city, the watchmen, they watch in vain.
So there's these warnings that begin the passage unless unless but there's more than warnings in the passage. There are, by implication, some wonderful encouragements by implication, we have this truth. God is working. God is working for and with his people, not apart from his work. It's all vain but the fact of the matter is, God is working. God is building homes God is guarding cities again. While the largest emphasis of verse wanted to deal with the warning that last part that I just looked at with you. He gives his beloved sleep. That's the blessing of God. That is the contentment that comes with entrusting yourself to God. It's the ability of the Christian to be able to leave his or her cares with God. It's the believing persuasion that ultimately what is this life's decisive is not what we do or what we have failed to do but what God does the Christian doesn't have to rise up early and stay up late, as if it all depends on him because it doesn't, the child of God doesn't have to fret and worry is if his or her determination and effort were the decisive factor as to what will be accomplished because the child of God, knows that it's not our exertion all resolve is not what is ultimately decisive. How many times have we wanted something in been determined to see it happen. And yet, despite all of our efforts and expense in investment doesn't come to fruition. Why, because it wasn't the will of God. God's blessing was an opponent.
But the Christian has the wonderful privilege of working out his responsibilities that in the final analysis, what is decisive and what will prove effectual and what will prove lasting is what God does in the encouragement here is God is working.
God is doing something that is our conviction.
God is working he's building homes he's guarding cities.
So what have we seen in terms of encouragement, hereby waive implication number one God works number two God builds number three God guards the Angels of the Lord in campus round about them that fear him and deliver them. The Bible says God is working. God is working and saving his people needs doing that right now in this world. Here, there or somewhere God is working to save his people God is working to sanctify his people today he is working to bring his sheep along in the ways of righteousness. God is busy.
God is busy today. Blessing his people. No small work of his. Today is the work of blessing his people. One distinctive expression of that is expressed in the latter half of this Psalm. What is that the blessing of children the blessing of children. Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward to God is working.
God is working to build his church and God is building to his God is working to build his church. In this context through the salvation of believing parents in the saving of their children and parents need to have the conviction have the mindset that their number one role as a parent is to disciple their children.
Here's a question that is a bit of a tricky question and that is our disciples are they made.
Do we make disciples or our disciples, something that God does well you can make a follower of Christ, God, through the operation of the spirit of God makes a boy or girl a man or woman, a follower of Jesus Christ. But we have to disciple we have to train we have to teach we have to instruct and that's the role of parents making disciples for Jesus building his church in the family so much of God's work is concentrated with his beloved people. So were looking at encouragements here in Psalm 127 encouragement not the only that God is working as much of encouragement is that is God is working in us both to will and to do according to his good pleasure. Don't minimize that.
That is a wonderful promise from God.
God is not uninvolved in the lives of his children. God is working to a desired end. So God is working. That's the first encouragement. The second encouragement is the God is one who makes our work meaningful.
God makes our work meaningful. He works for us. He works in us, and he works through us. And if God is doing something meaningful, then we who are his people are necessarily involved in something meaningful as well.
So God is determined to work in us to work with us to work for us and to work through us and it is because of that define divine determination that the life of a Christian cannot be proven to be vain or empty or meaningless because we are coworkers with God.
We are involved in divine activity as God works through us against Psalm 127 makes this clear.
It speaks of God building. It speaks of God guarding and and it speaks also love we ourselves building and we ourselves guarding you see it's his work. But at the same time, it is our work and yes it is vain and empty delay were without him, but I implication it's knowable, it's fruitful to be working with him, so why God from our vantage point least our work often seems to be mundane and at times unsuccessful, we can look at our work in a given season of life and there may appear to be very little fruit on the vine.
Very little encouragement the may not appear to be anything worth getting excited about the vast majority of Christians will never do anything that will make the headlines.
But in God's sight. Those who have lived in conscious dependence upon him, and those who honestly have sought to honor him will be rewarded. God will bless those efforts are daily doing things that have eternal significance or worth our effort. Our efforts even when we have fallen short in our eyes and in our hopes have eternal significance because God makes them eternally significant. So were thinking about the encouragements here in the song. What are they will number one God works. God builds God guards God makes our work meaningful in the number three. He rewards our work for him. He rewards our work for him the fruit of the womb is a reward I don't think and aesthetically what I mean by that will don't think because God is in bless you with children that in place of a reward that is punishment.
No, that's not what this is teaching.
We acknowledge that it is God who opens the womb, in his time.
God doesn't always open the womb. For reasons and purposes known to him.
Psalm on this Father's Day have a heavy heart because they have a longing to have children to invest in children to nurture children to bring up children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. But let me let me encourage you with this. If you believe as the Bible teaches that life begins at conception and you have had the unfortunate experience of going through and walking through miscarriages. God is giving you children now, hasn't given you the blessing of holding those children and nurturing those children and raising those children for him, but all of our children are gifts from him and we are simply stewards of that and in those situations through miscarriages. God is said I want those children with me will find joy in that that these are children who are going to live forever in heaven with the Lord you will see them someday is wonderful encouragement and I know that doesn't replace the emptiness that you feel right now but rather than seeing it as a negative see it as a positive what to say, the fruit of the womb, the fruit of the womb. Too often we associate the blessing here, with the duration of life, but of God is blessed the womb with the conception of life that is a soul that's going to live forever, and rejoice in that find comfort in that. Thank God for that and continue to bring your desires before him children are a gift of God.
Their gift fathers tonight.
Thank God for the gift that is given to you of children.
Since the family is the basic unit of society.
It is the family that's under attack in our country. The nation will prosper to the degree that the family prosper and if families are neglected and families decline the entire society will decline with them and I don't need to tell you that in these United States of America.
At the present time. Families are disintegrating. Children are being neglected. The frequency and the magnitude of violence is skyrocketing. There is an attack on the basic institution of family and marriage. One of the pillars of society. So we are in a war therefore all the more that we need to he heed the warnings of this passage in draw strength from the encouragements that are here. The point of Psalm 127 stands. Children are blessing from God, and they with their parents are among the vital foundation blocks of a healthy, thriving society is a blessing that is children. There are seasons that we go through the that are part of nurturing children it's it seems like a long time that we typically have our children in our homes for 17, 18 years or so, some a little longer.
Some little shorter and as long as it sounds. When you say 18 or 19 years in the living of it out. It was by very very quickly. But it's in the mundane, the habits the relationships the investment day after day week after week, month after month that God's promise to bless and honor the seeds that are sown in faith and trust of God, so God works slowly but God works.
Surely so don't despair. If God has yet to save your children trust him for that. Don't tire of your responsibility. Continue to pray, continue to seek God continue to set the word of God before them. Continue to bring them to church continue to admonish them continue to instruct them trust got all the while, if it is a vain thing to build a house with God, or to watch over city without depending on God to preserve it, then it is even greater folly to try and raise a family or raise a child without God we must we must seek God's help in the raising of our children. We must be dependent upon God prayerfully and above all, we must set an example before our children of what it looks like to live for God's easy to be discouraged these days in which we live, there are times that it appears as we look around the God's work is being challenged and threatened maybe from our perception, even frustrated in this fallen world, God's work is often perplexing to us and hard to discern what exactly is God doing in a given situation. But make no mistake, our God is working he is working powerfully. He is working infallibly. He is working sovereignly. He is working in keeping with Andean perfect harmony with his eternal decrees brothers and sisters. His work is praiseworthy in his work is noble and his work is going to last. His work is going to be seen to be glorious and worthy of his eternal praise. Therefore, I challenge you as Paul challenged the Corinthians, be steadfast, unmovable, abounding in the things of the Lord, knowing that your work is not in vain in, shall we pray father, thank you for your word. Thank you for its relevancy as it addresses life in this broken fallen world, how it reminds us of the necessity of dependence upon you and the vanity of living a life apart from you. We pray, our God, that you would strengthen us in the inner man strengthen our efforts. Bless our efforts father is.
We endeavor to honor you in our parenting we dealt we did delight and desire to see the salvation of our children and of and of our grandchildren and all of our desire in all of our effort in all of our praying cannot save them, you must do the saving and we ask you to do it for your own honor your own glory and for their eternal help us not to become weary in well doing, help us to stay at the task.
Help us to continue to invest in our children and in our grandchildren. If you are giving us that opportunity in Lord help us to see the deceptive lies of this world to tell us that we must live for the accumulation of things you must work night and day. Burn the candle at both ends know this passage warns us against that. Thank you father for the piece that you give the passes understanding. You said you will keep him in perfect peace. His mind is stayed on the because he trust within the how we thank you for that abiding peace because the Prince of peace has redeemed us has owned us has subdued us and he he lives within us. So blessed father this word tonight to our hearts.
Encourage us strengthen us in May.
We know the blessing of God upon our efforts, and upon her labors now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the everlasting covenant make you complete in every good work to do his will, working in you. What is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ. To him be glory forever and ever.