Peaceful families, Psalm 128

In Psalm 128 we see a beautiful tableau of a peaceful and faithful family. Its initial verse sets out a two-fold requirement (Psalm 128:1, ESV):

Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD,
   who walks in his ways!

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). We teach our children that the “fear of the Lord” doesn’t mean being terrified of him. It means recognizing his holiness and loving him with a respectful awe. But it seems to me that there is an element of terror in this concept. If we don’t recognize the insurmountable distance between God’s lofty holiness and our lowly sinfulness, we won’t have the proper awe of God. If we don’t realize that the same God who touches the mountains and they smoke (Psalm 104:32) can strike us dead at any moment (and we would deserve it!), then we won’t give God the reverence that is due his name. We must love God with reverence and awe.

The second part of the requirement for blessing is to walk in God’s ways. It is not enough to know God’s word and be able to quote chapter and verse in every situation. We must obey God’s word by living it in our public and our private lives.

God will bless the obedient and reverent person with food and work.

You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
   you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you (2, ESV).

The obedient person will have other blessings as well. He blesses many believing men with godly wives and families.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
   within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
   around your table (3, ESV).

This is not a guarantee that all truly righteous men will marry or that all believing couples will be blessed with children. Godly men remain inexplicably single. Christian couples face infertility. We live broken lives in a broken world. God permits some righteous to suffer in ways that can seem as if he withholds his blessing. We do not understand such things, but we know that these afflictions, like all of life, are part of God’s sovereign plan and will somehow work for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).

But we often see God blessing believers with godly spouses and children who love Jesus.

Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
   who fears the LORD (4, ESV).

The covenant family is a beautiful picture of God’s love and is the vehicle through which his love is conveyed to succeeding generations (5-6, ESV):

The LORD bless you from Zion!
   May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
   all the days of your life!
May you see your children’s children!
    Peace be upon Israel!

God’s blessings reigns within our covenant families. He blesses them with peace that pervades the whole church in all places and times.

The Lord bless you! May you see the church prosper all the days of your life! May you see your grandchildren grow into godly young parents raising their own children in the fear of the Lord. Peace be upon Israel!

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