Summary: God calls us to join him where he is working . When we attempt to work on our own we do so in vain.
The philosopher Jacques Ellue said, “The first a great fact which emerges from our civilization is that today everything has become “means” no longer in “end”; we do not know where we are going. We have forgotten our collective ends, and you possess great machines; we set huge machines in motion in order to arrive nowhere”
To achieve anything in this life requires work. But is even more so for the Christian who is seeking to become closer to God. Whether Christian tourist on the path walking up the mountain walks the same path as the Pilgrim eats the Pilgrim and the tourist are there for different reasons. The tourist moves forward looking to achieve personal goals, there seeking to find what God can do for them. While the Pilgrim a true disciple walks and works with a purpose and one goal in mind and that is to do all they do for the glory of God.
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build the labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen 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.
These verses in Psalm 127 start off with a warning. Unless the Lord builds the house and watches over the city everything we do is in vain. One of the greatest architectural projects in history is found in the book of Genesis. While this was a massive well-organized building effort it was also a great disaster and all the work is done in vain. Under the leadership of Nimrod the descendants of Noah decided to build a great power in Babel to reach the heavens openly declaring “Let us make a name for ourselves.” There was nothing about this great monumental tower that honored virtual glory to God. They had the means but had forgotten to focus on the ends. They were building without a purpose and in the end it all was a disaster and in vain has God confused their language and people were dispersed all the world. Over the centuries there have been many great civilizations and empires in each and every one has collapsed and filled as they became more focused on themselves in the means and work towards their own end.
This type of futile thinking has even infected today’s church as we construct our own tower of Babel. Worship services become more of a rock concert been worship. Many pastors do all they can to appear hip and cool hoping to draw in the crowds of people. Where’s much of Christian music once told Jesus, sin, and the cross. Once when it spoke of God’s grace, judgment and glory, now speaks in vague language of these things to become more acceptable to a secular culture. We focus on throwing the church is with people and not with disciples. And unless the Lord builds the house those who labor, labor in vain.
On the other side of this coin are those who do nothing. They feel that God is there to do everything for them. Paul confronted people who had taken this attitude in his letter to the Thessalonians. Pointing out that some walk in idleness and others are just busybodies. We were created to create we are made in God’s image so we are made to work. But we are made to work not on our own but with God.
The Lord builds in the Lord watches over. The implication here is that the Lord works in guards over and watches his work. There is a fundamental difference in the person who just attends church and seizes is some sort of country club or form of community service and a person who cares and is a disciple of God looking to learn, work, and grow closer to God. The disciple knows the key to understanding reality and the purpose of our work and life and existence comes from understanding and knowing God. Disciple does not work just to work they pay attention to what God has done and is doing. They know God has been, is and always will be working. Our very existence of the existence of everything is because God works. The entire Bible as we know it is a history of God working in his creation and with his people.
Our existence started with, “in the beginning God created.” He made the heaven and the earth, all the stars in the sky, the son in the moon, the waters, the land and all the creatures of the earth. He works through Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He works through kings and profits to create a nation of Israel is chosen people who would be the people by which the Messiah would come. His redemptive work as seen through Jesus on the cross to work only he could accomplish. In his work he created man in his image man created to work. But not for ourselves, God invites us to join him in his work providing us the means and giving us the purpose to achieve in the end glory for God. There is a common denominator in every letter written by Paul each letter in its conclusion gives us directives on how we are to make ourselves available and be in the right mind to join God where he is working.