To know our dependency upon God is important, but there is another side to the picture which the psalmist paints in Psalm 127:1. It is true that "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it; except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh in vain." And we are fools if we set out to do anything apart from God. For the word vain does mean foolish as well as empty.
Jesus taught us the other side of the truth, when He taught us to pray, "Not my will but Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." For unless it pleases God to have this or that happen, it is absolutely impossible that it will take place. Bear that in mind all day.
God is so often so far away from our thoughts, and we make all kinds of plans as though He does not exist, or at least as though we need not be concerned with His will.
Instead we find ourselves grumbling and complaining because of what He was pleased to have happen. He wanted rain and we wanted sunshine. He wanted us to be ill, and we wanted health.
So often our works, but also our prayers, spring forth from the proud notion that God must listen to us, rather than that we must bow before His will, no matter what that will is. And we do well to commit that versification ofPsalm 127:1 to memory and take it with us every step of our earthly life:
Unless the Lord the house shall build,
The weary builders toil in vain:
Unless the Lord the city shield,
The guards a useless watch maintain.
Let the cross of Christ speak loudly to you. This was not what we planned, or even understood when it took place. Jesus' disciples all forsook Him and fled, thinking all was going wrong.
Yet He was building the house of many mansions and the glorious city called the New Jerusalem. The cross was no vain work but that which brings everlasting blessedness.
Read: Mark 14:26-42
Psalter versification: 359:1
on the Heidelberg Catechism
Song for Meditation: Psalter number 125
Why not sing along??
Quote for Reflection:
Meditation on mortification: “In dissuading us from wickedness Scripture demands the entire destruction of the flesh, which is full of perverseness and malice. It is a most difficult and arduous achievement to renounce ourselves and lay aside our natural disposition for the flesh is not destroyed unless every thing we have of our own is abolished…Hence we are often enjoined to put off the old man, to renounce the world and the flesh, to forsake our lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of our mind. Moreover, the very name mortification reminds us how difficult it is to forget our former nature—that we cannot be trained to the fear of God and learn the first principles of piety, unless we are violently smitten with the sword of the Spirit and annihilated, as if God were declaring, that to be ranked among his sons there must be a destruction of our ordinary nature.” --John Calvin,Institutes, 3.3.8
- Date: 14-March