Psalm 127:  How to Build, Own or Do Anything

Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain.  Psalm 127:1

A Solid Foundation to Build On

Psalm 127, is the 8th song of ascent, and is one of only two psalms attributed to Solomon (the other is Ps. 72).  The structure of the poem is: 1. An exhortation about the vanity of an endeavor in which the Lord is not active (vv. 1, 2); 2. A celebration of the value of an endeavor in which the Lord is glorified (vv. 3-5).

127:1, 2 With the words unless the Lord builds, the psalmist asserts that life lived apart from God is not worth living, a view that this psalm shares with the Book of Ecclesiastes.  Even building a house is useless if the Lord is not in the process.  The phrase the bread of sorrows captures the essence of  those removed from a sense of the Lord in their lives.  The food that should give them strength for life and a zest for living only maintains them in their miserable state.

1  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 stays awake in vain. 2  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.

127:3-5 children are a heritage: Children are God’s gifts.  Like arrows:  In ancient times, having many children was regarded as a symbol of strength.  This was particularly true in an agricultural economy, since the extra hands of children increased the productivity of the farmer.  A full quiver was a mark of God’s blessing.  The blessing of a home in an ancient times gave a person a measure of pride in the community.  The gate was the place where the elders of the city met and where citizens would convene (Ruth 4:1-12).

3  Behold, children are a heritage from 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  Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

** It is God who makes my endeavors meaningful and worthwhile.  It is Him who makes our home, family, work and relationships sound and steady.  And unless the Lord raises our children, we struggle with them in vain to make their feet stand on a solid ground.  We need His blessing and involvement in everything we do and have.  Solomon who wrote this poem knew this truth but still let idols in his household resulting in a life lived in vain.  So he wrote after having possessed everything a man could possibly ever desire…

 “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”  What profit has a man from all his labor In which he toils under the sun? Ecclesiastes 1:2, 3

 


127 1  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 stays awake in vain. 2  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. 3  Behold, children are a heritage from 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  Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.