Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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Unless the LORD Builds the House – Psalms 127


Unless the LORD Builds the House – Psalms 127 – 04/23/2016

A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.

Psalms 127:1 (ESV) Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. 2 It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. 3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. 5 Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Thanks for looking at our Psalms Saturday article; I plan to go through this Psalm verse by verse starting in verse one…

V1 Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.

How many times have you done this on a personal level as a Christian? You receive confirmation that you are called to a certain ministry and rather than waiting for God to fully open all the doors you try to force the issue on your own and start to do what the Psalmist said, you quite literally “labor in vain” and even if you are doing “things FOR God” you can run up against a brick wall because you are not doing it IN God then it is just blind effort.

If we use gimmicks, finance programs or man made deals that promote “ministry growth” that exclude the Lord and the Holy Spirit, then it is just blank numbers and not exactly moving in the spirit of God. We may have success in the short term and may even “look the part” but there will always be something missing.

The point of what I am saying is that God has a better plan for you and knows what is best for you way more than you do, he has seen the blueprint for your life and knows what would happen in any set of given circumstances. So when we labor and struggle and worry in our own effort then it is futile, sometimes it may work and sometimes it may not but would it not be far better to trust the Lord?

V2 It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.

We have this culture that “the early bird catches the worm” and that if we do everything with haste and cram more and more into our lives then we will somehow manage to get enough boxes checked to give us an enormous sense of wellbeing. We get up way to early, go to sleep way too late and do not rest and wonder why we fail more than we succeed. That is not God’s plan for your life! We are not supposed to eat the bread of anxious toil! If you are stretched beyond what you can handle then take it to the Lord in prayer.

I am not saying to be lazy but I am saying that we are given a rest that we do not use often enough and I am not saying just sleep or taking frequent naps. I am talking about being so stressed that we cannot fulfil our mission that God has given us. That stress comes not from God and you can be rest assured that if it is pulling you away from what God has planned for you then it is not from God. It is from the other guy! I don’t know about you but I do not want him having victory in any part of my life!

V3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.

This is a hard one to comment on because my wife and I have had issues in this area so I will obviously tread carefully as I am aware readers may also be sensitive to this subject. I am tremendously grateful for my beautiful daughter and it took so long for us to get her and it does sting a little I have not been able to give her a sibling but I am remaining blessed in what the Lord has done for me and the prayers he has chosen to answer and I pray that if you have struggles in this area then your prayers are answered. Obviously I am not saying that they will be answered or a “thus sayeth the LORD” but please know I do know what you are going through.

Children are a heritage, that much is true and there are no stronger ties than family. When I got married I assumed wrongly that my wife would be the only girl that was to hold my heart, I of course was quite wrong and I have a kid that truly is the apple of my eye and from the moment she first cried in that delivery room I was sold. My daughter truly had me at hello. Don’t get me wrong there are times where she has attitude like any other child but she is a living breathing human with her own thoughts, her own personalities and sometimes they will do things that are contrary to what you would have them do, but they are still yours and sometimes they display like a mini-mirror qualities that you would rather not look at in yourself! The fruit of the womb is truly a reward and sometimes a way for God to teach you.

V4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.

The Psalmist uses the picture of a warrior and arrows in his hand. That true joy will be found in the relationships that God has us in. God ordained in Genesis 2 the idea of a marriage and shortly afterwards along came children. From Cain and Abel we saw that God’s plan all along was to have us in relationships and I have found true happiness in the arms of the two folks that love me for me with no agenda and with the purest form love. You will find your true value when you are embraced by a loving child who has been waiting all day for you to walk through the door. My advice (and it is advice I have not heeded myself) is to make sure that they are your priority until they want to go play. Yes you may have 100 tasks to complete by the end of the night but you will never get today back again and your child will never be this age again!

V5 Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Like this warrior in this account we are in a battle for our kids, whether we are like me and have one, or whether we are like Jim Duggar and have 19, you are blessed when you have children and like that warrior going to battle he would much rather go into battle with a full quiver with that back up than go our empty handed. That is not to say that the amount of children you have is a measure of your faithfulness, I have no explanation why God opens and closes wombs when he does but I trust in his plan, whether it is to my benefit or not!

Lord willing, in our next article in the book of Psalms 1 where we look at the friends we keep and having delight in the law of the LORD. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.


TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Four – December 24th


TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Four – December 24th

Thank you for reading our twenty fourth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at the prophecy that the messiah would be seated at Gods right hand. We read this is the book of Psalms chapter sixty eight and one hundred and ten which both are awesome pieces of prophetic scripture…

Psalm 68:18 (ESV) You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the LORD God may dwell there. 19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah 20 Our God is a God of salvation, and to GOD, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.

Like so many of these prophesies, David writes about his individual situation before and after this piece of messianic prophecy. When I read this piece of scripture I am reminded of Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church in chapter four verse eight where Paul quotes this as referring to the messiah Jesus of Nazareth. (The Christ) I have attached the first 10 verses for context of the full manner of scripture:

Ephesians 4:1 (ESV) I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” 9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? 10 He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

From this piece of scripture we see fundamental basic Christian doctrines, there is One of the following.

1) One body
2) One spirit
3) One LORD
4) One faith
5) One baptism
6) One God and Father

Paul confirms that Christ ascended but also writes that “he led a host of captives” which would be the Old Testament saints into the glory of heaven. The sacrificial system that came before Jesus was good, but it only temporarily put away sin it was never meant to grant eternal life. Jesus died for the sins of the world, past and present. When sin was conquered then the faithful of old were led by Christ into glory.

1st Peter also confirms that only the blood of Jesus (not of the animal sacrifices) was enough to “pay the ransom of sin” here is the verse in full:

1 Peter 1:17 (ESV) And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

Going back to Psalm 68, the best explanation I have heard for this was said by the founder of Calvary Chapel Chuck Smith Senior when he said…

“But hell, prior to the death of Christ, was separated into two compartments. One compartment was of suffering for the unbelievers; the other was a compartment of comfort by Abraham for those who were trusting in the promises of God and in the fulfillment of God’s promise. Now these Old Testament men of faith all died in faith not having received the promise, but seeing it afar off they held onto it and they claimed that they were just strangers and pilgrims here. And they were just looking for a city which hath foundation, whose maker and builder is God. Now when Jesus died, He descended into hell. He who has ascended is the one who first of all descended into the lower parts of the earth. And when He ascended, it is then that He led captivity captive. In the book of Isaiah, chapter 61, the prophecy concerning Christ, it said, “He is going to set at liberty those that are bound and open the prison doors to those that are bound.” Set at liberty those that are chained, open the prison doors to those that are bound. Those that were bound by death, waiting with Abraham for the promise of God. When Jesus died He descended into hell and He preached to those souls that were in prison. The glorious fulfillment of God’s promise. The redemptive program is complete. The blood has been shed, whereby your sins are now put away once and for all. And now with their sins put away, they can ascend into the heavenly scene. So when He ascended, He led the captives from their captivity. And then He gave gifts unto men. That is, within the church, He gave gifted men as apostles, as prophets, as evangelists, as pastor teachers, for the perfecting of the saints. So, Paul quotes this in Ephesians 4, and of course, it just ties together a whole group of scriptures. Luke, the sixteenth chapter; Acts, chapter 2; and Ephesians, chapter 4; and the reference there in Peter where He went and preached to those souls in prison; and Isaiah 61. So you can look those up and find them tied together.” Credit – Pastor Chuck Smith Snr. Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa C2000 Series

Explained it way better than I ever could. Let’s look at Psalm one hundred and ten:

Psalm 110:1 (ESV) A Psalm of David. The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I  make your enemies your footstool.”

This gives a great insight into where Jesus is in the kingdom of heaven. At present he is sitting at the right hand of the father, which is why it states The LORD says to my Lord. Father God is speaking to the Son and gives the messianic promise also that his enemies will be trampled underfoot.

One Messiah – Two comings

Skeptics of the bible raise the question and claim that this could not possibly apply to Jesus as he did not trample his enemies underfoot when he died on the cross. I would say that it had a partial application during his first coming (conquering sin and death) and will be fully fulfilled in his second coming.

This verse is quoted as a Messianic Psalm in the book of Matthew chapter twenty two:

Matthew 22:41 (ESV) Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How is it then that David, in the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, 44 “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”’? 45 If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?” 46 And no one was able to answer him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Jesus had been questioned by the Pharisees, Sadducees and the Herodians about different points of scripture and always had given answers that were straight from God and had exposed flaws in their theology and now Jesus asks the Pharisees a question when they were all together. He came to them when they were at their strongest, they loved to debate great points of scripture and show themselves holy among their peers.

He asks a question about himself as he knows that they do not believe that he is the Christ. You see, Jesus was a threat to these guys, they quoted the Rabbis who had gone before them when they interpreted the scriptures, Jesus did not. Jesus spoke with authority straight from the father and these “holy men” knew that he was different.

In asking this question he could see where their hearts were, whether they were asking for knowledge sake or whether they were genuinely seeking. Jesus asked a similar question of his disciples in which the Spirit revealed to peter who Jesus is.

Jesus used the thing they held upmost, the scriptures to demonstrate who he was. He knew they were going to answer “The Son of David” because that was one of the great titles of the messiah (See the earlier blog on this title) It is unknown whether they did not know of Jesus lineage and that through this mother and mothers husband he qualified as a “descendent of David.

The part they didn’t get was that the messiah was both human (Son of David) and divine (LORD of David) which is why they could not answer Jesus. Jesus accurately shows them that the Son of David was also the messiah; the messiah was also the LORD God coming with all authority given to him by the Father. And let’s look at Mark chapter sixteen that shows that he was actually lifted up…

Mark 16:19 (ESV) So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

What a fulfillment of scripture right here in the book of Mark (and also in yesterday’s verse in Luke chapter twenty four) He quite literally went to “prepare that place for us” and he fulfilled prophecy right there and then.

Jesus is in heaven at present and he desires that you join him. As we look at Christmas and draw an end to our advent series, I ask that you examine closely the claims of the messiah, hopefully the case that I have put forward in these twenty four parts will in some way to resolve some questions you had about who Jesus is.

December 25th is the day we hold in memory to remember the one who came to die for our sins and was the author of the faith that bears his name (Christian) My hope to you is that you get a Christmas gift that cannot be bought but it is worth more than gold. I of course refer to the gift of eternal life.

Jesus went through all this so we can join him in heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.