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.”
After reminding us of fear, faithfulness and fruit now we see the blessing of:
The Psalmist reminds us that part of the blessing that we will experience revolves around relationship not riches. Our fellowship with God the father flows into our family, and there is no greater joy than enjoying the fruit of family. It’s out of our relationship with God that we can connect with our wife and kids. Spending time soaking in the Savior will sweeten your time with your spouse. It starts with your relationship with God and then your spouse, “Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house.” Here the psalmist refers to a wife as a fruitful vine, a symbol of prosperity. Not just a spreading vine which serves for an ornament, but as a fruitful and blessed vine. What is interesting is that a fruiting vine needs to be supported and cherished, we have to value and care for God’s blessings. As men we are called not only to be strong and supportive, but tender and attentive. The greatest thing you can do for your children is to love their mother as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. The King James version says, “Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house.” The heart of the home is not stuff it’s your spouse, it’s not about possessions it’s about a person. A beautiful home is not about the decor it’s about the wife we adore. Sometimes we get so busy that we miss the real blessings. Today many are taking the true treasure of their home for granted, we are neglecting the vine that is vital to the success of the home. First it begins with your relationship with God then your wife then your children, “your children will be like olive shoots around your table.” In bible times people who owned olive groves owned something of great value. Olive trees can live and provide fruit and income for twenty to thirty generations, that’s a couple of centuries! One of the greatest gifts is the blessing of a Godly heritage. As fathers we can pass on and perpetuate our lives and faith into the future generations that are to come. There is a big difference between a garden and a grove, gardens are short term, and groves are long term. Yet so often we live short sighted lives investing ourselves in riches instead of relationships, as a result not only is our vision short sighted and limited but our influence is also short lived. Our greatest work is not building a business its loving our kids and leading them to the Lord. How do you want to be remembered by your kids? Do you want to be remembered as a dad that relied on and loved God and who passed on to his children the values and the heritage of the Word of God? Ephesians 6:4 says “You fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” Rules without relationship bring rebellion. You can’t grow children who will love God by setting up the rules for them and coming home once in awhile to enforce those rules. You have to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, which means that they have to experience God’s love in true and tangible ways. 3 John 1:4 says “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” The joy is not in having kids that behave but kids that believe and live out their belief. Because kids that live out their belief will behave, behavior is a byproduct of belief. If you believe that you are unconditionally loved your behavior will reflect that belief, just as bad behavior will reflect the belief of not being loved. If you want children that walk in truth you have to tend the plant, and tending takes time. Your kids are tender plants which means they are not only valuable they are vulnerable. Are you taking time to tend, are you proactively, planting, providing, protecting, and pruning? The way to bring them to maturity is in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. It revolves around relationship so that they know they are loved by you and the Lord. As men we are called to provide for our families, but family provision is more that finance, it involves being an emotional provider, the provider of security, and the provider of peace and love in the home. Many of us try to satisfy the longing of our kid’s hearts with stuff, but the Bible says that being a provider, means more than just the material things, it’s talking about the spiritual things of life. Not only will the blessing be found in our families but it will be:
- Far Flung
“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.” The blessing extends from the family into our neighborhoods and even our nation. As the home goes, so goes the nation. The Psalm before this 127:4 says “Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands.” Children are messengers that we send to a time we will never see. The question is what message will they carry in a corrupt culture, will it be the message of Christ or a conceited self-centered one? That depends on the witness of the warrior, in Joshua 24:15, we find Joshua standing before the nation of Israel, a mighty general who had led the people to possess the land and experience countless victories, giving the people this great challenge: “Choose you this day whom you will serve, whether the God that your fathers served on the other side of the flood, or whether the gods of the people of the land where you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Success starts with choosing sides, and then standing up for what we believe. Do you want to be a fruitful father, then start being a God fearing faithful father, who cares for his family. Take time to teach your children and model God’s love. Being the spiritual leader of the home means setting a spiritual example in the home. Psalm 78:5-7 says: “He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, 6 so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. 7 Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.” Today men are not only dropping the baton of belief, but many of them are not even showing up to the run the race. Our nation is falling apart not because of finances but because of faithless fathers who are failing. We don’t have a finance problem we have a fatherless problem. Look our greatest resource is not our riches it’s our relationships. As a nation our greatest recession is not a financial one it’s a fatherless one, one-third of America’s children are not living with their natural fathers. Since 1960 we have gone from 11 percent of all American children living in homes without fathers to 33 percent. The chief characteristic of God our Father is faithfulness. God is always consistent, faithful loving, He is always present. As fathers we are called to be the pattern for our family that represents the faithfulness of God the Father, but we have to be present to paint the picture. Faithful fathers stand by their promises, they don’t let go. When marriage is messy and isn’t fun stay with it. When parenting is painful stay the course. When work is crushing your spirit, be faithful. When your local church is plagued with pettiness, stay faithful and stand by it. When your children let you down, pick them up, don’t focus on feelings of failure focus on faithfulness. When your wife goes through a six-month sickness, don’t just live with her, love her through it and be faithful to her. Be a man not a boy and understand that the heart of staying power is sacrifice and service. We need to return to the days of being mighty men, men who willingly gave up self for the good of another. Men who stormed the beaches instead of becoming soft men who just want to sit in the sand and get a suntan. Jesus lived out the ultimate example of staying power, and He calls us to model his example in Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.” Think about it, Jesus could have given up when they cursed Him. He could have crumbled when his own people turned against Him. He could have given up when they drove the nails in His hands and feet. But the Bible says He continued to love us; He continued to care for us; He continued to give. Today we want the blessings without the burden, we want the glory without the groaning. But you can’t have the crown without the cross. Do you want to be a fruitful father? Then fear God, follow Him faithfully, provide for your family and shoot your arrows far into the future. Be a man not a mouse and keep on keeping on, being faithful to your promises no matter what.