My morning today was fairly busy. I began with a breakfast meeting Windsor and then two service visits before leaving for my morning Chiropractor appointment. This afternoon was more relaxing and I was even able to get in a workout. Our spring weather has turned to more winter-like and is to last for a few days.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “How happy is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways!…In this very way the man who fears the Lord will be blessed.” Psalm 128:1,4 HCSB
It is often observed that a tombstone has two dates separated by a dash. The dash between the two dates represents the life of a person. A beginning point and an ending point. It is the dash between the dates that really counts!
The Psalms of Ascent are a collection of psalms that are believed to have been recited as Israel’s men made their way to Jerusalem for the three main festivals of the year. They are “Psalms for going up.” We see a starting point for the journey in Psalm 120 and an ending point in Psalm 134 as a call for worship from God’s holy hill goes out.
What is important is what happens in between the longing for God’s house in a place of distress and arriving at God’s House in the midst of worship. Between the beginning of the journey and the end of the journey. This psalm is found toward the end of the journey. It addresses and affirms the blessings of those who walk in the “fear of the Lord.” Sometimes in a long journey it is easy to get weary and question is the “journey worth it?”
What we see in between the verses above is a description of those blessings from the Lord that shows keeping to the journey, the commitment to fear the Lord and walk in His ways is “worth it.”
We see described is a life of prosperity. “You will surely eat what your hands have worked for.” (Psalm 128:2 HCSB) In a time when food from the land not only sustained the family, but provided the means for acquiring other things needed for life, being assured that you will enjoy a harvest is significant. When Moses warned the Children of Israel in the wilderness of the consequences for disobedience he said, “You will plant a vineyard, but you will not even begin to enjoy its fruit. Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will eat none of it.” (Deuteronomy 28:30-31 NIV)
We see described a life of satisfaction. “You will be happy, and it will go well for you.” (Psalm 128:2 HCSB) In the Old Testament the greeting was, “is it well with you?” Today it is just, “how are you dong?” A life of peace and contentment is a blessed life. It is the promised life of those who follow the Lord. Solomon said, “…the way of transgressors is hard.“ (Proverbs 13:15 KJV)
I believe even when life is “not good” it can still be “well” for us. The consistent side affect of following the ways of the Lord is described as “blessing” or “Happy.” We see that reflected in the Beatitudes of Jesus. (Matthew 5:3-12) We see it in Psalm 1. “Blessed [or happy] is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers. but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.“ (Psalm 1:1,2 NIV)
We see described a blessed family. “Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house, your sons, like young olive trees around your table.” (Psalm 128:3 HCSB) We see in scripture that barrenness for women, really for a couple, was viewed as a curse. If money is the greatest source of martial conflict in our world today, barrenness was that in the ancient world. Children were not only viewed as a blessing but having sons (and daughters) that live successful, god-fearing lives is a blessing as well. Another Psalm of Ascent says,
“…Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. 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.” (Psalm 127:3-5 NIV)
When we keep our eyes on the Lord and continue to walk in His ways and journey with Him, we will discover that it is a life of blessing. Keep to the journey, it is worth it, we have a grand destination in view.