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Except the Lord Build the House
Psa 127:1-2 1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. 2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
The Lord is attempting to free His people from a life of frustration, fear, and failure. He informs them that, in this life, He is the only One who can successfully build, anything! As God, He has chosen to be our Builder and He has chosen us to follow. On Earth, there is a division of labor and a division of responsibility. There are things we cannot do successfully for they were never given to us. They belong to God, alone. He says building is His responsibility, and to His people He says “if your house is not being built by Me, then you are wasting your labor!
All for Nothing?
This is a difficult concept. How can all our hard work and our good intentions come to nothing? Are all our efforts meaningless? He is saying what He is saying, “except I build the house you are wasting your labor; “house” being a metaphor for the person we are called to be and the life we are called to live.
More Than Hard Work
The Lord is telling us there is more to life than good intentions and hard work. It's tempting to see only the technical - to reduce life to ones technique – good information, hard work, and right decisions - then life will work for us. But God is saying, life is more than our best human efforts, that He Himself must do the work. If we depend on the strength of our abilities, then eventually we learn that life is not about me and my abilities but about God and His abilities to fulfill His master plan (design) for my life.
The Lord is giving us spiritual treasure. He is saying the secret to successful living is found, not in leading, but in following! The Lord will allow men/women to work themselves silly attempting ( by their own efforts) to build a successful life. But that's like climbing Mt. Everest wearing lead boots. You can't reach the top! And if we insist on doing life our own way then He will let us carry the burden. He will let us be fully responsible for everything until we come to the place that we are willing to let Him be God, in everything!
We may try, but we will never wear God's shoes. It's popular to be a person of strength, to be in control, to create our own destiny; there's something very heady about that. But the problem is that we're not in control of anything and God is the One who creates our destiny.
How Much Better
How much better life would be if we lived without the problems brought on by assuming the role of the Builder. How much better life would be if we learned to wait on God. How much better to be a follower and then live in the peace of dependence. We can learn to live in peace if we will let God be God in every circumstance. We can find rest if we will obey Him and let Him be the Master Builder of everything that concerns our life. Rest is found, not in striving for accomplishment, but in simply following the One who knows where He is going.
Only One Builder
As a master architect is responsible for the structure and design of a beautiful house, the Lord is our Master Architect and has a beautiful design for every person willing to follow Him. He is not looking for builders, but followers who will allow Him to build their lives using His design. Life would be much better if we would stop talking and start listening. He is our Owner, our Builder, and Counselor. We do not own ourselves, we do not build ourselves, and we are not our own counselor. We are the listeners, we are the servants, the stewards, the managers who find their lives within His work, and then using His tools and His design, live for His glory!
Being followers (and not leaders) of Christ does not mean we do nothing; it is not a place of inactivity. No, being followers of Christ means we do everything He tells us to do. He will lead us in ways that requires hard work, obedience, prayer, fasting, wisdom, restraint, discipline, courage, dedication, perseverance, and then there are times when we do nothing, we stand and we wait!
Building or Following?
But we shouldn't confuse our role of following with His role of building. How do we know if we're building or following? If we're losing sleep, if we are worrying, if our stomach is in knots, if we live in fear of failure, then we are no longer following, but have assumed the role of the Builder. A follower is not overcome by worry because life belongs to God and they (the followers) have nothing to lose. Life, for the follower, is not about personal success but about obedience to their call to follow.
To live well we have to remember the Lord has never asked His people to do what only He can do. What He asks is that His people trust Him enough to follow Him. He is faithfully building our lives and He wants His people to rest in His power, His skill, His design, and in His promises to finish the task.
God bless you,