Psalm 127

The Psalms

Psalm 127
Live with meaning for God

Psalms index

Psalm 127

1 A song of ascents. Of Solomon.

Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labour in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. 2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.

3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. 4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. 5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.


Psalm 127 – Live with meaning for God

(Verses 1-2) Solomon, King David’s son, who authors this psalm, also wrote in the book of Ecclesiastes 1:2 (NKJV and AV translations) ‘“Vanity of vanities” says the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”’ The NIV translates this as ‘Meaningless’ and ‘Utterly meaningless’. Ecclesiastes is God’s record of how a man without God looks at life. Life seems empty to so many without Christ as their Saviour. Solomon now writes in this psalm about doing three things ‘in vain’ and therefore they become meaningless. The lesson here is unless God is with us and helps us in what we do, then as Christians, we will get nowhere and accomplish nothing that pleases Him. That is why we should daily pray for the day ahead and look back at the end of it with thanks to God for how He has helped us during the day.

The three things relate to builders building, watchmen watching, and living without proper sleep. These are all very practical matters. Building, watching, waking and sleeping: we need God in all of these things. One of the first things to do after believing in the living Christ, and in His substitutionary death for you on the cross where He was punished in your place and for your sins, is to open up the whole of your life to Him, to ask Him to be in charge of every part of it. The more you share with Him, trust and obey Him, the more He blesses you.

You may never build a house or act as the lookout (watchman) for a city. And maybe you are now happy with your waking and sleeping patterns. But if you trust in Christ, you need your life to be built on the solid Rock of Jesus Christ and biblical teaching. In Matthew 26:41 and Mark 14:38, Jesus says, ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.’ We need God’s help to watch against temptations to sin, so He can strengthen us to live for Him. We need His help to be disciplined about time asleep and awake to serve and glorify Him.

Many young adults rise too late and go to bed too late. Some people are slaves to their jobs to make a lot of money: they get up too early and work too late. At times we all need to do that for good reasons, but not as a pattern for living. We need wisdom and discipline and ensure that each day starts and finishes with the Bible and prayer, if we know Jesus. God promises wisdom to all who ask Him for it. (James 1:5). We do need to be in touch with Him to ask for wisdom. Live meaningfully for God and for others: please Him and bless them.

(Verses 3-5) Physical children are a blessing to many families, especially if parents are good role models, and they are raised well. This is a prime parental duty, especially for those who follow Christ. But keen Christians also pray to have spiritual children and help people of all ages to turn to Christ, and so be born again. They must act in a caring, loving and spiritual parental role, so ‘baby converts’, however old in years, grow well as children of God.

Whether spiritual or physical, or both, our children are like arrows. They are sent to places we cannot reach easily. They can represent and even defend their parents, as the ‘court’ reference suggests. If we are faithful as God’s children, it helps them to be faithful as well.