Psalm 128 – “1 Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. 2 You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. 3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. 4 Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord. 5 May the Lord bless you from Zion; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. 6 May you live to see your children’s children—peace be on Israel.”
Psalm 128 begins with a pronouncement of blessing, “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him.” To be blessed means to be happy, regardless of your circumstance, but to really understand blessing we need to change our perception of happiness. Our world tells us that happiness depends on our happenings, but blessing is not tied to our circumstances it’s tied to Christ. We all know people who are killing themselves trying to find happiness and get ahead in life. Most are trying to find significance and satisfaction in the stuff instead of in the Savior. Worldly happiness is like chasing the wind, just about the time you finally catch up to it you realize you are caught in it. The wind you wished for has become the wind that that wears you down, instead of finding satisfaction you find a storm. In striving for success, we may achieve our goal only to live to regret it. No matter what we do, without God we will either fail miserably or succeed miserably. Happiness comes from doing things God’s way not the worlds way. Blessing is more than just a change in the external it’s a complete change of perception. Depending on the lens that we look at life through depends on what we see, as a result we see life, not as it is, but as we are. Because it’s a matter of perception there will always be those who will never be happy, no matter how much they have. We will only see clearly when we see life from Christ’s perspective, when we stop looking at life through secular eyes and start seeing it with spiritual ones. True happiness is not something external, it’s not a matter of luck, or dependent on tricks, it involves fear, faithfulness and fruit. First the Psalmist starts with:
- Fearful worship
What does it really mean to “the fear the Lord?” Fearing the Lord is not about being afraid of the Almighty, but rather showing Him reverent respect. To reverence God, means to take God seriously to recognize that He is holy and hold Him in high regard. Taking God seriously means recognizing His Sovereignty and His right to rule. It means letting Christ be at the center of everything we are, what we think, dream and aspire to do. The Savior must be the starting point for our every endeavor. Paul preached and counseled us in Colossians 1:18 that “in all things Christ should have the preeminence.” Does Christ have preeminence in your life, who has the primary-say in your life? Have you surrendered to the supremacy of the Savior? When we reverence God, we will start with prayer not our plans. Instead of making plans and then praying as an after-thought we will pursue God in prayer first, and as we do we will hear about His plans instead of trying to tell Him about ours. What about you do you begin with God or your goals? Second we see a:
- Faithful Walk
“who walk in obedience to him” Out of fear comes faithfulness, true reverence result in right living. Obedience to God is the natural outcome of regarding God with reverence and respect. Our worship always shapes our walk, if our worship is worldly then our walk will be worldly. But if our worship is focused on the father then we will walk in His ways not in the world. The backbone of worship is an obedient walk. So how do we travel down the road of truth, by following God’s holy way not the worldly way, by thinking and behaving biblically. Happiness is the by-product of a holy life, one that is lived in the will of God not in the lust of our wants. Because beliefs determine behavior it is imperative that the basis for our beliefs is the Bible. Do you approach life from a scriptural standpoint or a secular one? When we think secularly we end up operating within a frame of reference restricted by the limits of our world. We will never engage on an eternal scope because we have limited life to an earthly perspective not an eternal one. What about you is your thinking human-bound or heavenly-minded? To think as a Christian is to regard all things in relation to God’s purpose. We can expect blessing when we live with a constant awareness that we belong to God. Our faithful walk flows into:
- Fruitful Work
Verse 2 says “You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.” Not only will our worship impact our walk but it will also affect our work. God desires to bless our work, the problem is that most of us try to start with work and end with worship. But the proper progression is fear, faithfulness and then fruit. Until we recognize that the path to fruitfulness flows first through fear and then faithfulness we will always be tempted to start with fruit. Our work is an outflow of our worship but many of us are trying to make worship our work, as a result we end up worshipping our work. A workaholic doesn’t have a work problem they have a worship problem. Until they refocus their life to revolve around worship their world will always revolve around work. Blessings flows first out of our worship not our work. Which means that blessings comes as a result of heart work not hard work. Worldly wisdom tells us that it takes hard work to get ahead, but Godly wisdom calls us not to hard work but to heart worship. Worship is centered around and celebrates God’s work not ours, it glorifies the Messiahs work not mans. When we rely on Christ’s finished work we can rest, but when we try to rest on our work we end up worn out because our work is never finished. We learn to be content with what we have when we base our joy on what Jesus has done and is doing in and through us. Our work flows out of worship because we work in response to His revelation. When we start with work we often become too weary to worship, we end up giving God our leftovers instead of our life. If we want to experience fruit in our work we need to start giving God our first fruits not the spoiled ones. Are you giving God your best or the leftovers? Are you giving to God out of a grateful heart or a grumpy one? Is your life characterized by cheerfulness or complaining? As we think about God’s blessing in our life we must keep in mind that prosperity and success for the saved are not measured by the standards of the world. Prosperity is not necessarily measured through material possessions. Sometimes God’s greatest treasures are not the temporary rewards but the eternal riches. Because happiness doesn’t always come in the form of health and wealth we may not always be aware of His blessings. There will be times when we may wonder if God is working, but when we can’t see His hand we can still trust His heart. When you can’t perceive the blessing keep trusting in His plan to produce the intended results. God calls us to our careers, He is the One who opens and closes doors of opportunity, and brings succees. Our responsibility is to start with worship and let worship dictate our walk so that our walk impacts our work. So let me ask you how is your worship, what about your walk, and lastly your work?