One Twenty Eight II
Posted on February 1, 2023 by Elizabeth Welte in Freedom Fighters
“Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.” — Psalm 128:4 (NKJV)
In Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, you’ll find this opening statement concerning Psalm 128, “Only those who are truly holy, are truly happy.” Now, for those that just took a pause and thought about how that measures out in your own walk, I hope you’re not gonna let a few blemishes on your suit of armor determine how holy you ain’t and then lose your heart to walk on. The last thing Christianity needs right now is for folks to grab a coffee at Dîner de Thessalonique and wait on Jesus’ return to see if everything will work out. “Hey, isn’t that Demas over there? Oh, it is, he’s such a nice fellow. Wonder how long he’s been here?” Hmm…
The last time I was with you I had shared with you the part of Psalm 128 that had reminded me that my children are like olive plants around the various tables we had all gathered at. For me it was all about how I was pointing my gaze. I thought I was missing out on receiving the grace and peace I had seen others receive but that was because I was so busy being envious of their blessings I couldn’t see the ones I had right in front of me. I got so involved with “church work” and wanting the blessings that comes from that so much, that I literally dinged up my own armor battling things that weren’t ever mine to battle. C’est la guerre, right?
So, with that, I’m gonna borrow a quote from Eugene H. Peterson as he was commenting on a quote John Calvin made. “John Calvin, preaching to his congregation in Geneva, Switzerland, pointed out that we must develop better and deeper concepts of happiness than those held by the world, which makes a happy life to consist in “ease, honours, and great wealth.” Psalm 128 helps us do that. Too much of the world’s happiness depends on taking from one to satisfy another.” Ya know, taking from one to satisfy another ain’t just happenin’ in Secularland these days.
Apparently it has become more important that the men of the church grab their tools and repair the church building than grabbin’ their Bibles and getting’ discipled. How much “fear of the Lord” can one have if you’re hurrying up the Saturday morning Men’s Breakfast devotional time so that those who stay behind can get to that “honey-do” list the church secretary put together? These guys may get their “Atta Boy’s” from the pulpit for a job well done but when they point their eyes to their surroundings do they see the blessings that Psalm 128 exhorts? Hmm…
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13)
Sometimes its about using what God gave us first. Sometimes its about sitting around the family table first and making sure all is well before you volunteer yourself to splash paint around the church walls. Doing an honorable service for the church should never be discouraged but it can’t be used in place of assuring a smooth straight walk for the man of God. Granted, you can use the entire family for that project and see Psalm 128 come together but if the man of God isn’t getting equipped by the Word of the very God he claims to follow, then all anyone is doing is splashing paint around. The kids may fun but there’s always a mess to clean up.
So, what’s my conclusion? Well not to sound too much like The Teacher of Ecclesiastes but it is to fear God and keep His commandments, however, I would also like to encourage you to use whatever God gave you first. There is a smooth straight road to be had if we were to just use what He gave us first. In my own selfishness I went looking for the Big Bang Blessings instead of actually watching them unfold before my eyes at my own dinner table. The funny in this is I went to The Colony of Mercy to prevent losing my family and instead I came out wanting to serve the entirety of Gods people…before I ever looked to see the olive plants that God had already gave me. What a wretched man I can be.
So, “Only those who are truly holy, are truly happy.” As I look at down on my own suit of armor these days and see the dings and dents I wonder how many of them were really necessary. I can say “this one came from looking, this one, looking twice” to ones that had my gaze towards Thessalonica when things got tough but it was the ones I got when the kids went through their moments of rebellion that did the teaching. Now, because God opened up His word to me, my happiness can come second. If the joy of the Lord is truly my strength then when I eat the labor of my hands, I will be happy and it will be well with me…and as for you too. Believe That!! Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a child of El Elyon, a son, a husband, and a father. He has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy, 11/2003. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord; Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.” Psalm 40:11