A word may be used twice for emphasis. And surely when the word "vain'' is used three times in Psalm 127:1-2, we should take careful note of it. Building a house is vain if God is not building it through you. Watching over a city is vain, if God is not keeping it safe. And now, "It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He giveth His beloved sleep."
Surely there are times when one must rise up early for a particular work; and we cannot always retire early at night, because of circumstances. Our food is sometimes obtained through difficult toil, even to the point that we are so weary, we would rather sleep than eat. Yet it is folly to do these things, if we are doing so to keep up with the neighbors that have a higher standard of living than we do.
The tragedy is today that we already have so much higher a standard of living than men did in the days of the psalmist. We have it so good compared with men in those days, who had not our labor-saving devices: electricity, furnaces and air conditioners, comfortable, swift automobiles, to mention only a few advances that we have. Yet the versification of the psalmist's words we do well to heed:
In vain you rise ere morning break,
And late your nightly vigil keep,
And of the bread of toil partake;
God gives to His beloved sleep.
The simple truth is that we must not ruin our health to increase our wealth. We must not work to seek the things below, to build a house, and defend a city as the goal of our life. We are to seek the kingdom of God and its righteousness. The natural must serve the spiritual. Life must be protected. The necessary sleep must not be put aside in order to obtain the dainties Satan dangles before our eyes.
We depend upon God and must bow before His will. But we must also thank Him for what He does give unto us and not misuse one bit of it. We must serve Him and use the sleep which He gives us, so that tomorrow we may have the strength to do His will.
Read: Matthew 6:19-34
Psalter versification: 359:2
on the Heidelberg Catechism
Song for Meditation: Psalter #428
Why not sing along??
Through the Bible in One Year
Numbers 22:21-41; Numbers 23:1-30
Quote for Reflection:
"Too often men look at public worship only from the side of its usefulness to the people; but the other matter is of even higher importance: we must see to it that the Lord God is adored, extolled, and had in reverence." C. H. Spurgeon
- Date: 15-March