Work, Security, Family
In these moments, Gracious Lord, I praise Your name and long to be touched by Your Spirit.
Consider: We need to bring our efforts (in work, building security, and family life) into harmony with God's purposes. Only then can we discover the rich, productive, and purposeful quality of life for which God in his love has created us.
Work, security and raising a family are universal human concerns brought together in this short psalm. Verse 1 says that human effort will achieve nothing of lasting value unless God is involved. This does not mean that hard work is not important. It is, but it will not prosper without God. The New Testament counterpart of this verse is, "Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Cor. 15:58). Work that is done with and for God plays its part in God's eternal purposes and so has eternal value; as Jesus put it, it is "treasures in heaven" (Matt. 6:20-21). The only truly reliable source of security is God, not our unaided human efforts to protect ourselves.
Verse 2 is a word to all workaholics. God does not intend us to be workaholics in his service. He has given us a pattern of work and rest. We are to work hard by day and benefit from the sleep God gives us at night.
At first reading, the two halves of the psalm may seem unconnected. They are, however, linked by two wordplays. The word "house" in the Bible can mean both a building and a family. Also, the Hebrew words for "builders" (bônȋm) and "sons" (bānȋm) sound very similar. The family should be one of our main sources of security in life. Sons born early in a couple's life together were important in an ancient Israelite context because they would be in the prime of life when their parents were older and in need of care and protection. What constitutes a quiverful depends on the family's context. There are other reliable forms of security available in some societies today. Even so, the family remains a key factor in a stable society.
Work, security, family. Which of these three issues ranks highest in your priorities at the moment? Which causes you the most anxiety? Do you talk to God about all three of them regularly?
Loving Father, I don't want my efforts to be futile. May my work life, family life, and provision needs be regulated by Your wisdom.
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