Happy Families – Put the Lord Jesus Christ First (Ps 127)

Introduction

•  Sometimes you buy a book and it has a main title and then a subtitle. Big title and little title.

•  Someone bought me a book not that long ago – Fishing was the big title and in smaller print the detail – A comprehensive guide to coarse fishing, sea angling and game fishing.

•  The main title gives the overall theme and the subtitle the detail.

•  The subtitle of Psalm 127 is the title that was on your invitation card – Happy families .

•  The main title of this song is Put the Lord Jesus Christ First . When He is central in our lives then our family life will be truly happy, really blessed.

•  This song is the central song of a group of 15 songs that the OT believers sang as they journeyed to Jerusalem to worship God.

•  This central song has a central theme; it is a call to put the Lord at the centre of our lives.

•  In the first two verses the song writer is setting before us the fact that it is utter foolishness to try and build your life without the Lord and then in the second part of the song v3-5 he gives us an illustration of an aspect of life where the Lord must be central – in our family life.

•  So we have the title first and then the subtitle. And this song is to make you think. What is central in your life and how are you getting on in your family?

•  I think that it is fair to say that we live in a society where family life is in melt down mode.

•  Family structures and family life degenerating with every year that passes, as one generation gives way to another, spiralling downwards – would you agree?

•  We live in a day when the family is under great attack.

•  The government is attacking family life when it makes laws that allows for the obscenity of so called same sex marriages, and when it legalises quickie divorces.

•  Mums and dads are encouraged to be double income families and a generation of children is arising who spend more time with the baby sitter and play group than with mum and dad and the family – is that how God meant it to be?

•  Many families never eat together, never meet together, they are merely a collection of individuals who live for a little while under the same roof.

•  All up and down our land there are very unhappy families.

•  All up and down our land there are families longing for joy and happiness, peace and security.

•  All up and down our land there are wives who long for warm tender loving husbands who will be real men and not whimps.

•  All up and down our land there are husbands who long for a wives who will be their companions working with them in the home.

•  And all up and down our land there are children, who want a daddy who will love them and say well done son; who want a mummy who will be there to listen, comfort and guide

•  We need the message of this part of the Word of God in our lives.

1. Leaving the Lord out is Useless

•  Look at what the song says, Unless the Lord builds the house the builders build in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise up early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat .

•  The songwriter here is dealing with the primary concerns of every human being – shelter and security, food and family. The very things that human beings crave.

•  Now in the Bible to build a house has a whole variety of meanings:

•  It is used to build some material structure for public or private use – like the temple.

•  It is used of founding a house and rearing a family. It is used of founding a state or a kingdom.

•  Friends our whole world is engaged in a building. Every single person here – you are a builder of some sort or description.

•  We are all engaged in building something or securing something – it is what we do as human beings.

•  Some have been able to build wonderful buildings, wonderful careers, wonderful technology.

•  We build – seek to build our lives, some are seeking to build a career – scouring the job finder for the next rung on the ladder; waiting to be head hunted by some big boss for some more important job.

•  Some giving all energies in building a name for themselves – did you see the sad story in the paper in this past week. For 22 years a man has been building a bogus life – Christopher Edward Earl of Buckingham. Married under that name, had children under that name, laid claim to the Buckingham crest; own personalised stationary with the crest on – building a name.

•  All come to nothing – what uselessness.

•  Some are seeking to build a business, and some in our society a community spirit; many trying to build a family life; some trying to build a nation – like in Iraq .

•  Some are trying to build schools – where children will be educated.

•  Some are trying to build churches.

•  And this part of the Word of God stands like a great warning sign.

•  It is God’s High way code for the journey of life. And like all good signs the warning is easy to see – sometimes just one word STOP.

•  This loving warning from God that stands at the side of the highways of our lives has also four letters – it says VAIN – it is useless.

•  Three times in these few verses the word vain is repeated. It speaks of something that is temporary, passing, here today and gone tomorrow.

•  Vain is like when a bubble comes out of the washing basin in the kitchen, catch it on your hand – lasts only a moment.

•  If you go to the city of Edinburgh they have a motto for their city written in Latin – nisi dominus frustra – without the Lord it is vain.

•  Our psalm tonight is a warning from heaven to us not to be dodgy builders, not to be building in vain.

•  But that is what we do as sinners – we try to build without God and all that we have says God is a little bubble that will burst and be gone – nisi dominus frustra.

•  Friends our lives are short – only if the LORD is central will we building anything that lasts.

•  The great example of that in the Bible is Solomon – probably the writer of this song – though there is debate whether it is to or of Solomon.

•  Oh what a builder he was – great temple, lavish palace, great wealth – but he built without the Lord, turned away from the Lord and found that everything was meaningless – wrote whole book about that. Kingdom torn away and given to subordinates.

•  His kingdom just like a little bubble from God’s perspective.

•  You will remember the infamous Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu of Romania – toppled from power on 25 th December 1989. They had been busy building a house – a 150 room house, 800 million dollars had been squeezed from the poor people. 15,000 people had laboured there, the marble foyer rebuilt 8 times until it was right – but they didn’t live to enjoy one moment of it – if only they had known these words of Solomon.

•  This a warning sign to us as individuals don’t leave the Lord out of the building of your life.

•  Don’t depend on your own strength to build a career. All you have is from God. We have people building great careers and all coming to nothing – lives of anxious toil, stress and stress related illness – all because the Lord is left out.

•  People have lives that are so empty. Everything but nothing. Filled with frantic busyness that leads to nothing.

•  Warning sign to all in families – don’t depend on your own skill and energies, family traditions to build a happy family – unless the Lord builds your house it will be in vain .

•  Jesus Christ must be the head of our homes if our families are to grow together and not pull apart.

•  Warning to educators – when Jesus Christ is left out of the education of children – it is in vain.

•  This is prize giving season in schools – all the shiny trophies, all the certificates, all the back patting. And there is no sound of Jesus Christ the one who has given gifts. There is no sound of sinfulness of man, just how wonderful he is. No thought of true education – the fear of God.

•  And God given a little token gesture with the local clerical clown to say let’s all be nice and the world will be a better place – unless the Lord builds the education it will be in vain.

•  It is warning to the nations – if you leave the Lord Jesus out – it will all be in vain, crumble, come to nothing. Why all the agreements unravelling. Unless the Lord watches over the city .

•  Think of all the security, all the watching over the city that goes on – burglar alarms, sensor light, cameras on every corner – but when the Lord is snubbed and despised – all in vain – less secure than ever, no right thinking parent would allow their child out on own at night.

•  It is a warning to the church – do not leave the Lord Jesus Christ out of your building – for it will all be vain if you do. Unless the Lord builds the house .

•  Churches can be filled with meetings, much noise, hustle and bustle of activity, fancy programmes but if it is not centred on Christ and His Word it is useless, like a bubble that lands on your hand for a millisecond.

•  Are there some here tonight – not yet a Christian – you are leaving the Lord out – oh you might build much but in God’s eyes it will be as nothing.

•  Are there some here and wanting to have a happy marriage, family – God is saying something very simple don’t leave me out. And not some token place – but centre.

•  If you turn away from what my Word says – it will come to nothing. Vain, useless.

2. The Lord is the Real Builder

•  So why is it so foolish to leave the Lord out of our building projects, out of our careers, families, out of our schools, the church, the nation?

•  Why will all come to nothing without Him? Why will it all be useless? Why is this warning here?

•  Well the first clue is in v2 He grants sleep to those He loves . Now that might also be translated, certainly the context would favour the alternative – while they sleep He provides .

•  And there is great irony here that we need to take in. Here we are with all this frenzy of activity trying to build – and while we sleep God builds.

•  You see that little statement is to bring us down to size – while they sleep He provides . While our bodies lie exhausted, semi conscious, semi death state the Lord is the real builder – providing, keeping, protecting.

•  Isn’t it strange how much we sleep. Surely the Lord who created all by His spoken Word in 6 days could have designed us so that we didn’t need to sleep so much or at all.

•  But maybe one of the reasons that the Lord designed us with the need of sleep – to keep us in check. Keep us humble – all around there are men and women with great ability and ingenuity – just collapse in a heap for a third of their lives.

•  Think of the teenager – and what life they have, and zest, and energy and claimed knowledge – and they sleep most of all – give them the chance and they would sleep half the day. You remember.

•  Just think of it – you and I spend one third of our lives sleeping – if 9 tonight – spent three years sleeping. If 30 spent ten years sleeping, If 60 twenty years you have been asleep for 20 years. You can work out your own with exactness and see your utter inability.

•  When we sleep we are so vulnerable, can do nothing, like little helpless children.

•  And this constant cycle of a third of every day lying flat, utterly unable to do anything ought to make us own up to how weak and pathetic we are. Sleep is such a humbling experience.

•  Yet while we are sleeping the Lord is going on and on in His work – He is doing the real building in our world.

•  We see that same truth in the whole background of this psalm David, Solomon’s father had wanted to build a temple for the Lord; but the Lord had said that Solomon would do it – God chooses who will act on His behalf – He is the master builder.

•  This great God of all the earth will not be domesticated by man. And yet that is what man tries to do.

•  Listen to what the Lord had said to David in II Samuel 7:11 The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you. When you days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my name and I will establish His kingdom for ever .

•  Now who was he speaking about? Yes it was Solomon but he failed. The promise was pointing to the ultimate builder the Lord Jesus Christ descended from David.

•  It is the Lord Jesus who builds the Lord’s house; Him who guards the city. See this truth today that the Lord is the real builder of the church – where is the church growing so quickly – China where for years not allowed to publise or reach out – God was building.

•  God never tires of reminding us that He is the one who is in charge, He is the one who builds and guards and creates.

•  And the song-writer gives a very down to earth illustration, an illustration from family life to show that the Lord is the real builder.

•  And there is a play on words that doesn’t come out in any English translation – the word for builder in v1 is spelt bonim and the word for sons in v3 sounds just like it. Spelt banim

•  And the point that the Lord is making is that He is the build and in v3 that is set out in illustration simple Sons are a heritage from the Lord children a reward from Him . Even that most basic thing of human beings – procreation – it is really God who does the creating.

•  If this king is to have any royal line – it will be because God gives him descendants.

•  He is showing us that the life of men is governed by the Lord. Your life and mine.

•  He is saying something very basic that human beings with all their family planning ideas forget – it is not ultimately parents who make children – it is the Lord. Sons are a heritage, children a reward from Him .

•  Calvin says, children are not the fruit of chance but that God as it seems good to Him distributes to everyman his share – they are God’s gift – that is the word reward means.

•  The song is showing that the life of men is governed by the Lord.

•  So my friend – how foolish to leave Him out.

•  The song is showing how futile to ignore the Lord – since he is the true builder, the true provider, the true protector.

•  This song is saying – what do you have that God didn’t give you. Do live and breathe tonight – that is because God is the builder.

•  Are you able to think and reason tonight – Because the Lord has built that into you.

•  Do you have ability with hands – from Lord – he has built that into your life.

•  Do you have children – God has given them. He is the builder.

•  What foolishness to leave Him out.

•  Yet that is what we are prone to do, what the Fall has done to us foolish sinners – building without the builder.

•  So what is this song saying to us, what change is it to bring?

3. Make the Lord Central in your Life

•  This song is not saying – well since it is God who is the ultimate builder I can do nothing.

•  Calvin again had it right, It is not that the will of the Lord is that we should be blocks of wood or that we keep our arms folded without doing anything.

•  This song is the Lord speaking and saying that we are to listen to this builder, we are to make Him central in our lives.

•  One verse from the NT sums this all up seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you as well .

•  Now let me apply this word firstly to any who might not yet be Christians tonight.

•  Your basic problem in life is that you are building your life without the Lord and the Lord is very angry about that – He will not give His glory to another.

•  And if you die unconverted you will experience His holy anger for ever in hell. You are building your life on the sand of your own ideas – that is very foolish.

•  You might build for your self a very comfortable life – but without Jesus Christ at the centre it will all come to nothing, washed away in the torrent of God’s holy wrath.

•  Your need is to have the Lord Jesus Christ at the centre of your life. But that is not something that we want of our own choice, we want to be calling the shots so we need to be made new.

•  You need to be made into one of God’s children, one of His loved one. Only in Christ will you find the security and shelter and family that your heart longs for and craves for as a human being. He will give you food that will satisfy – forgiveness, new standing, no longer condemned.

•  John tells us in chapter 1 of his gospel account, to all who received him, to those who believed in His name He gave the right to become children of God, children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husbands will but born of God .

•  Your great need is to be born again. Your great need to trust in Jesus Christ to deal with your idolatrous rebellion. Your need to receive Him personally. Will you receive him tonight; trust Him to rescue you.

•  Why stay away any longer, all you do is in vain without Him. Tonight might be the night of the unleashing of His wrath.

•  Now Christian – this song is saying to you and me – keep the Lord at the centre of all that we are building. Walk in His ways. Stick to the details of His plans.

•  Now all of us here tonight are in families – sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles.

•  If your family is to be one that is truly happy the Lord Jesus is to be central. That means taking His Word and seeing what He has for you to do, listening to how He says you are to live.

•  Husbands and wives – are you listening to God’s instruction, trusting Him to build your family, leading and submitting. Searching His word – how can I be a better husband, wife. Jesus Christ is the builder of successful marriages – stay close to Him. He is the guard – stick close.

•  Fathers and mothers are you raising your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord – you will never have a happy home unless your follow God’s designs.

•  Your children are not burdens but God given blessings, arrows that the Lord has put in your quiver in the number He has designed and with the spacing He has designed, in your hands to train by His Word. It is no small gift that the Lord has entrusted to you.

•  And no small thing that we will give account of.

•  Your task to raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord to see that under God they bring no shame on you at the city gate. It is God alone who can make them new creatures and to him we must look. Are you looking to Christ to build, protect and provide for your home?

•  Maybe here tonight and what parent doesn’t say – O Lord the mistakes I have made. Devil would want you to throw up hands and slink away. But God is a God of grace He can pay back for the years the locust has eaten – if we will listen. Are you seeking to rebuild your family – listen to the builder? Do it by the book.

•  Happy families is not a game or a distant dream – it can be reality as we put the Lord at the centre of our lives – look to Him for grace to walk in His ways.

•  But what if you are not in a family unit just now. Well if you are a Christian you are in a family – in the church family – and you have many sons and daughters that you have a role and responsibility in training in the Lord – blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them as you lead boys and girls and men and women to the Saviour.

•  What joy we will find with Christ at the centre of our lives – peace – he grants His beloved sleep .

•  He keeps us safe, He guards the city.

•  What comfort in our church family – not our job to build the church – that’s Christ’s we are just to follow the builders instruction; we needn’t fear or have sleepless nights about the growing family the Lord watches over the city; He will provide all that we need even as we sleep.

•  This song is asking us – how is the building going? How is it going in your home, in your church.

Conclusion

•  These words were lost on Solomon – may they not be lost on us.

•  Whatever you are doing in life. Make sure that Jesus Christ is at the centre as your personal Lord and Saviour. With Him there and with your eyes on Him the jigsaw of your life can be completed and you can be content, for he grants sleep to those He loves .