Hearing the Triune God’s call to assemble with our fellow saints in worship of Him, we ready ourselves physically by rising and refreshing ourselves, but also spiritually by rising and refreshing our souls through the Word of God and prayer. As we do so, we may well consider the Scripture in Psalm 128, the next “song of ascent” (or degrees) which we study together. Here is the Word of God in that place:
Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways.
2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall bewell with thee.
3 Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.
4 Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord.
5 The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.
6 Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel.
You will notice that this is another “family psalm”, closely tied to the previous one, which we considered last time (see my Feb.2, 2014 post). I encourage you to go back and read my introductory comments on Psalm 127 about how the focus on the covenant family applies to the worship of the church in the OT as well as in the NT, since those same thoughts apply to Psalm 128.
With Psalm 128 before us, we should also picture the pilgrim people of God singing these words as they make their journey to Jerusalem (“going up”) for public worship. And as the body of Christ goes together, single believers but also godly husbands with wives at their sides and children in tow, they are deeply conscious of God’s covenant blessings. Together they make up God’s covenant community, with God as their Father, Jesus Christ as their elder Brother, and with one another as spiritual brothers and sisters.
Yet the church is also made up of so many individual covenant homes, led by God-fearing husbands and fathers, who take seriously the worship of the Lord. Because they fear Jehovah, the unchanging God of the covenant, and walk in His ways (v.1), they practice private, family worship in their home. These godly men lead their wives and children in reading and learning God’s Word and in prayer. They teach their families the fear of the Lord and call them too to walk in His ways. And in this way too they prepare their families for public worship. And when the sabbath comes, these God-fearing men make sure their wives and children are present at and participate in the public worship of Jehovah.
In other words, the worship of covenant families is indispensable for the worship of the covenant church! It is important for us to remember this vital connection. Do we expect our wife and children to worship on the Lords Day if we do not worship with them during the week? Do we expect them to desire the presence of the Lord and to participate in worship if there is no desire for Him and no worship of Him during the week? Do we think they will want to grow in the knowledge and fear of the Lord on Sunday through public worship if we are not leading them in these matters in family worship during the week?
My fellow husbands and fathers, let us heed the import of this psalm according to its context! The public worship of Jehovah begins in our own hearts and in our own homes, as we fear God and lead our families day by day in worship of the Lord. Are we diligent and faithful in this? Are we daily reading God’s Word and praying together? This is the man that is blessed according to Psalm 128. And this is the man whose godly family impacts the church for great good. Read those last two verses again and see the close tie between the godliness of our marriages and homes and the blessing of the “good of Jerusalem”, even “peace upon Israel”!
May we remember, repent of our own sin and weakness in this, and return to the godly way of worshiping as families – for the great blessing of our homes. And that will lead to godly worship on Sunday – for the great blessing of the church of Christ.
1. Blest the man that fears Jehovah,
Walking ever in His ways;
By thy toil thou shalt be prospered
And be happy all thy days.
2. In thy wife thou shalt have gladness,
She shall fill thy home with good,
Happy in her loving service
And the joys of motherhood.
3. Joyful children, sons and daughters,
Shall about thy table meet,
Olive plants, in strength and beauty,
Full of hope and promise sweet.
4. Lo, on him that fears Jehovah
Shall this blessedness attend,
For Jehovah out of Zion
Shall to thee His blessing send.
5.Thou shalt see God’s kingdom prosper
All thy days, till life shall cease,
Thou shalt see thy children’s children;
On Thy people, Lord, be peace.