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What Houses, Cities, Sleep, and Children Have in Common? 

Psalm 127

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • October 1, In the year of our Lord, 2017


  1. What do houses, cities, sleep, and children have in common? 
    1. Let’s read Psalm 127 and find out.


  1. Psalm 127.0 | Of Solomon

    0 A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.

    1. Yet, another song of ascents,
      1. a song that the children of Israel sang
      2. as they ascended the mountains leading to Jerusalem.
    2. However, Solomon wrote this one (and he wrote Psalm 72).
      1. What is interesting about his authorship
      2. is that he believed for a while what he wrote here.
        1. He went astray from it for a time, but then
        2. came back to full belief in it.
  2. Psalm 127.1a | The Lord Builds the House

    1a Unless the LORD builds the house,
    They labor in vain who build it;

    1. Build a house, but
    2. if the Lord is not building the house,
      1. you can forget it;
      2. you are wasting your labor.
        1. Does this explain why one person prospers but another does not?

          I returned and saw under the sun that—
          The race is not to the swift,
          Nor the battle to the strong,
          Nor bread to the wise,
          Nor riches to men of understanding,
          Nor favor to men of skill;
          But time and chance happen to them all.
          (Ecc 9.11)
        2. The Lord builds one house, but not another.
          1. Why?
          2. I do not think that we know in most cases, but
            1. that is where we trust Him, walking in faith,
            2. knowing that He knows what He is doing.
  3. Psalm 127.1b | The Lord Guards the City

    1b Unless the LORD guards the city,
    The watchman stays awake in vain.

    1. Guard a city, but
    2. if the Lord does not guard the city,
      1. the watchman should just go back to sleep.
      2. When the Lord decides to bring down a city,
        1. nothing that man has invented can prevent the downfall.
        2. This is why we want others in our city or nation to have faith.
  4. Psalm 127.2 | The Lord Gives Sleep

    2 It is vain for you to rise up early,
    To sit up late,
    To eat the bread of sorrows;
    For so He gives His beloved sleep.

    1. The Jerusalem Bible translates this verse in this manner,

      In vain you get up earlier,
      and put off going to bed,
      sweating to make a living,
      since he provides for his beloved as they sleep.
    2. We may get up early in the morning and
      1. stay up late at night,
        1. trying to accomplish something,
        2. giving our heart and soul to that project,
          1. filling our lives with sorrow,
          2. losing sleep over the whole thing.
      2. However, you cannot avoid sleep.
        1. The Lord designed us to need sleep.
        2. He wants us to take a break.
          1. He makes us sleep, because
          2. we are not running the universe,
            1. He is!
            2. We need reminders all the time
              1. that the world continues
              2. while we sleep for one third of our lives.
          3. How does anything get done,
            1. if we are sleeping?
            2. Many people seem to think
              1. that the world will not spin,
              2. if they do not get out and do the spinning.
      3. But then sleep overwhelms us, and
        1. we have no choice but to rest.
        2. And guess what? Life goes on without all our effort.
    3. We have to remember that the Lord provides for us,

      31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matt 6.31–34).
  5. Psalm 127.3–5 | God Gives Children

    3 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
    The fruit of the womb is a reward.
    4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
    So are the children of one’s youth.
    5 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
    They shall not be ashamed,
    But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

    1. It is vain to build a house, if the Lord does not build the house.
    2. It is vain to guard a city, if the Lord does not guard the city.
    3. It is vain to avoid sleep, because the Lord will put you to sleep.
    4. With the fourth item, Solomon said nothing about vanity.
      1. God designed the female and
      2. her womb to bring children into the world.
        1. This is a heritage from the Lord.
        2. A child is not a punishment
          1. as one of our presidents has said,
          2. that if his daughter were to become pregnant outside of marriage.
            1. Once a female has conceived a life within,
            2. let no one even think of snuffing out that life.
    5. In what way are children a heritage from the Lord and a reward?
      1. They are as arrows in the hand of a warrior.
      2. Happy is that warrior-parent who has a quiver full of children-arrows.
        1. What do you do with arrows.
        2. In the picture that Solomon painted,
          1. you use them in warfare.
          2. You have enemies,
            1. the church, like ancient Israel, has enemies, and
            2. the Lord gives us those spiritual arrows
              1. to battle our enemies.
              2. One of the most effective weapons we employ
                1. against the God-haters
                2. are the children that we turn out into the world.
    6. Unfortunately Americans and American Christians
      1. see having many children as a bad thing, but
      2. just look at the Muslim world,
        1. especially as it multiplies here in America.
        2. It is not that they are converting people,
          1. as much as they are growing simply by having large families.
          2. Catholics and Mormons have always grow by this method.
    7. Leroy Brownlow says that children
      1. protect their aged parents,
      2. protect their parents from selfishness,
      3. protect the home from separation
        1. (because parents often stay together for the sake of the children), and
        2. he said,

          “Children protect the home from boredom. With their hurts and ills, curiosity and learning, joys and smiles, sorrows and tears, each day bursts a new with challenges that bring a special interest” (Living with the Psalms, Brownlow Publishing Company, Fort Worth, Texas, November 22).


  1. What do houses, cities, sleep, and children have in common? 
    1. The Lord gives houses.
    2. The Lord gives cities.
    3. The Lord gives sleep.
    4. The Lord gives children.
      1. The Lord is the common factor.
      2. The Lord is in everything.
        1. Perhaps this is why the Bible says,

          5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
          And lean not on your own understanding;
          6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
          And He shall direct your paths.
          (Pro 3.5–6)
        2. Do you believe that He is in everything in your life?
  2. With those first three items Solomon said 
    1. that it is vain if the Lord does not back it.
      1. While Solomon did not state it with the fourth,
      2. he still said that the Lord is the One behind it.
        1. Solomon broke up his pattern
        2. to catch our attention.
    2. Solomon had written in another Bible Book
      1. that the vanity of vanities—
      2. the ultimate vanity—
        1. is that all,
        2. everything is vanity.
          1. As he continued in the Book of Ecclesiastes,
          2. he also showed that everything is vain
            1. if you leave God out of the picture.
            2. Even God’s gifts equal vanity with Him removed.
  3. Confessing Jesus as Lord means that you acknowledge Him in all your ways.