Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

It has been such a pleasure to spend time each day, thinking on and applying God's Word in this little way...

To give you the heads up, today's post will be the last for two weeks as the Gabbotts take a small break. All the normal Sunday service resources will be available on the Narrabri Anglican Church website, and Neil Hunt is running the show!

If you want to keep reading, our next psalm is Psalm 130, and then we will begin Colossians by looking at Colossians 1:1-14.

When these devotions return, it will be by looking at Colossians 1:15-23.

God bless...
... See MoreSee Less

Psalm 127
I know the connection might be oblique, but when I read Psalm 127:5, my mind moves to Philippians 2:5-11. Let me explain a little...

On a surface reading - which is where every reading of a psalm must begin - this verse makes sense. A stack of children are both a testimony to a father, and a foundation for his future. Within a society that operated on such family structures, this makes sense. And this is good and right - to regard children as such a blessing!

But it is important to see the emphasis in the relationship here - the children reflect well on the father - they testify to him, they reinforce his standing.

In this sense, as we move to understand such a psalm within the flow of salvation history, the commitment of the LORD to create a house for David, culminating in the eternal rule of the Davidic son who is God's Son, points towards the significance of the LORD as THE Father. The Son, and children, of that house testify to the nature of God: he is glorious, the most significant thing/person in the whole marketplace of history and the universe.

More specifically, the actions of the Son point to the Father in such a way that the Father will never be put to shame. After all, the Father has displayed his love, his justice, his grace, his mercy, his power - in and through his one and Only Son, to the creation of his children (us!!!).

And this is where Philippians 2:5-11 finishes - everything that the Son is, and does, points towards the whole world knowing the 'glory of God', the Father!

Collect:

Father, you glory is displayed fully in the life, death and resurrection of your So, Jesus. May my life, by your work, do the same, because Jesus already has! Amen
... See MoreSee Less

Psalm 127
In many ways, this seems to be a psalm in two parts - verses 1-2 are a clear statement of the supervising and undergirding sovereignty of God in all of life, and verses 3-5 segue into the goodness of family and children as a blessing from God. But do they connect?

I think there are two things to make clear as we seek such a connection. First, let's not assume that because this psalm states that children are a blessing from God, that those who have no children are not blessed - that is not the necessary (theo-)logic of this section. Second, this psalm is superscribed as 'Solomonic' and Solomon himself stood as a son of David, and in the line of the great Davidic promise that the son of David would be God's Son and would rule forever.

This also highlights an aspect of verses 3-5 that seems often to be missed. The presence of 'sons'/'children' is a blessing from the LORD and it reflects the nature of the father-child relationship in such a way as to give focus to the father.

Putting these ideas together, we must take this psalm at face value - children are a blessing from the LORD. Amidst all the blessings that the LORD bestows, children are one (notice that the psalmist does not say the pinnacle of blessings).

In the context of the LORD building the 'house', and the 'Solomonic' superscription, then, the children that emerge from the family line of David, under the Davidic promise, are a blessing from the LORD (and this blessing is tied to the blessing that will roll back the curse of sin - see Genesis 12:1-3).

On both a surface level, and a deeper salvation-history level, these words ring true: sons/children are a blessing from the LORD. And they reflect, as we will see tomorrow, on the nature and status and significance of the father/Father.

The connection, then, between the two parts is the role that the LORD plays in sovereignly undergirding the building of the house - the house as the building, and the house as the people of God.

Collect:

Dear Father, all humans bear your image, and this points towards your significance. Father, you promise to re-make your image in those who are your children, through the work of your Son. Please do that in me. Amen.
... See MoreSee Less

Psalm 127
One of the curious social traits that has fascinated me in ministry is how little many of us pause each day - at all, even - and consider the substance of who we are and what we fill our days with. Put simply, so few of us pause and consider our existence, our purpose, and how what we fill our days with reflects who we are.

The vanity - and by this I don't mean self-centred but lacking in substance - of thinking that our purpose and lives and existence can be summed up in what we do daily is striking. I mean, it should not surprise us that this is where we end up if the whole emergence of humanity is a random error (to pout it simplistically). But it is so empty to reduce human existence and purpose to 'you get up early and stay up late, eating food earned by hard work' (vs.2). That doesn't explain my feelings, my thoughts, my battles, my relationships. It reduces me to an inanimate cog, something utilitarian.

And, if we push it further, such an approach to life and its meaning builds nothing of substance or longevity - it just builds.

The alternative, expressed in terms that we yearn for, is there at the end of verse 2 - 'certainly He gives sleep to the one He loves'. Here is a phrase that seems composed to throw our minds and hearts back to the pinnacle of the creation account (Gen.2:1-2), where humans bear the image of God and rest with him, eternally.

Here is our purpose and substance and existential meaning. Here is what we are made for. Here is what explains my feelings, my thoughts, my battles, my relationships. Here is the explanation for my existence - I am not a cog but a person, made to rest in loving relationship with God.

This does not denigrate work but explains it. This does not denigrate food but celebrates it. This does not reduce sleep to refuelling but shows it for what it is - a taste of right rest with God, our Creator and Sustainer.

Collect:

Father, you created me for rest, you removed that rest in just judgement, you restored that rest through amazing grace - please grant me that rest at this day's end. Amen.
... See MoreSee Less

Psalm 127
The connection of this psalm with Solomon, its role as a 'song of ascent', its place amongst God's people as they walked to the Temple mount in Jerusalem (the first Temple being the one that Solomon built under the LORD's guidance) - all this ties this opening section of the psalm together. It is a no-brainer: of course, the LORD must be the builder of this house.

But there is a subtlety here that we can quickly miss, which I definitely missed until this week. Christopher Ash pointed it out... That word 'house' in the first line has rich connotations throughout the Old Testament, in Solomon's family.

You see, back in 2 Samuel 7, David expresses his desire to build the LORD a house, the Temple. The LORD steps in and makes two points: first, the Temple will be built by Solomon, David's son; and, second, the LORD will build David a house, an eternal line of kings coming from the Davidic line, culminating in the One enthroned in heaven, the king of all, God's own Son.

In both instances, the LORD builds the house. In both instances, the house is a statement of the LORD's presence with his people. In both instances, the LORD is working through flesh.

And Solomon is a statement of how humans could never build such a house - in either instance - without the LORD. For, by the time this psalm is compiled into the Psalter, the fall of Solomon is legendary and cautionary. Choosing to work without the LORD, displaying all the foolishness of sin and arrogance, Solomon fell and so did the people of God. The movement to build without the LORD was exposed, and the need for the LORD was reinforced. And the promises of the LORD remain.

By the time this psalm would have been sung as a 'song of ascent', in the Second Temple period, after the return from Exile, the truth of such an opening line would resonate, a lesson learned in rebellion and failure.

Collect:

Father, all humans bear your image. All humans need you as 'the builder'. All humans are made to work for you, by you, and because of you. By the work of Christ, please help me to live with you as the builder. Amen.
... See MoreSee Less

Load more