Why would God inspire Solomon to speak of labour and toiling for half of Psalm 127 and the blessing of children in the other half? I take his words as a reminder of how family is a core part of the balance of life as we work and live. The Lord blesses balance…
1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
2 In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
3 Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their opponents in court.
Solomon’s wisdom is oft-quoted and Psalm 127 is one of the highlights – unless the Lord builds it, we labour in vain. Unless the Lord watches over, guards stand watch in vain. It is futile to burn the candle at both ends to find success. The Lord will grant sleep to those he loves, which I take to mean that even while I sleep he can make my garden grow.
This runs counter to our worldly wiring. We are convinced that we must toil, build, and guard, and yet God is the one who provides. It is interesting, though, that God doesn’t seem to provide abundance to the lazy. This is not a psalm for sloths. Rather, I think this is a psalm to stimulate humility.
We ought to be humble and recognize that we are to do our best in balance and trust God for his blessing. Family, by the way, stimulates balance.
Why would God inspire Solomon to speak of labour and toiling for half of this psalm and the blessing of children in the other half?
Perhaps the blessing of children is meant to be greater than the blessing of work. Perhaps this is a reminder of how family is a core part of the balance of life as we work and live. Our thoughts about our work and the balance of our lives isn’t the same when family is part of the discussion.
Most of us would like more time with our families and less time at work. Yet we often sacrifice investment in our children (who are a blessing from the Lord) for the sake of our toil.
My children are of ages now that they are less available to us. They have emerging lives of their own with responsibilities and pursuits and social circles. We were, however, very deliberate when they were younger to be there together at sporting events and activities. We crafted times of family-building every summer camping at Deception Pass.
I’m not saying there weren’t times when toiling exceeded resting in God’s provision. Life balance is a challenge at all stages. I don’t think Solomon even got it right. Applying the truth is most often harder than knowing the truth.