Summary: This is a Father's Day sermon
Psalm 127 – Raising Godly Children in Ungodly Times
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
This is a difficult subject for a preacher to preach – at least THIS preacher – because I live in a glass house and you can see with your own eyes my many faults and shortcomings.
I will be the first to say - I am an imperfect man. I have made many mistakes. Even though I preach God’s truth, I in no wise think I have arrived.
Fact is, I struggle with the very things YOU struggle with. I stand in need of teaching and correction - just as much – if not MORE so - than you. So understand - there is not one - HINT of judgement or condemnation in what I have to say today.
We hold in our hands a marvelously relevant book. God, in His wisdom provides timeless instruction to help imperfect people build happy, healthy, and holy lives.
I BELIEVE in this book.
It HAS changed me. It shows me things about myself – how I often fall short and NEED God’s grace to become what He would have me to be.
I am SO thankful for a wife who has worked with me 29 years to raise a family on the principles and precepts of God’s Word. We have not done it perfectly. We have failed in many ways. But it has been the norm of our lives to obediently follow the instruction of this Book.
Raising Godly children in ungodly times is hard. I once naively thought all you had to do was follow a few basic steps, and VIOLA! your kids turned out perfectly. The problem is, my children are being raised by imperfect parents and live in an imperfect world. And no matter how hard THEY try, they are human and will make mistakes. They will disappoint themselves, me, and yes, even the Lord.
I know what it is to question yourself as a parent... to feel DEEPLY that you have FAILED. You are concerned for your children. You want to be the parent God would have you to be – but often you find yourself at a loss - not knowing WHAT to do.
Tony Campolo, in his book Growing up in America, said, “Today’s parents are bewildered and not quite sure how to do the job. Confused about their role, they look to experts hoping to find clear instruction – but no such luck... the ‘experts’ are just as confused as parents. Sociologists offer conflicting opinions for parents to follow. Opinions about even the most basic aspects of parenting change dramatically from one year to the next.”
Don’t be surprised by the fact that this world has no idea how to raise godly children.
But God does... and His Word has NOT changed. The Bible is our one constant – in a world of confusion and sin. God STILL speaks to the contemporary family with timeless wisdom that will help us be the parents we need to be.
Scholars believe this psalm was written by Solomon, but was not added to the Jewish hymnbook until years later when King Hezekiah, so deeply moved by its words, added it to the Hebrew Psalter. In it, the Lord offers two principles for those who would lead their family in a way that honors God:
1. First we see the Vanity of Building your Home WITHOUT the Lord in vv. 1 and 2: “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved - sleep.”
Solomon knew the PRESSURE of leadership. When he was young, he didn’t have a CLUE as to the cause of his father’s gray hair. He didn’t know the burdens that come with sitting on the throne. He may have day-dreamed, “Someday, I will be king!” But NOW he knows the stress of it all. It’s not all glory and fanfare - but CRUSHING responsibility. If it wasn’t for his relationship with the Lord surely his family would suffer adverse effect. “Without the Lord,” Solomon says, “all our effort is VAIN.”