By Jaime Sherman
I recently heard a testimonial of a farming family who purposefully chose to set aside a Sabbath day of rest. The move seemed risky. Their livelihood depended upon what they could produce in a limited number of hours each week, and yet they rested even when their neighbors continued at a hurried pace. To their surprise, the day of rest actually helped increase productivity on the other days, and they didn’t experience financial loss. God blessed their obedience and their trust in His provision. In Psalm 127, Solomon reminds us that our dependency must be on the Lord and not on what we can accomplish of our own strength. Psalm 128 harkens back to Psalm 1:1 as we are instructed to walk in the Lord’s ways.
127: Unless the LORD Builds the House
A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon. 1 Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain; unless the LORD protects the city, its watchmen stand guard in vain. 2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for bread to eat — for He gives sleep to His beloved. 3 Children are indeed a heritage from the LORD, and the fruit of the womb is His reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are children born in one’s youth. 5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. He will not be put to shame when he confronts the enemies at the gate.
128: Blessed is Everyone Who Fears the Lord
1 Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in His ways! 2 For when you eat the fruit of your labor, blessings and prosperity will be yours. 3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine flourishing within your house, your sons like olive shoots sitting around your table. 4 In this way indeed shall blessing come to the man who fears the LORD. 5 May the LORD bless you from Zion, that you may see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life, 6 that you may see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!
Rest and Work
What three things do we see God actively doing for His people in 127:1-2?
Do you struggle to take time to set aside anxious toil (127:2)?
The Hebrew word for toil in this verse is etseb, or an idol. How often does your busyness, your attempts to do life of your own strength, play out as an idol in your life?
How should the fear of God (128:1) connect to how we choose to live and to rest?
Lord, you have promised to be my provider, the builder of my home, the watchman over my family, the one who gives me permission to rest. Thank You. Forgive me for the idols of busyness and success I have raised up in my life. Keep my eyes trained on your ways and my feet following hard after you, giving me a proper balance between the responsibilities You have given me and a confidence in your provision. Help me trust You more and more with each passing day.