By Dr. Julie Barrier, Crosswalk.com
When you read it, you’ll notice that it’s a paradox: Solomon blends his sagely gift and his stint as the ultimate dysfunctional father.
We know King Solomon was, at best, savvy and street-smart and, at worst, jaded and cynical.
Regardless of your opinion of him, God made the flamboyant monarch the wisest man on earth. And although he was not the model father, parents today can certainly apply his God-given wisdom to their own lives.
Let God Build Your ‘House’
“Unless the Lord builds the house…” (Psalm 127:1)
How would you like to have the Creator of the universe as your architect? This house represents a life designed by God. Every room, every hallway, is custom-made by the Creator.
“Unless the Lord builds” is a conditional clause in the Hebrew language. If God doesn’t lay the foundation, your home will collapse.
My father was a contractor. When he retired, he built a modest home in a new suburban development. Hotel-like mansions popped up around them shortly after they moved. Two years later, every elegant edifice had cracked foundations.
You see, those wealthy buyers looked inside the homes but not underneath them. My father, on the other hand, knew the soil in his neighborhood was sandy. Before he laid his home’s foundation, he poured concrete piers 150 feet beneath the surface.
When you stop controlling your life and renovating your relationships according to your own specifications, the life you miraculously receive will be more gorgeous and grandiose than you imagined.
Solomon’s dad, David, wrote, “He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season. And its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers” (Psalm 1:3). Only the godly man or woman has deep roots.
Give God, the Master-Contractor, the blueprints. Your house will stand.
Trust God’s Protection
Psalm 127:1 says, “Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”
Watchmen were always stationed on the walls of Jerusalem to detect the stealthy approach of all enemies, but even vigilant watchmen couldn’t protect Israel. Only God could.
One of my daughters died of heart failure. One was shot on the playground in a drive-by shooting (she lived). One was raped when she was a foreign exchange student in high school.
God’s watchful protection over my family has been my only hope of peace and security. Fretting, fearing, and stewing over our problems is just vanity or “mist”.
Rest and relinquish control of your family. Trust God’s guardianship.
Trust God’s Provision and Comfort
“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil…” (Psalm 127:2)
Do you feel you have stepped on the hamster wheel of life and can’t get off? This verse describes the dilemma of the early bird and the night owl whose high-energy workaholism snuffs or burns them out in a few years.
Some of us are driven by a false belief that our identity lies in productivity and we alone are responsible for our wellbeing. Remember Jesus’ promise about the lilies of the field and the birds of the air in Matthew 6:28? If God feeds and clothes them, how much more will He feed and clothe you?
Sometimes, we race around at a frenetic pace because we don’t want to process pain or loss, so we mask it, resulting in empty lives and shallow relationships.
I started graduate school the day after my baby daughter died in my arms from heart failure and suffocation. After she died, I busied myself to mask my broken heart. But God longed for me to stay still long enough to receive His comfort, process my grief, and discover His direction for my life.
Let’s talk about the “bread of anxious toil.”
In biblical times, an average person’s day revolved around gathering and preparing food for the family. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 31:15 “She (the righteous woman) gets up while it is still dark and provides food for her family.” That’s still a good idea. It’s the only time Walmart is not packed with people.
Solomon is not saying that we shouldn't work or provide for our families; he's saying that our labor cannot replace God's sovereign provision.
Rest and Listen
“…for He gives to His beloved sleep.” (Psalm 127:2)
Have you ever thought of sleep as a gift? Symbolically, it means God the Father wants to teach you the rest you can experience by trusting in Him.
Hebrews 4:9 “There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from His own work just as God did from His.” The verse that follows is surprising—“The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:10).
When we rest and listen to God, His Word helps us to understand who we are in Him. When someone is trying to make a big decision, and the car salesman or stockbroker demands an answer, a wise person will often say, “I’ll sleep on it.”
- Sleep gives us clarity and perspective.
- Sleep restores and rejuvenates us.
- Sleep is a gift.
Enjoy Your Family
“Sons are a heritage from the Lord: the fruit of the womb is a reward.” (Psalm 127:3) Solomon teaches that children are a gift from God.
Childless widows in the Bible were viewed as helpless and destitute. Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah all prayed to have sons.
A man’s sons were his social security.
- They tilled the land and carried on the family name.
- They nursed Mom and Dad in their twilight years.
- The heritage (identity, culture, values, and lifestyle) of the family was entrusted to them.
A close family is a precious treasure. Make memories. Teach values.
Launch Your Children toward Success
“Like arrows in the hands of warriors are the sons of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them.” (Psalm 127:4)
Solomon teaches here that children are like a warrior’s arrows. Everyone used arrows in ancient times. Warriors drew their bows to stop aggressors. Hunters wielded bows and arrows to kill prey and feed their families. Arrows were carefully designed to hit the target, and a hunter’s crooked arrow could cost him his life.
Today, a person who lives a lifestyle of uncompromising integrity is a “straight arrow.” Adult children who lead lives that are focused and effective bring joy to their parents.
Parents who have carefully invested in the lives of their children will be happy and fulfilled when they “shoot their arrows” into society and watch them soar successfully.
Prepare Them to Lead Well
“…They will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.” (Psalm 127:5)
"Sitting in the gate" was an ancient custom first mentioned in Genesis 19. Judges sat at the city gate to solve domestic disputes, forge contracts, and make treaties.
Lot, the lukewarm judge, tried cases at the city gate (Genesis 19:1). Obviously, he didn’t stem the tide of decadence and immorality in his hometown; God had to destroy it with fire because of the depravity of the Sodomites and Gomorrahites.
Conversely, Moses became a great judge. Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, advised him to delegate some of his governance to trusted leaders of each tribe. Moses heeded Jethro and appointed judges to help lead the wandering Jews (Exodus 18:13-26).
Deft negotiators kept the peace by practicing diplomacy among warring tribes and nations. If the judges were savvy arbitrators, if they were honest, then the people enjoyed peace. If the ambassadors were corrupt or capricious, the community’s safety and prosperity were compromised.
Launch your children to lead wisely and faithfully.
Heed Solomon’s words. Let God build your family on a firm foundation. Find and follow God’s plan. Rest and enjoy the precious time you have together. Lead and launch your children to navigate the seas of life successfully.
Dr. Julie Barrier is an author, international conference speaker, and minister of Casas Church for three decades. She now serves as CEO of Preach It, Teach It, providing free resources for pastors, missionaries, and Bible students.
Photo Credit: GettyImages/AIPortraiture
Dr. Julie Barrier, along with her pastor-husband, Dr. Roger Barrier, have taught conferences on marriage and ministry in 35 countries. The Barriers are founders and directors of Preach It, Teach It providing free resources in 10 languages to 5 million visitors in 229 countries and territories. The Barriers pastored 35 years at Casas Church in Arizona, Julie has served as a worship minister, concert artist and adjunct professor at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. She has authored or composed of over 500 published works.