1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Psalm 127: 1a
What is a house? A house is a place of rest. It is an abode. A place where we unwind, where we are at our freest. It is also a prized possession, something we are proud of. Something we contributed towards. The Bible says to us that unless God is in on the erection of a building, all those working on it are, simply put, wasting their time. I was thinking about this passage and I really thought and thought, I mean I was staring at it for like 15 minutes straight!
What does this simple verse REALLY mean? I came up with the following:
The Lord is our all in all. It is through Him that we live, move and have our being. We need Him to survive. We need Him to live a lasting life. We need Him to live a worthy life.
The fact that the Psalmist’s labourers labour in vain does not necessarily mean that the building will not spring forth. It may or it may not. This means sometimes when you use the arm of flesh to conduct your activities, it might not initially look like it is being done in vain. In fact, it may seem as though you are smarter than all others. It may look like the bouquet catchers are carrying last whilst the throwers are the sharp girls. But of what use is a building that collapses within 3 years of its completion? Isn’t that the same thing as building in vain?
This must have been why David in Psalm 73 encourages us not to envy evil doers who appear to be flourishing. He knew too well that this type of progress is never long lasting.
“For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men… Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors.”
I’d rather have God help me build my beautiful building over time than rush to build my Tower of Babel that will eventually come crashing down before or even as I am enjoying it.
‘Building’ could be anything: it could be your education, your career, your business, your relationship, your marriage, bringing up your children, anything at all. It is essential to let go and let God take absolute charge. He knows the way through the wilderness and all we have to do is trust and obey Him.
Now what happens when you have built so far without God’s hand in the venture? Do you break it all down and start all over again? Do you ask God to please take over from where you stopped? For instance, you have picked a course for your Masters and it is beginning to look like that was not the right thing for you to have chosen and 1st semester is about to end. Do you withdraw and pray and reapply or ask God for wisdom to do well even in that ‘wrong’ course? What if you married the man you picked out for yourself without involving God, will you divorce Him? Ok, maybe that’s too extreme, let’s try this: what if you’re dating a girl who’s not a bad person but the truth is that you never really sought God’s face before starting the relationship. Do you break up and then ask God for His opinion or do you submit your relationship to Him to help you sort out if it is His will or end it peacefully if not?
The Bible says ‘if the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do?’ A lot of Christians I meet seem to think the answer to this is ‘nothing’. In their view, once you erect a building on a faulty foundation, you have to break it down and do it right. I beg to differ (LOL! I hate that phrase by the way). If the foundation be destroyed, the righteous man can seek God’s face and God’s help and assistance. If it really is something He does not want for you, then He will gently break it down and help you get to a better solution without you losing your senses out of pain in the process. Other times, He can make the best out of our foibles. He is God after all. GOD, GREAT GOD!
I learnt this listening to Pastor Poju Oyemade: you can go to God and get your proper title deed and start afresh with Him without losing it all. You don’t always have to divorce, breakup, withdraw from University, quit your job for Him to make it right. That is as far as man’s understanding goes but we serve a mighty God who can help our infirmities and our weaknesses.
Now, please get me not wrong! Sometimes, arguably most times, you might have to submit that thing to Him and have Him do with it as He deems fit. Sometimes, you might have to sacrifice your Isaac and watch Him deliver him back to you with more or you could be a David who might unfortunately lose his son in order to start afresh with his Bathsheba to bring forth his Solomon. Or in another case, you might have committed a wrong deed that will go on to affect generations to come like the birth Ishmael did. God cannot be put in a box. He is sovereign like that. There is no fixed approach. Each case is dealt with on its merits. It’s all ad hoc.
One thing I would emphasise is this: the devil seeks to make you feel worthless and makes you believe that there’s no point going back to God for direction after initially taking a wrong turn. Please, let’s not fall for his foils and gimmicks because God’s arms are always wide open to accept us back if only we acknowledge our blunder and genuinely repent from our obstinacy.
You might have said ‘I do’ to the man who looked good on paper but wasn’t God’s best for you. It doesn’t mean your marriage will crash, no! You might have God’s permissive and not perfect will but He can work it out for you, still.
Now to the second bit:
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
This is the simpler one of the two, in my opinion. All you have to do is let God know you now know that you have no power of your own. It’s not enough to turn to over protecting and caging your kids because you want them to turn out perfect. Policing them will not necessarily yield the perfect fruits. Ask today’s parents of young adults. Ask women who have acquired degrees in FBI/CIA/SSS work with regards to guarding their men, it will not fetch much. Bodily exercise, He says, profiteth little. Not ‘nothing’ but ‘little’. Ask people who slave away at work day in day out but hardly get promoted. Ask Pastors who do all the media coverage necessary but still record more empty than occupied seats every Sunday. ‘It’s not by power, it’s not by might but by my Spirit, says the LORD’. Trust in the Lord with your core, with your being, with your strength and watch Him work things out for you so that He alone can take all the glory.
2 It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.
God gives His beloved sleep. Who are His beloved? These are the sheep who hear His voice and recognize it AND obey Him. They have learned that stalking their partners would do no good. They have learned that worrying will yield no fruits. They have learned the art of implicit trust in God. Yes, it is an art that is honed over time. These type of people sleep undisturbed.
What does sleep mean. It could be literal or figurative. When you sleep, you relax, you are at rest, your laughter is genuine, you snore, lol. You don’t sleep with one eye open. You don’t check up on your partner’s every move. You don’t worry about your job and career progression. Those who God gives ‘sleep’ live a life filled with peace. They don’t fret over what life hurls at them because they know they have a Father, an Almighty Father who is King of kings and Lord of lords!
So what shall we say to these things? Am I advocating a lazy, chilled, laid back lifestyle, one that believes if God wants me to have it, He will bring it to my doorstep? Not really. Instead, I encourage you and myself even more, to pray more, fast more, read the Word more for in so doing, we get direction for everyday life. We live lives that make people wonder, ‘is it only him/her?’. I’m not promising a problem-free life when you walk in the light of His word, no. Instead, I’m promising a life of triumph and victory no matter what may come our way. When people ask you ‘Who built your house?’ Let God Himself in His small still voice respond, ‘I AM THAT I AM built it’.
God bless you guys.
I think I’ve lost weight!!! *dancing to La Bamba* Encourage me and say you see the changes too, lol!!!