Psalm 127

NISI DOMINUS FRUSTRA

Psalm 127

INTRODUCTION

In the days when the sun never set on the British Empire, it was fashionable for Christians in England to put these words over the entrance of their homes: Nisi Dominus Frustra. This is Latin, from Psalm 127:1; Without God, it is vain. Though we may not have these words over our doors, this truth abides still.

Possibly the greatest lie to face us today is: we can find meaning in life on our own. Psalm 127 shows the vanity of life in  three areas: Civic Life (vs. 1), Business Life (vs. 2) and Family Life (vs. 3-5).

The underlying truth of this Psalm is the uselessness of all our human effort which does not rely upon the will, the power and the goodness of God.

Some is bound to say something like this, “Maybe life is pointless, but it sure is fun!” God’s response is simple: What is life when the fun runs out? And run out it will. In spite of all our New Year’s resolutions it is all vain without God at the center.

THEME: GOD MUST BE WITH US:

I. IN OUR WORK OF BUILDING            127:1

     A. We Must Not Forget The Obvious  vs. 1a

          1. All success is from God

          2. God is the source of all blessings and happiness

          3. “Except the Lord build…”

     B. We Must Not Have Wasted Effort i.e., Labor In Vain       vs. 1b

          1. Vain

NOTE: Latin – Frustra

English – Frustration

               a. Found three times in this Psalm

               b. Hebrew- from same word as guilt, calamity, falsehood

               c. Something that produces no results

NOTE: Husband spends the afternoon piddling in the garage but there is no evidence of any results

          2. Life without God ends up being:

               a. Unproductive

               b. Unsatisfying

               c. Empty in God’s estimation

     C. We Must Not Preserve Our Efforts vs. 1c

NOTE: House building and city guarding are examples of ordinary human undertakings

          1. The builders put up the houses, the watchmen protect them

NOTE: Essentially every function of a city is either to build or to protect

          2. The trust of the builders and watchmen must not be in the work but God

NOTE: “Trust in God and keep your powder dry”  Oliver Cromwell

T.S. GOD MUST BE WITH US:

          I. IN OUR WORK OF BUILDING

II. IN OUR WORK OF HONEST LABOUR      127:2

     A. The Vanity Of Rising Up Early          2a

          1. The early rising worker

          2. The Bible does not say that it is improper to rise early, nor is there no advantage in rising early

          3. Mere early rising without His blessing is vain (frustration)

NOTE: The great gains of life are not secured by unremitting toil but by honest labour within appointed limits, in dependence upon God

     B. The Vanity Of Sitting Up Late           vs. 2b

          1. An artificial lengthening of the day God gives

          2. This in itself will not accomplish the goals in life

NOTE: The sin of the workaholic (also worryaholic)

               a. Work is a compulsive obsession

               b. Such work does not add security and honor; only pain and worry

               c. Our daily work is pointless if God is not the center of it

     C. The Bread Of Sorrows          2c

          1. Sorrows

               a. Toil

               b. Wearisome efforts

               c. Care, anxiety, trouble

NOTE: Matthew 6:25-34

         2. Physical and mental discomfort

         3. Hebrew- The kind of pain which women experience when they are about to give birth

NOTE: To go through birth pains, but no life

     D. He Giveth His Beloved Sleep         2d

          1. Hebrew – He giveth to His beloved in sleep

NOTE: God can do more for us while we sleep than we can do awake and working

NOTE: Solomon was given his wisdom while asleep       I Kings 3:5, 13

          2. Contrast the person who labors without relying on God

          3. In the Old Testament sleep conveys not only physical rest but also tranquility and satisfaction

         4. The sin of undue anxiety, feverish straining, as if work itself would bring success

NOTE: Jesus slept in a boat; the waves that rocked Him to sleep scared the disciples

         5. Sleep

             a. Sleep is a God-given necessity

             b. Sleep is used for complete freedom from care because of trusting God

NOTE: God’s people are not exempted from the great law of labour, but the sting is removed when they leave the results to God

T.S. GOD WANTS TO BE WITH US:

          I. IN OUR WORK OF BUILDING

         II. IN OUR WORK OF HONEST LABOUR

III. IN OUR WORK OF REARING OUR CHILDREN 127:3-5

     A. The Purpose Of Our Work    vs. 3

          1. Our work is from the Lord

          2. Our children are from the Lord

NOTE: Two types of children in the Bible:

                a. Physical children

                b. Spiritual children

NOTE: Both apply here

NOTE: A hard statement must be made:

          1. There are those who love labour but don’t have time for its fruit

          2. There are those who love sex but don’t want its fruit, therefore birth control and abortion

          3. There are those who love church work but have no interest in its fruit: souls

NOTE: There is also spiritual birth control, spiritual abortion

          3. Children – (Hebrew)

               a. Son:        ben

               b. Daughter:            bath

               c. House:    beth

               d. All come from the same root word, banah, to build

               e. As stones and wood build up a house, children build up a home, and spiritual children build up a church and ministry

          4. Children are a heritage of the Lord

               a. Possession

               b. Heirloom

               c. Life that lasts when our life is gone

                    1) Children carry on the family and name

                    2) Spiritual children carry on the spiritual family and name

NOTE: Napoleon could conquer the world but could not have a child

          5. The fruit of the womb is His reward

NOTE: For our labors

               a. Children are not an encumbrance, they are God’s inheritance

               b. They are God’s blessing on us

     B. The Product of Our Work:      Children          vs. 4

NOTE: Physical and spiritual children

          1. Children are as arrows are in the hand of a mighty soldier

NOTE: We are soldiers in a warfare

               a. Arrows are useless in the hand

               b. Arrows are valuable only when they are released

               c. Once released, the soldier has no more control over them

               d. Arrows go where the soldier cannot go; they do work the soldier cannot do

               e. If children are reared properly they shoot at their parents’ enemies; if they are not reared properly they are captured by the enemy and shot at their parents

          2. Children of the youth

               a. The value of early fruit

               b. The sooner children are given, the sooner they can be in the battle

     C. The Power Of Our Work       vs. 5

          1. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them

               a. A soldier is effective only as he has arrows to fight the battle

               b. A full quiver means a long time in the battle

NOTE: There are excuses for not having physical children, but there are no excuses for not having spiritual children

               c. They shall not be ashamed

          2. They – the arrows – the children

          3. Ashamed – Hebrew- humiliated, disappointed

          4. They will speak with the enemies in the gate

               a. They shall so honor the family

               b. They shall distinguish themselves

               c. The gate is the place of judgment

                    1) They know their enemy

                    2) They will bring judgment upon their enemies

CONCLUSION

GOD WANTS TO BE WITH US:

I. IN OUR WORK OF BUILDING

II. IN OUR WORK OF HONEST LABOUR

III. IN OUR WORK OF REARING OUR CHILDREN

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