Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

Psalm 127

We pick places to stake our claim in this world based on many things. Access to water, food, shelter. Safety from storms or threats from people. Sometimes all it takes is being in a place long enough to get attached to it.

David was obsessed with building a house for the Lord. He begged him to be allowed to do so, but his sins kept him from getting that request. It’s remarkable, then that his son Solomon who was able to fulfill that wish and build the temple then wrote this psalm.

You see from the words he writes that Solomon understood; he may have been the ruler of the land the temple was built in, but he was not the one who was truly responsible for the temple.

To labor for oneself is suffering. To build and to fight and to seek to secure that which one earns brings sorrow when that is all lost. The better work is to protect that which God provides!

This is why Solomon is so intentional about praising God for the gift of children. Parents may decide when they want a child but only God can provide one. When we are given such a gift, we who follow Him understand the value.

Ethan Kirl

Originally published June 23, 2020