SERMON NOTES: Psalm 127, Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day 2022

Psalm 127

It’s Mother’s Day 2022, and today with the Parent/Baby Dedication, I want us to look at Psalm 127 and what the Bible says about parenting, and we will do the same thing on Father’s Day. 

Psalm 127 is a wisdom Psalm and presents two wise truths that are unified in their relationship (Hebrew poetry rhymes with contrasting or parallel thoughts). So, this Hebrew poetry is a beautifully poetic presentation of truth for us who are raising kids.

But this Psalm is not just beautiful and poetic instruction for us, this wise truth is presented in the Psalms in the context of worship. The Psalms are songs of worship. 

So, before we dive into this instruction to parents, we can say that our work of mothering and fathering is worship. 

NOTE: I want to be completely true to the text, so I would also argue this instruction is for more than just parenting, and we are especially applying it to parenting this morning.

What does God want us to see from Psalm 127 on this Mother’s Day?

God is the one who makes our labor to build a Christian family possible. V. 1-2

The Psalmist is talking about the physical labor of family provision. 

And one is not seeking to provide physically as well as seeking the physical protection of their family through robust city defenses and thus the political processes necessary for such protection unless there is a relational culture that is worth providing for and protecting. 

What are some truths we can glean from verses 1-2 to help us see it is only by God’s empowerment that we can build a Christian family that we should strive to provide for as well as defend?

  1. First, we have to believe God cares as much about the labor of building a kingdom culture, and atmosphere, not just the physical provisions. V. 1
    1. We labor to build the culture of a Christian family in addition to the family’s physical well-being. 
      1. Culture eats physical assets for breakfast. We can have all the physical supply we can muster and still have rottenness on the inside of it. 
      2. What does a Christian home culture look like?
      3. This culture looks like holiness. 
        1. God’s word is our standard of righteousness.
        2. Keen observation of God’s world and God’s hard-wired truths in that created order and learning to work with those truths not against them. 
          1. God’s word gives us the parameters and knowledge of God to observe his world with the correct lenses on our eyes so that we can then see how he hard-wired hi world to work so that we can move with him providentially not against the grain his daily movement. 
          2. Psalm 19 – The heavens declare the glory of God. 
      4. This culture looks like wholeness. 
        1. The whole person (emotional, mental, spiritual, physical well-being).
        2. Social and emotional maturity is not a left-wing tactic to liberalize our schools and families. 
          1. Social and emotional maturity is God’s design. 
            1. You and I can’t be theologically mature and emotionally immature or stunted. 
            2. This work is likely to be a place where you got a great deal of necessary conflict in your family.
      5. This culture looks like high and kind expectations. 
        1. This also is likely where you are going to get healthy and necessary conflicts in your family. 
          1. And these conflicts and arguments are not evil. 
          2. They are necessary to build strength and growth. 
          3. Just don’t bail on it.
          4. Keep committed and work to grow. 
      6. This culture looks like preparing for the mission of all nations through vocational domains. 
  2. This culture of a Christian home is not possible without God making our labor effective. V. 1
  1. If we are going to truly manifest the life of Christ rather than manufacture it when it may not be real, we are going to have to die to ourselves with Christ so that the life of Christ will be put on display in us.
    1. And this is where we see God making our labor effective rather than us just getting merely what we can produce. 
  2. Good news! We are not left to ourselves to build a Christian home. 
    1. We have the promise of God’s help if we will live a life crucified with Christ. 
    2. How? Do point 1!
    3. When we work with the grain of God’s word and his world using some of what we’ve shared already, we get the supernatural help of God. 
      1. This is not a guarantee of painless labor, but it is the guarantee that our labor won’t be in vain. 
      2. It is vain to worry ourselves with labor that runs against the grain of God’s word and world. V. 2
        1. This is not an excuse to be lazy and not work. 
        2. This is instruction to not wear ourselves out running against the grain of God’s instructions and depending on this unnecessary labor for eternal gains. 

God makes our labor (to build a Christian family) effective as we equip our children to extend God’s mission. V. 3-5

Children are not given to parents for their own personal fulfillment, although children can be fulfilling. 

Children are not given to parents for us to prove anything by our parenting skills, although children can test and refine our skills or expose the lack of them and need to grow them. 

Children are not given to parents to repair a marriage. 

Children are not given to parents to give our lives purpose, although there is a good purpose in raising and launching children.

Children are not given to parents to fit into parenting culture, although having children is a culture in itself and not all of it is “Christian” that calls itself “Christian”. 

Children are not given to parents to fulfill some need to be loved or needed by someone else, although children are wired by the Lord to love their parents and safe caretakers, and that is a good joy. 

What are God’s purposes in giving us children? 

  1. Children are God’s precious gifts in building the future by empowering our work as parents and caretakers. V. 3
    1. The sense of the Psalmist’s use of “sons” in verses 3 and 4 is “children” not merely “boys” only. So, the ESV properly translates “sons” in the CSB as “children”. 
    2. Heritage and reward rhyme as parallel ideas, and a practical application of verses 1-2. 
      1. “… The term “heritage” refers to an allotment, and here it indicates children whom the Lord has given to a family. If the two lines of v. 3 are viewed as parallel assertions, then “reward” would refer to what the Lord has produced by his creative activity rather than what the human parents have earned by their activity… children provide a future that intense labor cannot…” – Daniel J. Estes, Psalms 73–150, ed. E. Ray. Clendenen, vol. 13, New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2019), 481.
      2. Children are good rewards to parents for building a future for God’s kingdom with him. 
        1. Children are not “things” to be handed off to give us a break. 
          1. There is nothing wrong with having a break. 
          2. And yet every moment is a Deuteronomy 6 moment of training. 
          3. It is tiring. 
          4. It is often maddening. 
          5. IT IS ALSO ETERNALLY GOSPEL AT ITS CORE. 
        2. Children are a heritage and reward and worth the hard work of stewarding for future grace. 
          1. This, among a multitude of reasons, is why we value RK as a church-wide work. 
          2. We invest in our children and parents by serving the children through the means of parents who are building with God for a future. 
          3. This is also why when little ones are in service often with us, it’s not a distraction but the sound of the future, and part of the worthy blood, sweat, and tears of doing kingdom work. 
  2. Children are God’s provision of offensively extending the parent’s and caretaker’s influence for the kingdom of God into the future far beyond our years. V. 4
  3. Children are God’s provision for overcoming the enemies of God’s kingdom far beyond our own personal reach. V. 5
    1. A godly heritage is a reason for happiness in the home. 
    2. A godly heritage is a death blow to the kingdom of darkness. 
    3. A godly heritage is healing to our cities. 
    4. Therefore, our labor to raise godly children is worth our full attention, and know, that your labor is not in vain!

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