Psalms 127 pt I

Steve Viars October 9, 1993 Psalms 127:

10/10/93
Psalm #13 - Psalm 127 (was out of town last week - NANC
   Conference)
saved on orange Psalms disk as "Ps13-127"

- we've been studying the book of Psalms and this morning
  we're going to look at what many would consider to be one
  of their favorites - Psalm 127.
- many of you know that this is a Psalm about child raising.
  - in fact, if I was the one that visited you in the
    hospital when one of your children was born, it's very
    likely that I read this Psalm with you.
  - I'd like to do something different this morning--I'd like
     us to break into small groups and brainstorm these two
     questions:

1) What product is a Christian parent trying to produce with
    their child raising? (i.e. what characteristics would they
    like to see their child developing--what's really
    important to them?)

2) What product is a Non-Christian parent trying to produce
    with their child raising? (i.e. what characteristics would
    they like to see their child developing--what's really
    important to them?)

- break into groups, and then go over ideas on the
   whiteboard.

- this Psalm tells us about the vanity of worldly parenting,
   and the blessings of spiritual parenting.
- read Psalm 127:1-5

- now, we don't want to spend a lot of time on this, but
   we need to ask the question - "What are verses 1-2 talking
   about?"
     - Verses 3-5 are very clear - everyone would agree that
        they are talking about childrearing.
     - but there's a couple of different ways to look at
         verses 1-2:

    1) Talking primarily about child-rearing, but the
        principles would definitely apply to construction and
        watchfulness.

    2) Talking primarily about construction and watchfulness,
        but the principles would definately apply to child-
        rearing.

- INPUT - which approach do you think is best and why?

- we're going to present this lesson from the perspective of
    the first approach -- but we want you to know we wouldn't
    die for it.
- ultimately, what we're going to say from the passage is
   going to be the same -- we just wanted to at least mention
   this so that if a special speaker comes in some time and
   talks about Psalm 127:1 and applies it to a building
   program, that you didn't label him a heretic!

 

- let's begin by talking about:

I. The Vanity Of Worldly Parenting

    - clearly the theme of these two verses is vanity.
    - we've said many times that it's easy to be busy, but
        it's hard to be effective -- and all of us want to
        avoid rearing our children in a way that the Lord
        would deem as ineffective.

    (develop the idea that -- all through the lesson -- we're
      not talking about button pushing - children have a free
      will)

A. The condition

   - the Psalmist lays out a condition at the very beginning
      of the Psalm that determines what kind of parenting you
      and I are going to do.

   - "except the Lord build the house"

   - INPUT - what does it mean for "the Lord to build the
       house?"

   - INPUT - what would a parent who was allowing the Lord to
       build the house look like?

   - INPUT - where does the idea of the parent's
       responsibility fit into such a phrase? (cf. Zech. 4:6)

- so we're talking about biblical parenting, spiritual
   parenting, prayerful parenting, trusting parenting.

- notice what these verses say--if parenting is not done this
    way--what will the result be?

B. If this condition is not met, all parenting is vain.

    INPUT - what does it mean for something to be vain?
      (worthless, futile, expending effort in a way that does
        not contribute to or produce godliness)

    - these are very sobering words.
    - it's possible for a significant percentage of a
        parent's work to be vain "right out of the blocks" if
        it doesn't meet this condition.
     - look how comprehensive these statements are:

    1. all your laboring

        - cf. R------- family

 

    2. all your watching

      - INPUT - how is this true?  (you can be as careful as
         you want to with your children, but if you have not
         acknowledged God's right to sovereignty over your
         children's safety, your definition of what's best for
         them and God's definition may be different.
    3. all your waking

        - the point is -- it doesn't matter what a worldly
          parent (either an unbeliever or a Christian who's
          parenting in a worldly fashion) does, God has
          labeled it in advance as "vain."

   - now we could turn each one of these around.
   - for the parent who is co-operating with the work the
      Lord is trying to do in the life of each child, there
      is great reward to their work.

   1) their laboring

      - cf. I Cor. 15:58

      - if you are seeking to let the Lord build the house
        (as we've already defined that concept) you can view
        these verses as a promise from God.

         - not saying your work will be easy
         - not saying there will always be immediate results.
         - but it won't be vain

         - cf. some of the stupid things I've done over the
            years and my mom's work with me.

    2) their watching

        - "worldly watching" will produce great anxiety and
            concern
        - but "spiritual concern" works because there's the
            right balance of responsibilities
             - the parents do all they can to provide for
               health and safety, and then they leave what
               they can't control in the hands of God.
             - that process is anything but vain

             - cf. Cindy Gelatt

    3) all the extra effort

- the overall point is that worldly parenting is vain.
   - but spiritual parenting can have a tremendous impact.

II. The Stewardship Of Spiritual Parenting

    - we're a little early for stewardship month, but thats
      the subject of verse 3.
    - INPUT - what are:

    A. The four factors of stewardship

     - God owns everything, you own nothing
     - God has entrusted you with everything you have
     - You can either increase or diminish what God has given
     - you must give an account, and it may be today

    B. Meaning of "heritage"

        - "something that has entrusted to you"

  - this word was often used to describe the promised land
    God gave to Israel.
  - the promised land was an "unearned inheritance."

  - that’s true of our children.

    C. Implications

        - what are some implications of verse 3?

    D. What about those who haven't been rewarded?

        - INPUT - would it be right to turn verse 3 around
            and say that "a barren womb is His punishment?"

        - INPUT - how could the Lord use a couple who didn't
           have children in special and unusual ways?

              (cf. the argument of I Cor. 7:32-33)

        - INPUT - how might we be insensitive to folks in
           this situation and how can we avoid it?


III. The Challenge Of Spiritual Parenting

    verse 4 - as arrows are in the hand of a mighty man

    - INPUT - what is David picturing here?

       (an arrow must be prepared, an arrow can be directed,
        an arrow can either serve very useful purposes or
        very destructive ones)

    - David's speaking here about the influence a godly man's
        family can have.
    - children who are brought up in the nurture and
       admonition of the Lord can make a great difference for
       Christ.
     - that thought comes up again in verse 5.


IV. Joy And Protection Of Spiritual Parenting

    - happy is the man that has his quiver full of them.

    - you probably know that this verse has been used to talk
       about a "Christian minimum family size."
    - let's take a minute and think that one through.

    - some are saying, Christians ought to raise huge
       families so we can reclaim our society for Christ.

       - INPUT - what do you think about that kind of
          reasoning?  (it's not the church's job to reclaim
          society.)


- the bottom line is - there isn't a verse (here or
   otherwise) that gives a magic formula for the appropriate
   family size that we can legalistically slap on everyone.

- that’s exactly what that would be -- legalism.

- having said that--we could definitely talk about sinful
    habits that could be true of a family that was too large,
    or a family that was too small.

    - INPUT - for example - what sinful reasons might a
        family have in deciding to have fewer children than
        God would desire?

    - INPUT - what biblical principles might a family violate
        in being too large?

- the passage ends up speaking about parents and their
     children speaking with the enemies at the gate.
- in other words, those young people, who have now adopted
    inner convictions of their own, can now handle life
    biblically.
- they're not intimidated by the enemies of God.
    - there's joy and security in numbers.

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

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