A song of ascents. Of Solomon.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labour in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat –
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Children are a heritage from the Lord,(Ps. 127:1-5 NIV)
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.
We must build our church and our lives with God, because of God, and for God. The first part of verse 1 says,
‘Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain.’
We are naturally builders. We build houses, boats, computers, airplanes, televisions, damns, hospitals, industries, roads, satellites, cars, rockets, and much more. It is in our nature to build, after all, people are made in the image of God, and God built the universe. So, we build.
There are two ways for us to build: We can build being dependent upon God, or we can build being independent of God. How should we build? To build depending on God involves humility, to build dependant on ourselves involves pride. If what we build, if what we accomplish is not for the Lord, if it is not for His glory, if it is not by prayer and supplication given to Him, then it is in vain. It is really for our own glory and comfort. It is worthless and will not stand the test of fire on the day of judgment. Ultimately, building without God will bring us to frustration, sadness, hopelessness, and discouragement. There is a great example of building without God, of vain effort. Look at the tower of Babel.
‘They said, ‘let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth’ But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.’
The people of the Tower of Babel were full of pride. They did not build in humility and dependence upon God. They sought their own will, not the will of God. They built in vain. The Tower of Babel is a warning to us to be sure to build according to God’s will and word. But how do you build so that it is God who has built it? Notice the structure of the verse. God builds and you build. We both build. We work with God to accomplish. How do we build so we do not build in vain? We acknowledge that God is the true builder of all things and that we can only do what we can by His grace. We acknowledge our utter dependence upon Him. We must pray and saturate all that we do in seeking God’s will and blessing. We must remain humble before Him and seek Him.
We like to build and we like to protect what we have built. It is easy to become busy building for ourselves and our family and then protecting what we have acquired. The Psalmist speaks of building without the Lord and keeping watch to protect ourselves without the Lord. Building and protecting without the Lord is all in vain.
Working long hours building a career or amassing money is also vain. The Lord gives sleep to those He loves. People are more important than possessions. Children are a gift from God. When we bring children into the world, we should invest time in them. Building a family with the help of the Lord is a great occupation. The energy put in to raising a family is better than the energy put into a career.
Lord our God help us to go forward only in Your strength. Help us to build that which will be of eternal value. We thank You for the joy and the responsibly of raising a family. Lord help parents of young children to seek Your strength and wisdom as they care for their children because we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.