WHEN THE LORD BUILDS THE HOUSE
Psalms 127 and 128 seem to be put together to form a unified statement of the family blessings of serving the Lord. Where Psalm 127 goes from the city to the family, Psalm 128 comes back the other way, from the family to the city. They emphasize the same themes and when we put them together we get a clear message about God’s blessing.
The Frustrated House — Most people have a picture of the ideal family. It’s full of loving commitment to each other, partnership, conversation, laughter, loyalty, and support in life’s disappointments. Yet so many families remain far from the ideal, despite our efforts. The result of trying to build your 'house' yourself is futility. Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing" (Jn. 15:5). We are wholly dependent on Him; our spiritual lives are sourced from Him. Psalm 127 applies this principle to building our houses (Ps. 127:1). The Lord’s aim is to build a home and unless He orders the life of the family, He is not its builder (Ps. 127:1 & Ps. 128:1).
The Blessed House — Two words summarize God's blessing in these verses: fruitfulness (Ps.128:2) and peace (Ps.127:2; Ps.128:6). Mostly these Psalms focus on the simple gift of a thriving family (Ps. 127:3-5; Ps. 128:3). Fruitfulness is the opposite of vanity (Ps. 127:1-2). God's unpretentious blessings are often disguised as responsibilities, and the gifts in these Psalms—children, marriage, and meaningful work—are opportunities to build with the Lord.
The Difference — Why is one house frustrated in vanity and the other blessed (Psalm 127:1)? The Lord builds through His providence (Ps. 127:2-3; Ps. 128:1-6) but that blessing works primarily in those who fear Him and walk in His ways (Ps. 128:1). To walk in His ways is to ‘practice’ Christianity, to choose the righteous way (cf. Heb. 5:14). If we fear displeasing God more than we fear others (Is. 8:12), He is our sanctuary (Is. 8:14). Christ will never be Lord of your home until He is sanctified as Lord in your heart (1 Pet. 3:14-15). Letting the Lord build does not mean we stop working, but we stop leaning on our own ways and abilities to make the family what it should be (1 Cor. 15:5).
So, who is Lord of your house? If the Lord orders our family’s habits, we will discover the blessed house He intends. Like everything in God’s kingdom on THIS side of eternity, it is a progressive movement towards an ideal—never perfect and certainly never easy. But it is real and possible, with Him.