“How joyful are those who fear the Lord—
all who follow His ways!
You will enjoy the fruit of your labour.
How joyful and prosperous you will be!
Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine,
flourishing within your home.
Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees
as they sit around your table.
That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear Him.”
Psalms 128:1-4 NLT
An idyllic scene, with words such as “wife”, “children”, and “home” intermingled with feel-good words such as “fruit”, “joyful”, “prosperous” and “blessing”. No sign of negative words casting an opposite picture. Is this cameo of family life a bit like a fairy tale, from a story book, or is it a practical reality? Is it perhaps a reflection of family life in the more misogynistic days of pre-Christian Jewish society, and without relevance in our 21st Century Western society?
There are two keys here in these few verses that are timeless, and applicable in all societies, past, present and future. The first is having a “fear” of the Lord. This isn’t the negative place of cowering, petrified, before a more powerful and malignant being. It is having the respect for God, believing and acknowledging that He is who He says He is. The Creator of the Universe. The Giver of life. Our loving Heavenly Father. The all-powerful, omni-present Lord of all. But it is more than just having the head knowledge of God being there. It also involves aligning our lives to His, helped by His Spirit, with a righteous standing before Him through the blood of Jesus. And that brings us on to the second key – we have to follow His ways. This is the process of translating the head knowledge we have about God into a personal and changed life, where we cast aside our selfish desires and take on board God’s desires.
The Psalmist was convinced that a life of God-fear and God-following would transform his life. and he wanted to share his wonderful experience with others, through the words in this Psalm. Words that will change lives, not just individually, but in our families as well. Transformed lives functioning as God intended. That’s where I want to be, Folks.