On Sunday morning, do you ever watch your members as they arrive for worship? Do they come by car? By bicycle? On foot? When I served as a pastor in Japan, people came by all three of those, and by train and bus too. Some came great distances; they traveled for hours.
As you listen to this beautiful paraphrase of Psalm 128, think about the Old Testament believers who sang Psalm 128 on their “goings up” to Jerusalem for the festivals. Think about the dear people who “come to Mount Zion” to worship the LORD at your congregation.
Truly this is a beautiful little psalm …
As pastors, we see people coming to worship. Week after week. For decades. They do not come because of us, but in spite of us. They do not come to hear us, but to hear the voice of the LORD through us. They do not consider their worship to be a loss or burden, a giving up of a part of their lives for him. No, they realize that their lives and their families are amazing gifts of grace from him and that they find meaning, fulfillment, goodness, and peace only in him. They come because they “fear the LORD.” They willingly and joyfully walk in the ways of the LORD because he has loved them, rescued them, and forgiven them. He has given them hope.
When we pastors sing Psalm 128, we are led to give thanks to the LORD for our own life and family. The LORD provides food, wife, and children. He opens our eyes to see that all our daily bread comes from him, our loving heavenly Father.
Psalm 128 leads us to repent of the times when we have sinned against our family members and to seek the LORD’s forgiveness and blessing. Psalm 128 inspires us to give our best to our wife and children, to love our wife as Christ loved the church, and to raise our children in the fear and instruction of the LORD. We do this by what we say and even more so by how we live.
Psalm 128 opens our eyes to the importance of marriage and family and the family of God. It gives us a sympathetic heart for the individuals, couples, and families in our congregation. It leads us to encourage them, comfort them, and teach them. It leads to prepare our sermons and Bible classes carefully, to proclaim the name of the LORD to them. It leads us to counsel them, warn them, and train them in righteousness. It leads us to focus their attention on true riches, true prosperity, true peace. It leads us to point them to the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Bridegroom of the Church, who came down from heaven that we might have life—life to the full—in this world and in the life to come.
Psalms 128 is a beautiful little Psalm. We do well to sing and pray it often. Blest are all who fear the LORD!