“Unless the LORD” - PSALM 127 by Pastor Walter
We, who live with plenty, can easily assume we are receiving what we have earned. We reason - we have worked hard and thus are rich and successful. Therefore, in our prosperity, we may become proud and believe we are receiving what we are entitled to. We believe we can make it on our own.
Psalm 127 was a necessary reminder for the pilgrims as they were travelling to worship in Jerusalem that all of life’s securities and blessing come from God. In the earlier pilgrim psalm, Psalm 121, the worshipper declared that his help came from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth. In that psalm the psalmist testified that the LORD watched over him day and night.
In Psalm 127 the worshipper declares that not only protection, but also shelter and family are all dependent upon the LORD. There are only two possibilities for all of our human activities. The one is that all we achieve is of the LORD’s doing or it is all pointless.
One of the hardest things to admit is that we need God. Certainly we must be diligent, use our God-given skills to the best of our ability use. But, “unless the LORD” all we do will be pointless. Do we therefore relax and do nothing, expecting God to take care of us? The answer is a definite “NO”. We must do our best as we build our houses, protect what is entrusted to us, [as watchmen stand guard over a city], and raise our children. Yet the humbling and sober truth is that “unless the LORD” blesses, all our efforts are in vain.
Jesus gave his disciples the same warning, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” [John 15:5]. The Apostle Paul warned, “Anything we do that is not built on Christ will be burned up, that is, it is in vain.” [1 Corinthians 3:10-15].
When all seems to come apart, life seems unbearable, all we do is useless and in vain – what word gives us hope? For an answer we remind ourselves of what Jesus did in an extremely turbulent storm - “he was sleeping.” [Matthew 8:23-27]. Jesus knew his Father was in control of the storm. The psalmist also knew that the LORD is fully in control of all of life. He experienced that when life seemed in vain “he grants sleep to those he loves.” [Psalm 127:2]. What he said to those who trust in God applies to us - we can rest, relax, sleep in any storm, knowing our God is in control of all the storms of life. May God give us grace to trust and sleep.