Living the Blessed Life Songs of Ascent: Practices of the Lifelong Journey Series  Psalm 128
Psalm 128[ESV] A Song of Ascents. 1 Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! 2You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. 3Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. 4Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.
Psalm 128 [ESV] A Song of Ascents. 5 The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life! 6May you see your children’s children! Peace be upon Israel!
PSALM 128: A WISDOM PSALM ABOUT HAPPINESS Two key words about the blessed life: Blessing: God’s grace and favor [“much more than our toil”] as opposed to curse for the ungodly [“much less than our toil”]. It is not luck or a onetime favor—but a result of the covenantal relationship with God. Fear of the LORD: reverent awe of God—not terror but reverence—not dread but astonishment. The relationship between the two: fear of the LORD is the key that unlocks the door to the blessed life.
PSALM 128: A WISDOM PSALM ABOUT HAPPINESS Right approach to happiness [blessings] isNOT “how can I get it?” Why? Our lifelong journey is not toward happiness but toward God. God himself is the source & giver of all blessings. Therefore, the right approach is “how do I enter into the blessed relationship with GOD?”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LIVE THE BLESSED LIFE? 1)It means to know… the secret, “fear.” 1 Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD…. 4Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD. (vs.1a, 4)
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LIVE THE BLESSED LIFE? 1)It means to know… the secret, “fear.” Fear of the LORD is "a fear that pulls us out of our preoccupation with ourselves, our feelings, or our circumstances into a world of wonder" [Eugene Peterson]. This secret is so simple that many stumble over it: (1) Blessedness was meant for all by God; (2) The Fall broke the blessedness; (3) The covenantal relationship with God [the “fear”] restores the blessed life. Therefore, our secret to blessedness/happiness is the fear of the LORD.
To Fear God “Fear God.” Reverence might be a better word. Awe. The Bible isn’t interested in whether you believe God or not. It assumes that everyone more or less does. What it is interested in is the response we have to him: Will you let God be as he is, majestic and holy, vast and wondrous, or will we always be trying to whittle him down to the size of our small minds, insist on confining him within the boundaries we are comfortable with, refuse to think of him other than in images that convenient to our lifestyle? But then we are dealing with the God of creation and the Christ of the cross, but with a dime-store reproduction of something made up in our image, usually for commercial reasons… [The fear of the Lord] is not to scare us but to bring to awesome attention before the grandeur of God… so that we can really see him as he is and listen to him as he speaks his merciful, life-changing words of forgivness. - Eugene Peterson
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LIVE THE BLESSED LIFE? 2)It means to live… according to God’s will. Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! (v.1a) To fear the LORD means to respect and trust GOD enough to live according to what God desires and wills for us. To fear the LORD and yet disobeying his is a double- mindess—it will leave us in the curse or it will bring us God’s discipline. Therefore, true fear of the LORD will lead us to self- surrender to God’s Word [Scripture] and guidance.
24 They do not say to themselves, 'Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.' 25 Your wrongdoings have kept these away; your sins have deprived you of good. Jeremiah 5:24-25
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LIVE THE BLESSED LIFE? 3)It means to thrive… in God’s blessings. 2You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. 3Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. 4Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD. 5 The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life! 6May you see your children’s children! Peace be upon Israel! (vs.2-6)
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LIVE THE BLESSED LIFE? 3) It means to thrive… in God’s blessings. The hard way of living is to go against God’s path for us— the happy way of living is to thrive in God’s blessings as the children of God. The blessedness is not just in one area but all areas of our life as his people: (1) conduct & character (v.1); (2) work life (v.2); (3) family life (vs. 3,6) Therefore, the key to living the blessed life [happiness] is to THRIVE in God’s blessings—in the will of God who loves and provides for us.
The Blessed Life And the blessedness of this blessed life lies in this: that we trust the Lord to do in us and for us what we could not do. And we find that He does not belie His Word, but that, according to our faith, so it is done to us. The weary spirit, which has vainly sought to realize its ideal by its own strivings and efforts, now gives itself over to the strong and tender hands of the Lord Jesus, and He accepts the task, and at once begins to work in it to will and to do of His own good pleasure, delivering it from the tyranny of besetting sin, and fulfilling in it His own perfect ideal. The Blessed Life should be the normal life of every Christian– in work and rest, in the building up of the inner life, and in the working out of the life-plan. It is God's thought not for a few, but for all His children. The youngest and weakest may lay claim to it equally with the strongest and oldest. We should step into it at the moment of conversion without wandering with blistered feet for forty years in the desert, or lying for thirty-eight years, with disappointed hopes, in the porch of the House of Mercy. - F. B. Meyer
Praying the Songs of Ascent #9 — Psalm 128 [MSG] A Pilgrim Song 1-2 All you who fear God, how blessed you are! how happily you walk on his smooth straight road! You worked hard and deserve all you've got coming. Enjoy the blessing! Revel in the goodness! 3-4 Your wife will bear children as a vine bears grapes, your household lush as a vineyard, The children around your table as fresh and promising as young olive shoots. Stand in awe of God's Yes. Oh, how he blesses the one who fears God!
Praying the Songs of Ascent #9 — Psalm 128 [MSG] A Pilgrim Song 5-6 Enjoy the good life in Jerusalem every day of your life. And enjoy your grandchildren. Peace to Israel!
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS FOR OUR EVERYDAY LIFE 1.Know and practice the secret—TO FEAR THE LORD. Consecrate yourself to God. Enter into a covenantal relationship with God. Do not fear people or things; fear GOD. ’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed! John Newton
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS FOR OUR EVERYDAY LIFE 2.Thrive in God’s blessings BY LIVING BY FAITH IN CHRIST. Do not toil and try to earn blessings. Begin today to live by faith and obedience. THRIVE… not merely survive in God’s blessings!