Weds 6 January - Psalm 128
1 Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
who walk in obedience to him.
2 You will eat the fruit of your labour;
blessings and prosperity will be yours.
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
4 Yes, this will be the blessing
for the man who fears the Lord.
5 May the Lord bless you from Zion;
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
6 May you live to see your children’s children—
peace be on Israel.
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Meditation on Psalm 128
When you first read this Psalm, perhaps you think, “you know what? I am not sure this Psalm applies to me so I will skip over it. It talks about a married man and his wife and their children and I don’t fit into that category – I’ll give it a miss.”
Not so fast!
Mathew Henry says, ‘Psalms 127 and 128 are for families. Psalm 127 teaches us that the prosperity of our families depends on God’s blessing. Psalm 128 teaches us that the way to obtain God’s blessing is to live in the fear of God and in obedience to Him.’
David Smith (involved in ministry in Asia and Africa) writes, ‘this Psalm contains a classic expression of one aspect of the core beliefs of ancient Israel, that reverence for God and a determination to do His will are the foundation of human well-being.’
It is also interesting to note that the Psalm progresses from the individual to the family, to the city where the Temple of God is, to the nation.
The Psalm speaks to ALL WHO FEAR THE LORD - verse 1.
What does it mean to ‘fear the LORD?’
Proverbs 15:33 tells us that the fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom.
To fear the LORD is * to obey Him * to reverence Him * to honour Him * to worship Him * to have confidence in Him * to love Him * to thank Him * to spend time with Him * to recognise that in Him alone is my hope and my help.
The blessing of the LORD is * His favour * His wisdom * His protection * His grace * His mercy * His forgiveness
* His joy * His freedom * His peace * … and more!
Come back to Psalm 1 and see how this blessing works out in practice.
‘Blessed is the person who DOES NOT … *walk with the wicked *stand where sinners stand * sit with the mockers’
‘Blessed is the person who DOES … * delight in the Scriptures * meditate on the Scriptures
As a result the blessings are …
- strength – ‘like a tree planted…’
- nourishment – ‘…by streams of water’
- fruitfulness – ‘yields its fruit’
- shelter – ‘whose leaf does not wither’
- success – ‘prosperity’
We need to be careful about the word ‘prosperity’. David Guzik says, ‘it isn’t that the righteous have a ‘Midas Touch’ and everything they do makes them rich and comfortable. But in the life of the righteous person, God brings forth something good and wonderful out of everything.’
Back to Psalm 128 - this ‘blessing of the LORD’ is experienced in
- the fruit of our labours – verse 2
- the family – verses 3-4 What a lovely concept of a family sitting round a table. (Don’t get rid of your dining-room or kitchen table!)
The Psalmist draws his thoughts together in a prayer. Having started by saying that those who fear the LORD are blessed, now he prays that blessing for all.
He recognises the importance of Zion – the city of God; the place where the Temple was. ‘May the LORD bless you from Zion’ – this speaks to us about the importance of the Church. We will be blessed as we fellowship with God’s people – yes, even across Zoom!
He prays for the blessing of seeing our succeeding generations – we need to be praying for them.
And finally, he prays for peace across Israel. We pray for peace across the nations.
‘The LORD bless you and keep you.’
Thursday 7 January - Psalm 129
Friday 8 January - Psalm 130
Saturday 9 January - Psalm 131
Sunday 10 January - Psalm 132
Monday 11 January - Psalm 133
Tuesday 12 January- Psalm 134