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Monday, July 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 127

Kingcomments on the Whole BibleKingcomments

Verses 1-2


The faithful remnant is complete, the ten tribes are back with the two tribes (Ezekiel 36:15-Isaiah :). We will see the result of the reunion later in Psalm 133.

The psalm, like Psalm 128, begins as a wisdom psalm with the lesson that the wise, the maskilim, want to teach us. It is the lesson that the Lord Jesus summed up this way: “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). While after the destruction by the king of the north, the temple, the city of Jerusalem and the new families are now being built, they are crying out how dependent they are on the LORD.

The dependence on the LORD is underscored by the realization that not all dangers are over (Psalms 127:1). Like Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah, their building activities are done while there is danger from the surroundings.

In their trust in the LORD, can be said of them that they all “dwell in peace” (Ezekiel 38:8). The remnant of Israel is made up of those “who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates” (Ezekiel 38:11), trusting that the LORD is the Keeper of Israel.

God’s Indispensable Blessing

Of this “Song of Ascents”, the eighth, the poet is again named: it is a song “of Solomon” (Psalms 127:1). Since the psalmist has in mind the situation of the realm of peace, it is not David who is mentioned as the main character, but Solomon, who is a type of the Lord Jesus as the King of peace. It is noteworthy that of the 1,005 songs written by Solomon (1 Kings 4:32), only two of them – Psalm 72 and Psalm 127 – are recorded in the Bible by the Holy Spirit. These are both psalms that are connected to the realm of peace.

The pilgrims have arrived and are thinking about what awaits them in terms of building houses, guarding the city, working hard and having children. In this song, Solomon speaks of these things. These are the things of daily life, which we also think about. What Solomon says about it boils down to the fact that everything in it depends on God’s blessing to succeed in the plans. It is about the awareness that everything the righteous does is completely dependent on God; everything must come from Him (cf. James 1:17).

If our activities are not determined and guided by God, everything we do is a waste of time and energy. Of every result in a particular work, we will have to say that it came about only through God’s help (1 Samuel 14:45). If a project succeeds, it is because He blesses it with His blessing, without requiring any performance, any “labor”, on our part. Only His blessing makes rich (Proverbs 10:22).

This does not contradict the maxim that the hand of the diligent makes rich (Proverbs 10:4). Both one and the other are true. We must work, but also realize that the Lord must give us the strength for it and also the blessing on it. Then we realize that everything comes from Him and we will give Him the glory for it.

Solomon uses three examples from everyday life to illustrate this. He starts with building a house. People can do nothing else but build on it. They may even work hard at it. What matters is this: are we building, or is the LORD building? If He is not, all the toil is in vain.

We can think here of the rebuilding of the temple, the house of God. In the realm of peace, the building of the temple is attributed to the LORD Himself (Zechariah 6:12-1 Chronicles :). Prophetically, this is about the restoration of the house of all Israel, namely when the house of Judah, the two tribes, and the house of Israel, the ten tribes, are united (Jeremiah 3:18).

Solomon built the temple, not David. He knew that the house could only be built if the LORD built the house. The LORD was the architect, Solomon was merely the executor.

The second example is that of the security of a city. People can watch carefully and listen carefully, but nothing more. They can be watchful, but the ultimate protection of the city is in the hand of God. He is the Keeper Who neither slumbers nor sleeps (Psalms 121:3-Numbers :). All human effort to shield the city from the intrusion of evil avails nothing if God Himself does not guard the city.

This is especially true of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 31:38-Matthew :). The city has been conquered and destroyed many times in its history. When the LORD takes up the guard in the realm of peace, the city will be completely secure (Zechariah 2:5). Only then can the people sing, “We have a strong city; He sets up walls and ramparts for security” (Isaiah 26:1).

If we apply this to ourselves, we can say that it is our responsibility to provide security. The important question is what we put our trust in. Do we trust in our technical knowledge and ingenious alarm systems or in God, that our work will succeed only if He blesses it?

The third example is about doing our daily work in connection with forming the family (Psalms 127:2). Work is the activity of supporting the family. Work and career are not goals. Hard work is not wrong, but it is not enough. It is necessary to trust the LORD in this.

The purpose of the family is to have children from the hand of the Lord. It is considered old-fashioned, but this is the Biblical truth, even in the days when the world only wants (healthy) children if it will benefit itself or even has no desire for children. Children are the heritage of the LORD. This truth we may learn, and this truth the remnant may also learn.

It is clear that we must work for our bread. That has been true since creation. What matters is what our attitude is in doing so. If we do not remember that we work because God wants us to and that He gives us the strength for it, then we can work as hard and as long as we want and tire ourselves out, but it will not produce what was expected (cf. Haggai 1:6). That is why Paul wrote: “Whatever you do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17).

All the zeal of those who do not live with God or reckon with Him produces nothing of lasting value. The people of the world seek rest and peace and security, but it is all in vain. God gives rest and peace to him who lives with Him, without his having to exert himself. He does this while he who is His beloved sleeps, or in ways unimagined by him (cf. Acts 12:6-Judges :). It can also be translated that the LORD gives His beloved sleep as a blessing.

The pilgrim is “His beloved”. The word “beloved” is the translation of the Hebrew word jedid. This word also appears in the name God gave Solomon at his birth “Jedid-Jah” – meaning the ‘beloved of the LORD’ – because the LORD loved him (2 Samuel 12:24-Lamentations :). Solomon is thinking of himself here. It also applies to every righteous who lives with God.

Families may grow up in the awareness that each member of the family is a beloved of the Lord. It is important to let our children know our love and that we are aware that they are the Lord’s beloved: “But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these”” (Matthew 19:14; cf. Matthew 18:10).

Verses 3-5

Children Are a Gift of the LORD

Following on from what has already been said about the family, Psalms 127:3 is about the value and significance of the blessing of children. Children are not only a gift from the LORD, but also ‘the property of the LORD’. The Hebrew word for “gift” is translated elsewhere as heritage. It is worth remembering that the Israelites’ inheritance remains the property of the LORD (Leviticus 25:23). The Israelites are tenants or stewards of the LORD. So it is with the children the LORD has entrusted to us. We may ‘temporarily manage’ them, but they remain the property of the LORD. In His time, we will have to let them go.

Through the children the LORD bestows, He will establish the realm of peace (Psalms 110:3). They are also “the fruit of the womb” and seen as “a reward”. Reward here is not attached to an achievement, but to a position. It is a reward by grace, it is a gift, just as the position is also a gift. The fruit of the womb was given by Him and remains His as His property. Through Him, fruit is found among His people that is to His glory (Hosea 14:8; cf. John 15:2-Deuteronomy :; John 15:16).

Let us be aware that in the covenant between the LORD and His people Israel, having children is one of the first blessings (Deuteronomy 28:4). Therefore, in the Old Testament, childlessness is perceived as a shame, as a sign that the blessing of the covenant does not apply to the childless woman (Genesis 30:1; 1 Samuel 1:1-Job :; cf. Luke 1:24-Lamentations :).

In the New Testament, the members of God’s people are a heavenly people with heavenly blessings (Ephesians 1:3). The earthly blessings they may receive are not a given; they can be seen as breadcrumbs falling from the table to the ground (Matthew 15:27). If there are believers who remain alone or couples who cannot have children, it is different than in the Old Testament. What does remain the same in the New Testament is the fact that children are a reward, or a blessing, from the LORD. Do we experience this in the same way?

Children that God has given are “like arrows in the hand of a warrior” (Psalms 127:4). Through these sons the LORD – He is the Warrior – will destroy the power of the wicked (Zechariah 9:13). The Son of God is also compared to an arrow that is in the hand of the Almighty (Isaiah 49:1-Exodus :). Here we find the promise that the sons of these chosen Israelites will be used by the LORD as instruments in the realm of peace (cf. Isaiah 59:21).

“So are the children” who are raised up to serve the LORD in the strength inherent in “youth” like arrows. This is an important clue to the raising of children if God has given them in His grace as the fruit of the womb (Genesis 30:20; Genesis 33:5). We may raise them for Him (Ephesians 6:4), so that they will be servants in His kingdom.

The man who received this blessing from the LORD and “whose quiver is full of them” is a happy man (Psalms 127:5). His children will not be ashamed when they speak with “the enemies” for their father in the gate. The gate is the place of exercising power (Deuteronomy 17:5; Deuteronomy 21:19Deuteronomy 22:15; Deuteronomy 22:24; Amos 5:12). There the sons will act in favor of their father when he is dealing with enemies who are suing him.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Psalms 127". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/psalms-127.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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