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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


Psalm 127 Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth to his beloved sleep. Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is His reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Some attribute this Psalm to Solomon, some to David, and some say it is one of the Psalms of Degrees. However, its authorship is not the important thing about this very short Psalm, which is quoted above in its entirety as our lesson text.

The building of a house is used in different senses. It is used when referring to the building of the house of God - the temple at Jerusalem in which the Jewish nation worshipped. It is also used when reference is made to the building of one's house, or place in which to dwell. Another way it is used is in reference to the building up of one's household. For instance, when referring to Jacob and his family, they are said to be the House of Jacob. Sons and daughters are considered to be one's house.

Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it, except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain (Vs. 1). Regardless of what type of house is being built, we need God's blessing and guidance. In a figurative way, the author of this Psalm may be referring to the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah, and his followers, that returned from Babylon for this purpose. God was with them, blessed them, and guided them to its successful completion even in the face of opposition from Sanballat and his company. It is this type of blessing and guidance we have in building the house in which we live. Without God's blessing and guidance, the building of our house is vain. It is empty, without value or significance, unprofitable, hallow and lacking real substance.

Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward (Vs. 3). This verse shows the importance God places on one's house when it refers to the household, the family, and especially to one's children. Children are one of the greatest inheritances one can have. It is placed above the inheritance of worldly goods, that is, wealth that is measured by the possessions of gold and silver, lands and cattle. Real wealth is in the children of godly parents. Children are gifts from God. This same God that gives us children, gives us the ability to feed and nurture them; to provide for both their physical and spiritual needs. It is God that is the chief builder of the family that is referred to as one's house. It is our duty to seek and pray for God's blessings and guidance for our family, that we may be able to nourish them with both physical food for the body as well as spiritual food for the soul. Happy is the man that hath a quiver full of them ( Vs. 5). Verse 4 refers to children as arrows. The quiver is the case or sheath used to hold and carry arrows. Verse 5 says that parents that have a number of children are not only blessed, but find happiness in this heritage of the Lord.

Ecclesiastes 12:1 tells us that it is in childhood, or youth, that one is to learn of God and always keep Him in remembrance. It is in these formative years whenchildren aredeveloped and molded by instruction. It is in these early years that parents are to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). In this same verse, we are told to provoke not your children to wrath. True blessings - the heritage that parents have in their children, is conditioned on how we rear them. Good children are a good heritage to their parents. We are not to treat children severely or cruelly. Parents are at their best when they learn the difference between correcting and punishing children. When we correct them, we show love; when we punish them, we show revenge. Severely punishing children is cruel; cruel parents have bad children. Correcting children is good; and good parents have good children. Good parents seek God's blessing and guidance, and good children are the result. In this text, good children are referred to as good arrows. How happy will be the parents that have a quiver full of them!