Ascending to the House of God
In Psalm 127 the pilgrim meditates upon the security of God’s house, as he ascends to it. Here is our security. The building of God’s house is his work. The security of it is his work. The children he gives are his heritage. Knowing these things, we read, “so he giveth his beloved sleep.”
“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. 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. Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”
The house and city spoken of in this psalm is the church of God. The title of the psalm, “A Song of degrees for Solomon,” tells us this. The psalm was written to encourage Solomon as he prepared to build the temple in Jerusalem, which was typical of the church of God’s elect. It is Christ himself, our God and Savior, who builds his house and keeps his city. Were it not for this fact, the labor of Zion’s watchmen, the labor of gospel preachers, would be vanity. But our labor is not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58; Isa. 55:11). The fact that the building of God’s house, the salvation of his elect, is altogether God’s work gives us sleep (peace), assuring us that all is well that concerns God’s church. The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
We know that this psalm is not talking about our physical families, or our physical descendants, by the simple fact that for many their families and their children are the causes of great sorrow. The children spoken of here are the children of God, his gift to Christ, brought forth from Zion’s womb. They are the reward of his soul’s travail, the reward of his suffering and death (Isa. 53:10-11). God’s children are arrows in the hands of Christ, our Mighty Man of War, the Captain of our Salvation.
The Happy Man
The happy man, whose quiver is full, is Christ. He is our blessedness and we are his. John Gill wrote, “Christ’s spiritual seed and offspring, who are the dew of his youth, are strong, and overcome the evil one; and are serviceable in the defense of his cause and interest.” His children, God’s elect, believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, shall never be ashamed, confused, confounded, put to confusion, or make haste (Isa. 28:16; 45:17; Rom. 10:11; 1 Pet. 2:6).