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“The Family Psalms”

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The Family Psalms

(Psalms 127, 128)

by Gary Ogden

There is a lot said in the Bible about good family relationships. Psalms 127 and 128 are in effect twins, approaching the subject of family life from different angles. Let us reinstate in our homes the principles stated in these two Psalms.

Let the Lord be the center of the home

“Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it” (127:1). “Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways” (128:1). How can we ever expect to have a good family life if we leave the Lord out of the picture? If things aren’t right with God, how can they be right with your mate, children, parents? When God and His word rule our hearts and lives, family life will be a pleasant and rich experience.

Don’t worry, be happy

“In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves” (127:2, NIV). “When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you” (128:2, NKJV). The workplace these days can be a real test of stamina and keeping things in proper perspective. Somehow the child of God must find the way to go about his business, do a good job for the boss, use his paycheck wisely and leave the rest to God. A fretful, worrisome disposition creates great havoc in the family. A lack of contentment frequently is the cause. For some families, it makes no difference how much money you make; it is never enough. Poor spending habits create tension, worry and strife.

Worry is a sleep-robber. Most people turn into real grouches when they don’t get enough rest. Reminds me of the woman who lamented, “Sometimes I wake up grumpy, and sometimes I just let him sleep.” There is no substitute for a good night’s rest, and putting our trust in the Lord while we work hard will accomplish the goal.

Think of family as a blessing from God

“Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (127:3). “Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table” (128:3). One of the attitudes that prevailed among the ancients was that children were a gift from God. They besought God for children and considered having a large family as beneficial. Many people view children as a curse and a blight to be eradicated. Why do we have so many “unwanted children” these days? Quite simply, people do not fear the Lord and walk in His ways.

If you have a good wife and a house full of well-behaved children, you are a blessed man indeed. Good children look after the welfare of the parents in days of infirmity and old age; they espouse the cause of their parents when they need a defender; they produce grandchildren who become the “crown of old men” (Proverbs 17:6).

I’m not in the grandparent business yet, although I qualify by reason of age and wisdom. I do have a number of friends who declare that having grandchildren has great recompense of reward. If children are like having “olive plants around your table” (Psalm 128:3), grandchildren must be like having chocolate cake all day long. The best thing about grandchildren is that they give you yet another chance to nurture a soul bound for eternity. Let us help them learn to fear the Lord and walk in His ways.

The psalmist concludes with a prayer: “May the Lord bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem, and may you live to see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel” (128:5–6). We need to be praying for our families. I hope and pray that you and yours will make the Lord the center of your home, that you will fear Him and walk in His ways, that you will treat your family as a precious gift from God and that peace, peace of mind, and prosperity will prevail in your home.

 

Christianity Magazine: March–April 1994, Volume 11, Number 3. 1994. Christianity Magazine: Jacksonville, FL