“Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” —Psalm 127:1
In Christ, this applies to absolutely everything. It is the Lord’s work. When it is not of the Lord it is of the flesh. This is an eternal text that reminds us of the sustaining and upbraiding power of the Lord. Jesus said essentially the same thing to the disciples on the night He was betrayed, as it is written in John 15:5,
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
We may sometimes forget this simple truth: “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (ESV). Though we say He’s sovereign, and even believe that He’s sovereign, as we who are Reformed in theology most certainly believe He is, we sometimes act as if God needs our help. We apply ourselves in so many ways that we often act like God couldn’t do it without us. We work and toil over ministry relentlessly. We touch on areas of service to God and to His people with incredible zeal; and don’t get me wrong— we should be doing all that we can in these areas of missions and ministry, but it should not be all that we do.
Because of the totally depraved nature within man since the fall, we tend to obsess over so many things; and with every good intention, we become obsessive over missions, or ministry, or whatever. We need to be reminded of v2 from our Psalm,
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
We get up early and go to bed late doing all these things for Christ, weeping over souls, but it is vanity for we forsake resting in Christ. We forsake the blessedness of the heritage He has given us in Himself and in others. We have an example of one aspect of how to remedy this situation in Psalm 127:3-5,
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
We should certainly do all that we can to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, but we often forget that they are our heritage. Though we are responsible for our children as good stewards, they are given by God as a blessing.
Are we so busy raising our children in the scriptures that we forget to enjoy them, spend time with them, that they might see the example of parents loving their children in the same way that the heavenly Father loves His children?
Okay, you don’t have children. How about a wife? a husband? a member of church?
If this devotion has touched your heart just a little, you may enjoy listening to the 18-1/2 minute devotion delivered at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church on this same passage prior to our prayer meeting. You can download it for later listening through SermonAudio here, or you can click on the arrow below and listen to it without leaving the page.