THE SUCCESS OF ANY ENDEAVOR DEPENDS ULTIMATELY ON THE GIFT OF GOD’S BLESSING
There are many ingredients to success. The psalmist is not demeaning the value of hard work, of diligence, of ambition, etc. But there is one essential ingredient for success.
I. (:1) 2 ILLUSTRATIONS
A. Building a House
“Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it”
1. Requires skilled labor – but this alone is vanity apart from:
2. Essential Ingredient = the work of God
cf. frustration of those who attempted to build the Tower of Babel in opposition to God’s will.
Cambridge: “house is probably used in a wide sense, which could include the temple, an ordinary house, or a dynasty or family”
B. Guarding a City
“Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain”
1. Requires the vigilance of a watchman – but this alone is vanity apart from:
2. Essential Ingredient = the vigilance of God
II. (:2) KEY PRINCIPLE
A. Insufficient Ingredients for Success ( Fruitless apart from God’s Blessing)
1. Long Hours of Work
“It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late”
2. Hard Labor
“To eat the bread of painful labors”
B. One Essential Ingredient for Success = Gift of God’s Blessing = “He Gives”
“For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep”
If man receives the blessing while he is sleeping, it is evident that the fruit of his labors depend on God’s gracious gift rather than on his own labors.
The Lord delights to give good gifts to His beloved children.
No place for anxiety; we should sleep in peace – confident in the Lord’s giving to meet our needs in harmony with His will.
Cambridge: perhaps should be interpreted: “he gives (children) to those He loves as they sleep” Or “in sleep (= marital intercourse)”
Transition: The best proof of this is the gift of children.
III. (:3-5) FINAL PROOF = GOD’S GIFT OF CHILDREN
A. The Determining Ultimate Source of Children
1. “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord”
2. “The fruit of the womb is a reward”
B. The Powerful Resource of Children
“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth”
C. The Blessing of a Large Family
“How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They shall not be ashamed, When they speak with their enemies in the gate.”