“Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him.
You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the LORD.
May the LORD bless you from Zion; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
May you live to see your children’s children— peace be on Israel.”
As I read Psalms 128 this morning, I recalled that this Psalm is one of fifteen Psalms that theologians call a “Psalm of Ascent.” As I read it, I had a moment where I pictured myself back in Jerusalem walking up the southern steps toward the temple mount. While we do not know who authored this Psalm, it was likely written in the post-exilic period sometime after 539 BC when the first wave of Israelites returned from captivity in Babylon. Solomon’s temple had been destroyed 70 years earlier and the nation had gone many years without a central place of worship. This Psalm may have been written as part of a “revival of worship” as faithful Jews returned once again to Jerusalem to visit the newly rebuilt Second Temple of Zerubbabel. During this time, worshippers would sing this Psalm either at the outer courts of the temple or quite possibly as they made their way up from the pool of Siloam, a place of ritual cleansing. Those that came this way would come to the Temple from the Kidron Valley. They would ascend some 500 steps from the pool of Siloam to the Temple, usually for one of the three annual pilgrimage festivals: Passover, Shavuot, or Sukkot. Here they would sing this Psalm, reminding themselves of the faithfulness of God in their lives.
This Psalm speaks of the blessing of God that flows into the lives of those that fear of the Lord. When we revere the Lord through a life of obedience, it creates a direct link to God’s favor, both in our work life and in our family life. The fear of the Lord brings fruitfulness and abundance to our labor. Whether you own a business or work for someone else, the promise of this Psalm is that as you work acknowledging and reverencing the LORD, God’s abundant favor will be with you.
The same goes for our home life. As we revere the LORD at home, we can see the blessing of God through our spouse and our children, even extending to our children’s children. God’s favor is irrevocably tied to the fear of the LORD. The “Shalom” [peace and wholeness] of God flows like a river into the lives of those who fear the LORD. God’s blessings are given for, not just one day, but all the days of our lives. Wow! Bless the LORD.