Families establish homes and sentries guard cities, but both these activities are futile unless God is in them. A family without God can never experience the spiritual bond God brings to relationships. A city without God will crumble from evil and corruption on the inside. Don’t make the mistake of leaving God out of your life. If you do, all your accomplishments will be futile. Make God your highest priority, and let him do the building. Life Application Study Bible
This very practical short Psalm of just five verses really gets right to the point, and is one of my favorites. There may be some controversy regarding who wrote this Psalm-David or his son Solomon, but in any case it would properly be ascribed to Solomon. Let’s look at the following excerpt from Matthew Henry’s Commentary as we apply its content to our lives:
It is entitled (as we read it) “for Solomon,” dedicated to him by his father. He having a house to build, a city to keep, and seed to raise up to his father, David directs him to look up to God, and to depend upon his providence, without which all his wisdom, care, and industry, would not serve. Some take it to have been penned by Solomon himself, and it may as well be read, “a song of Solomon,” who wrote a great many; and they compare it with the Ecclesiastes, the scope of both being the same, to show the vanity of worldly care and how necessary it is that we keep in favour with God. Matthew Henry’s Commentary
Let’s look next at some definitions in the Hebrew:
builds: בּנה bânâh baw-naw’ A primitive root; to build (literally and figuratively): – (begin to) build (-er), obtain children, make, repair, set (up), X surely.
house:בּית bayith bah’-yith Probably from H1129 abbreviated; a house (in the greatest variation of applications, especially family, etc.): – court, daughter, door, + dungeon, family, + forth of, X great as would contain, hangings. home[born], [winter]house (-hold), inside(-ward), palace, place, + prison, + steward, + tablet, temple, web, + within (-out).
vain: שׁו שׁואo shâv’ shav shawv, shav From the same as H7722 in the sense of desolating; evil (as destructive), literally (ruin) or morally (especially guile); figuratively idolatry (as false, subjectively), uselessness (as deceptive, objectively; also adverbially in vain): – false (-ly), lie, lying, vain, vanity.
guards: שׁמר shâmar shaw-mar’ A primitive root; properly to hedge about (as with thorns), that is, guard; generally to protect, attend to, etc.: – beware, be circumspect, take heed (to self), keep (-er, self), mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save (self), sure, (that lay) wait (for), watch (-man).
watchman: The definition in the Hebrew is the same as for the word guards.
awake: שׁקד shâqad shaw-kad’ A primitive root; to be alert, that is, sleepless; hence to be on the lookout (whether for good or ill): – hasten, remain, wake, watch (for).
That’s a lot of word definitions, but I hope it will help us to break this verse down so that we may apply it to our lives. “Unless the Lord builds the house“- in the Hebrew it defines builds both literally and figuratively. We can of course literally build and maintain a house-or we can build our home in the figurative sense, that is to build our family-meaning children, as it goes on to explain further in verses 3-5 of this Psalm. So there are two ways to apply this verse-both literally and figuratively.
Now here’s the key to this whole verse: Unless the Lord. Unless the Lord builds the house (literal +/or figurative)-guess what? It’s in vain. The Hebrew defines vain as uselessness, lies, false, deceptive, and even idolatry. The verse goes on to say They labor in vain who build it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like it much when I (literally) work really hard at something-and it just doesn’t come out as well as expected. Have you ever tried to fix something on your house (see Hebrew builds above) and it doesn’t quite as good as that really nice picture in the Lowes store? Or here’s one-try to fix a car these days-that’s definitely a vain attempt! I don’t like this labor in vain stuff.
1Co 3:7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.
God’s work involves many different individuals with a variety of gifts and abilities. There are no superstars in this task, only team members performing their own special roles. We can become useful members of God’s team by setting aside our desires to receive glory for what we do. Don’t seek the praise that comes from people—it is comparatively worthless. Instead, seek approval from God. Life Application Study Bible
Pro 16:9 The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.
Pro 21:30 There is no wisdom and no understanding And no counsel against the LORD.
There is progress in life, there is progress in history, because the Lord is building, working, and watching with man; and man is learning.—slowly, alas! and by stages that seem imperceptible each moment, visible only over a long range of generations—that the one way of life, the one fountain of blessing, is the taming of his self-will to build, and watch, and work with God. Sermon Bible Commentary
Next let’s go to the second half of this verse. Guards and watchmen are mentioned, and in the Hebrew the definition is the same for both words. So a watchman is a protector, observer, and preserver and is bewaring. The watchman keeps awake in vain. The watchman is to be sleepless and on the lookout. This verse tells us that unless the Lord guards the city-which the watchman keeps awake in vain. Simply put: Christ needs to be glorified:
1Co 15:14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.
***There’s that vain word again.
If you would build wisely, look to the foundations. Christ is the one Rock on which the house of life must rest if it is to escape the floods and fires by which all that is perishable must perish, and be lifted on high among the imperishable things through eternity. The question, “What think ye of Christ?” is the vital question for every one of us.Sermon Bible Commentary
Let’s conclude today with these verses from the Psalms:
(Psa 121:3) He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.(Psa 121:4) Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep.(Psa 121:5) The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade on your right hand.(Psa 121:6) The sun will not smite you by day, Nor the moon by night.(Psa 121:7) The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.(Psa 121:8) The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in From this time forth and forever.
God Bless You Today!
Your Brother in Christ, Pastor & Grandpa Frosty
...”just a man under the stage”
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