May the Lord bless you from Zion;
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
May you live to see your children’s children—
peace be on Israel.
“The word ‘prosperity’ (tov) in verse 5b often functions as a synonym for shalom, ‘peace,’ ‘wholeness,’ or ‘goodness’ (Isa 52:7; Jer 8:15). In Psalm 128 the psalmist asks the Lord to bless the hearer from Zion so that he may experience the peace and wholeness of Zion. In turn, the peace and wholeness of Jerusalem will allow the hearer to live a long life—’to see your children’s children.’” [Tucker, W. Dennis, Psalms, Volume 2(The NIV Application Commentary), pp. 805-806]
How does this world define prosperity?
How is the prosperity of Jerusalem defined in verse 5b?
Do we recognize where all of our blessings come and from who? Or do we take God’s blessings for granted?
As we live as pilgrims in this life, longing for our heavenly home, let’s look up to our God from whom all blessings flow and praise Him! God desires to bless us and for us to experience the happiness that will last as we walk in His ways. Let’s pray for ourselves and those in our families, in our communities, that we will experience this peace, wholeness, and goodness in God!
Your wife will bear children as a vine bears grapes,
your household lush as a vineyard,
The children around your table
as fresh and promising as young olive shoots.
Stand in awe of God’s Yes.
Oh, how he blesses the one who fears God!
“Blessing has inherent in it the power to increase. It functions by sharing and delight in life…The blessed gives to the others, because the strength instinctively pours from him and up around him…The characteristic of blessing is to multiply.”…As we learn to give and to share, our vitality increases, and the people around us become become fruitful vines and olive shoots at our tables.” [Peterson, Eugene H. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction]
The phrase, “one who fears God” appears again in verse 4. For those who fear God, in what other areas of life can they see God’s blessing and fruitfulness?
What are the blessings that are found in these verses?
In living for the Lord, do you believe that God can pour out His blessings to others around you and through you?
Let’s pray for increase of God’s blessing in our families, respective ministries, churches, that many will be at our tables with us sharing in God’s blessings that will last!
Psalm 128:2 (NRSV) You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.
“In Psalm 127 individuals are cautioned, if not outright chastised, for working too hard out of the belief that they can secure their own future. Psalm 128 begins with the universal claim concerning the blessed person. Psalm 128 provides no hint of self-reliance but instead receives all ‘blessings and prosperity’ (v. 2b) as a gift from God.” [Tucker, W. Dennis, Psalms, Volume 2 (The NIV Application Commentary)]
How does this verse bring out the relationship between working and being happy?
Do we consider work to be a blessing from the Lord?
What are the promises found in these verses?
The psalmist sees the value of work and the fruit it produces. Knowing that God is involved with us in our work and that it is God who blesses it, should bring us great joy!
Read Colossians 3:23 (NLT) and Romans 12:1-2 (MSG):
Colossians 3:23 (NLT) – “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
Romans 12:1-2 (MSG) – “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.”
Let’s spend time thanking God for work and being able to experience happiness in our work. Let’s ask for His strength to do it all for the Lord!
All you who fear God, how blessed you are!
how happily you walk on his smooth straight road!
“Walk on his smooth straight road.’ Not only do we let God be God as he really is, but we start doing the things for which he made us. We take a certain route; we follow certain directions; we do specified things. There are ethical standards to follow, there are moral values to foster, there are spiritual disciplines to practice, there is social justice to pursue, there are personal relationships to develop…Too many people are willfully refusing to pay attention to the One who wills our happiness and ignorantly supposing that the Christian way is a harder way to get what they want than doing it on their own. They are wrong. God’s ways and God’s presence are where we experience the happiness that lasts.” [Peterson, Eugene, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction]
How would you fill in the blank? “If only ________________, I would be happy.”
How would you describe someone who “walk on his smooth straight road”? How would you describe the road that is not smooth or straight?
Would it make sense to take a road that is not smooth or straight? Where would that lead us?
Walking in God’s ways is the way to happiness and blessing! Spend a moment in prayer, placing your life in God’s hands. Pray for God’s grace to live a life of obedience and walk on his smooth straight road to happiness that lasts.
“In this phrase, ‘fear’ is not about being intimidated or ‘shaking in your boots’ before the divine presence. It is rather about reverence or awe before YHWH, and the observation that whom one reveres, one obeys. To fear YHWH is to entrust all of life and hope to this one and follow the divine guidance. The perspective of the psalm is that such a decision about lifestyle makes a difference; living in line with YHWH’s teaching brings a profound joy and completeness to life.” [Brueggemann, Walter. Psalms (New Cambridge Bible Commentary), pp. 545-546]
According to Psalm 128:1, who are happy?
What does it mean for you to fear the Lord in your current circumstance?
What other fears can we be driven by, rather than by the fear of God? What are some fears that can lead to missing out on the happiness that God has in store for you?
Let’s spend a moment in prayer, let’s lay down all the fears that we may be struggling with before the Lord and entrust our lives to Him again.
Philippians 3:20-21 (NIV) – But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
John 14:2-3 (NIV) – My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
Throughout the week, we may face many uncertainties and unforeseen circumstances that leave us insecure. In these verses, we can be certain that God is preparing a place for us in His house! As children of God, we are citizens of heaven! There are also privileges and rights that come with that, one being God’s presence with us through all the uncertainties! This is a source of huge comfort, hope and security as we await the Lord’s return.
This also means that we are temporary residents and foreigners here on earth. Let’s live our lives carefully, living for what is eternal and what will last. Let’s give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord!
Romans 3:23 (NIV) – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…
“We all veer off the right path and we have to get rerouted. Unless we get rerouted, we won’t reach the destination that we are aiming for. This destination is the glory of God, it’s pure goodness, it’s absolute truth, beauty, goodness – it’s everything that’s absolutely good. It’s the immediate, imminent presence of God where there is just blessing, light, where there is purity, holiness, goodness. Everything that is lovely, beautiful and good. We all want that, we all thirst for that, long for that but we can’t get there because we veered off the right path somehow!
It might have been out of ignorance, out of distraction. Some of us may intentionally say, I don’t want to get on that path. I’m going to get there a different way. God says, okay, try it! But there is only one path and there is only one way, that’s Jesus Christ! Some people willfully try to get there a different way. Some people like me get distracted and absent-minded and miss our way. We all veer off the right way and we all need to be rerouted so that we can arrive at the destination! God wants us to arrive there.” [Excerpt from Pastor Jason Park’s Message at AMC]
Let’s spend time praying for those who are lost! Let’s pray that God will re-route them to Jesus!
Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV) – But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
“When we are dead, we cannot help ourselves. We cannot rescue ourselves. When we are dead, we are dead. A dead person does not need medication, better homes, careers, food to make them come alive – it sounds silly talking about that. Dead person needs a miracle! Dead person needs resurrection! In understanding our true need, God doesn’t offer temporary solutions, ways to cope in this life. He offers us New Life in Christ!!
Better homes, careers, food – That’s what we spend our lives and energy doing, but that doesn’t meet our ultimate need. Especially before we ever come to Christ, we are dead, yet we are trying to make life out of something, yet we ourselves are dead. We need what only God can give us, a new life in Jesus Christ!” [Excerpt from Pastor Jason Park’s message at AMC]
Only Jesus can rescue us from living lives of futility, seeking life where there is no life. Let’s commit ourselves to preaching the message of the gospel, the message that gives true life wherever God has placed you! Pray for your family, friends, co-workers, those who need to hear the gospel.
Romans 6:23 (NIV) – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“One acute observer of the human condition, who has noticed the disappearance of the word, is the American psychiatrist Karl Menninger. He has written about it in his book, Whatever Became of Sin? ‘It was a word once in everyone’s mind, but is now rarely if ever heard… Enquiring into the causes of sin’s disappearance, Dr Menninger notes first that ‘many former sins have become crimes’, so that responsibility for dealing with them has passed from church to state, from priest to policeman (p.50), while others have dissipated into sicknesses, or at least into symptoms of sickness, so that in their case punishment has been replaced by treatment (pp.74ff.). A third convenient device called ‘collective irresponsibility’ has enabled us to transfer the blame for some of our deviant behaviour from ourselves as individuals to society as a whole or to one of its many groupings.” [Stott, John, The Cross of Christ, pp.94ff]
When we try to get rid of the existence of sin by renaming it, we are deceived and become blind to our true problem, sin, which causes not sickness but death! Let’s not diminish the seriousness of our sins. Instead, let’s receive God’s forgiveness and enter into the joy of His salvation and eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Ephesians 2:1-5 (NIV) – As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Physical death is one that we can easily recognize – there is no pulse, no more air in the lungs, no movement, no response, etc. But what about spiritual death?
God’s word tells us that when we are dead, we follow the ways of this world, gratifying the cravings of the flesh and following its desires and thoughts. We may think we are in control, but the truth is, we actually cannot live any other way. We can’t live with God or live the way God has created us to live.
We need His rescue! God’s answer to death is resurrection. He makes us alive with Christ even when we were dead in sin!