Scripture reading – Psalms 128
Psalm 128 continues our study of the Psalms titled, “A Song of Degrees” (Psalms 120-134), and is a song of rejoicing for the LORD’s blessings. The central focus of the psalm is the promise of the LORD’s blessings on the household of the man who fears the LORD and walks in His ways.
Three Portraits of a Blessed Family (Psalm 128)
First Family Portrait: “A Fruitful Vine” (128:1-3a)
Here we find a woman who, under the shadow of her husband’s love and spiritual piety (128:1-3a), is portrayed as “a fruitful vine” and a source of joy to her husband. The psalmist wrote:
Psalm 128:1–3a – “1Blessed [Happy] is every one that feareth [reveres; worships] the Lord; That walketh in his ways.
2For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: Happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well [pleasant] with thee.
3Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine By the sides of thine house: Thy children like olive plants Round about thy table.”
There is not a man or woman who does not long for happiness. Some look for affirmation as a way to happiness and learn that trophies, plaques, and applause never gratify. Some climb the corporate ladder to success, pursue wealth and acquire possessions only to find no contentment. Sadly, the happiness the world promises is temporal and does not satisfy.
Whom did the psalmist portray as a picture of happiness and success? Those who fear the LORD and walk in His ways (i.e., obeying His Laws and Commandments). Such a man is promised he will enjoy the fruit of his labor. (128:2). His household will be blessed, and his wife, like a fruitful vine (a symbol of a giver of life), will bear him sons and daughters.
Second Family Portrait: “Children Like Olive Tree” (128:3b-4)
Psalm 128:3b–4 – “Thy children like olive plants Round about thy table. 4Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord.”
The second family portrait in our study is of the household of the man who fears and reveres the LORD. He and his wife (“a fruitful vine”) are blessed with sons and daughters (128:3). Unlike the households where children grow up to become wild weeds, the children of those who fear the LORD are like olive trees. They sit around the table and are trained, groomed, and cultivated in the LORD’s Law and Commandments (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). They grow up to be a blessing (128:4).
Third Family Portrait: The Contentment of Three Family Generations (128:5-6)
Psalm 128:5–6 – 5The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion [the mountain upon which the Temple was built]: And thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem All the days of thy life. 6Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children, And peace upon Israel.
The Temple on Mount Zion was a majestic symbol of the LORD’s presence in Israel. It was a perpetual reminder of God’s promise that the nation would prosper if the people feared the LORD and obeyed His Law and Commandments.
The three family portraits in our study reflect the sum of a man’s life. In his youth, he chose to fear the LORD and conform his life to the ways of the LORD (128:1-2). His household was blessed with children (128:3-4). In the final portrait, he was old and stooped in age. Though his body was weak, his spirit was strong, and he aspired to see the blessings of God upon himself and his nation (128:5).
Because the LORD is the rewarder of them who love and fear Him, the old man was promised, “6 Yea, thou shalt see [look; discern] thy children’s children [grandchildren], and peace [Shalom; prosperity] upon Israel” (128:6).
An Invitation: Notice that the third family portrait was a picture of contentment, and the last verse served as a benediction. You and I long for our life and family to be a portrait of joy. To be blessed to see the LORD pour out His blessings on home and to live and see your “children’s children” (128:6). I long to see my country return to the LORD and enjoy “Shalom,” the peace and prosperity of the LORD (128:6).
Those are admirable aspirations. However, they are promised only to those who fear the LORD and walk in His ways (128:1).
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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