I. Read Psalm 127.
A Song of Ascents, of Solomon.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.
2 It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
3 Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
5 How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate. (NASB)
Introduction – Psalm 127 is the first psalm in our devotions that is ascribed to Solomon. It has structure that also is a two-part parallel pattern.
A – Building
…B – Guarding
A’ – Building in Painful Labors vs the Gift of Children
…B’ – Guarding with Children-Arrows with no Shame
We must actively depend on the Lord in building our lives. Unless the Lord . . . The first verse of this Psalm addresses the God-condition on which our plans fail or succeed. “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. In first place the constructive efforts of “building” should be guided by a complete dependence on the Lord doing the “building.” We must also actively depend on the Lord in protecting our lives. “Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” Secondly, the watching/guarding to protect what has been constructed must also be grounded on the Lord’s complete control. These are the two basic activities that we are doing throughout life: “building” and then “guarding” that which we have built. Whether you intend to or not, you are building and guarding what you have built. Maybe it’s a poor “house” with bad angles in the corners, but you are building. And perhaps you are asleep at the watch, but you are protecting or letting your your building be looted. In both of life activities, we must yield to the Lord accomplishing these activities. Building or protecting apart from the Lord will result in futility or fruitlessness. This psalm makes clear that we must actively depend on the Lord to avoid futility and fruitlessness. In the last verses there is a benediction on children who are “gift,” a “reward,” “like arrows,” and many are desired since they succeed us “at the gate” (the place of judgment and transaction). God accomplishes His building and guarding through our children. It is critical that we transfer our faith (and kingdom building/guarding) through them.
Reflect on this psalm using these questions.
- The Lord is not doing the building or guarding without our asking Him to do so. Invite the Lord into your home and life (once again) today.
- The Lord is not doing the building or guarding when we are not following His blueprint. Can you list areas of disobedience in your life? If so ask Him to grant you repentance.
- The Lord is not doing the building or guarding if it is not resulting in the fruitfulness of gratitude, joy and serving others. What is one action you could do or plan today to show gratitude for God’s building and protecting in your life?
- Children are a gift and reward. Purpose to take time to bless the children in your life today. They need affirmation, kindness, and good examples.
II. Pray Psalm 127. Turn Psalm 127 into a prayer.
III. Sing Psalm 127.