Resting on Purpose – Psalm 127

Psalm 127

Prosperity Comes from the Lord.

A Song of Ascents, of Solomon.

127:1 Unless the Lord builds the house,

They labor in vain who build it;

Unless the Lord guards the city,

The watchman keeps awake in vain.

It is vain for you to rise up early,

To retire late,

To eat the bread of painful labors;

For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,

The fruit of the womb is a reward.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,

So are the children of one’s youth.

How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;

They will not be ashamed

When they speak with their enemies in the gate.


We have taken many steps in our ascent into worship, through trouble and truth, war and peace, floods and snares, righteousness and freedom. But now we face the obstacle of our daily lives.  How can our daily lives become an obstacle in our ascent to worship? When we fail to recognize God’s involvement in all that we do we may begin to despair that our work has any meaning at all. Or perhaps we may drive ourselves into the ground, depending only on our own strength to accomplish all that needs to be done.

The Psalmist here gives us a two-fold message. First, he is assuring us that God is involved in our lives. His opening statements, “Unless the Lord builds the house … unless the Lord guards the city” are rhetorical in nature. He is saying that we are not alone in our work. God works alongside us even in the details of what we do to build our lives – and if this were not true, then everything we do becomes meaningless. The reassurance that God participates in our work gives us the ability to rest as well. Because God is involved and working with us, we can sleep peacefully at night. We rest as we trust Him to take care of the bigger picture.

Second, God’s involvement gives purpose to what we do. If God builds my house and guards my city, then what I do in conjunction with Him becomes significant. His presence and participation in my work lends meaning to the work itself and gives my life purpose.

As I approach God in worship based on the Psalmist’s words here, I find myself drawn into the community at large. If God is building my house – my family, my posterity – then He is building my neighbors’ house as well. And the city encompasses the whole community God watches over. Worship always involves the people at large. Scripture has never portrayed worship as an individual activity.

Have you ever asked yourself if your work has meaning? Do you wonder what significance your life has in the world around you? Remember the promise of the Psalmist: God is at work building your house, watching your city, giving you the gift of descendants who will bring you joy. Build your life resting in His work and care for you. Trust Him to give meaning to what you do and protect your family. “For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.” If this is not true, then all our work is vain.

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