Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him.
You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house.
Your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord.
May the Lord bless you from Zion; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
May you live to see your children’s children— peace be on Israel.
--Psalm 128 (NIV)
Psalm 128 is the third psalm, in the third triad, of the five triads within the fifteen steps or degrees of the songs of ascent, found in Psalms 120 to 134. A man named Titus Chu, postulated that the five triads I mentioned are:
Psalm 128 is the third psalm in the enjoyment group. Psalm 126 was about God restoring. Psalm 127 was about God building. Psalm 128 is about enjoying your life from God. You have integrated vision, a life of looking for and seeing God. Then you consecrated yourself to God. Now, we have been learning about enjoying the life God gives to us.
Psalm 128 is a continuation of the same ideas we learned from Psalm 127. God builds and we build with God. Letting God build means that I surrender to God and am obedient to God. That's the idea of walking in his ways or keeping his commands. The big idea is for me to let go of control and let God have his way in my life. The main effort I exert is to bow down and yield to God.
When I choose to fear God, which means honoring him and respecting him, and being loyal to him; then following him with believing him and obeying him, the results are his blessings - a blessed life. Why would anyone not want that and why don't some people experience it?
You get to the blessed life through walking with God. People who walk with God are God-fearers, who obey God. The blessed life is a life of true happiness.
We have been looking at degrees of walking with God, from the preceding psalms. If you jump in here, over half way through the set of degrees; you might miss something or misunderstand. Everything here in Psalm 128 is true, standing alone; but it is richer and more filled with meaning, when we look at in the context of the previous steps.
Psalm 128 tells us that we are blessed who fear the Lord and walk in obedience to him. The outcome of that life is fruitfulness, blessings, and prosperity. These will come through your family life. It will come through your labor, through your wife (if you are a man), through your children, and through your children's children.
Seeing your children's children or having grandchildren caps off a blessed life. The day my son was born, that was the promise I received (Ps. 128:6). My own four grandparents were blessed to have us in their lives for between twenty and forty years. My dad did not get to have that blessing, but I hope to have it.
I wrote about the promise I received a long time before I met my wife, of John 2:10, and how Johnathan was born at exactly 2:10 in the afternoon. I thought the promise was about getting married. It was like God was saying that getting married is a blessing, but the blessing that comes from marriage are children.
But that wasn't enough. While I was experiencing that blessing on top of the previous blessing, it was like God said, said, "I have to tell you that there's more". And I was given the word, "may you live to see your children's children." I was astonished by God's blessing, past, present, and future.
Psalm 128 teaches us of the fortunate life of those who revere the Lord and walk in his ways. Psalms 120 to 127 have been showing us how to do that. We have to experience the life. We live it out and that is how we grow.
It is not enough to hear about the life with God or just know about it. We must live it. We must walk with the living God. I have a life verse that is, "Abraham... went out, without knowing where he was going" (Heb. 11:8). For me, I have had to 'go out', in order to progress in my destiny journey towards God. I recently have been realizing that it's time to 'go out' some more.
In other words, we can get stuck with the, 'not knowing where he was going', part, and forget the, 'went out' part. I have to remember the analogy that the guidance system does not come on until the rocket is airborne. Therefore, "get thy rocket off the pad." Go out. "Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him".
We want to labor with what God is doing (Psalm 127). This applies to our lives, which our jobs are a part of. The result of a life built by God is fruitfulness. And that means children. There are biological children, adopted children, spiritual children, and metaphorical children, as in giving birth to something conceived in you by God.
What about barren women or men who have never fathered? Isaiah 54:1 says that the barren woman, and by extension, the man who has never fathered; can rejoice in God, that God sees them, and has a fruitful plan for them. Do you feel spiritually barren? Read Isaiah 54. Apostle Paul picks this concept up also in Galatians 4.
Whether you are single, married, widowed, divorced, separated, infertile or fertile, young or old, rich or poor; God wants you to be fruitful and spiritually prosperous. But the first steps are to walk with him and fear him. That means a life given over to God, lived unto God; a surrendered life. That is the life that becomes fruitful.
This was the ninth song or ninth step in the songs of ascent or pilgrim songs (Psalms 120-134). To review Psalms 120-128, as steps of degrees:
- We learn to call upon God and that God saves us and answers prayers.
- We learn that God is our guardian, watching over us.
- We learn to be worshipers, desiring God.
- We choose to humble ourselves as servants as we ask for mercy.
- We cultivate seeing God's workings in our lives, then sharing the stories.
- We learn to live a life of trusting the Lord, that brings security.
- We discover that there is more or we have lost something and ask God for it and learn to release the grief of our hope differed, through tears and we persevere in our walk towards God, with weeping as we walk, and experience astonishing joy from God.
- We learn to trust God to build everything, and we labor under God in building, learning to enjoy finding rest, and becoming aware of the gift of and responsibility of raising children for God.
- We learn that the result of a life of revering God and walking with him is fruitfulness, which means children: your own or spiritual, or metaphorical; and having grandchildren is the end result of a blessed life.
The painting above is Psalm 128 by Moshe Tzvi Halevi Berger