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Building And Growing

Psalm 127

This Psalm stands in the center of the 15 Songs of Degrees.
It is the only one among them attributed to Solomon.
The most prominent element in view in it is the thought of building.
This naturally reminds us of King Solomon because he was the one used by the Lord
to build Him a temple in Jerusalem.

The idea of "build" or "building" is evident at this stage in anyone's walk.
Yet, we must keep in mind several things in relation to this matter of building.

First, there can be no building unless prior to it there is revelation.

This Psalm is a part of – and is descriptive of – the second period in our spiritual experience.
We have learned that this is a period of revelation and enlightenment.
Unless there is revelation, there can be no building.
How can a person construct a house if he does not possess an architectural plan or blueprint?
Even if we want to build something small, we would still have to draw up a plan
or at least visualize some plan in our mind.

Remember how God gave the vision of His house to David, and later, Solomon was chosen
to build the temple.

It is only in the principle of illumination that the spiritual process of "building" or "growing" is made possible.
Without a perception of the Lord's purpose and His counsel and His plan,
there can be no establishment of the church.

Second, you cannot build unless the war is over – unless there is peace.

You cannot construct during wartime.
You can only do so when there is peace.
Spiritually, this is always the case.
If there is conflict, either internally or externally, no construction can occur – no growing can occur.
It is only when the peace of God reigns in hearts and reigns in our midst that the building
of the church can take place and continue to grow.
So when peace comes at last to reign in the heart; the process of building or growing
can then take place.

Thirdly, when you think of "build" or "growth", you are apt to
conceive of these in very personal terms.

Oh, that I may grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ!
Oh, that I may arrive at spiritual maturity!
Oh, that I may be built up and made strong!

In the Scriptures when the thought of build or grow is under consideration, it is far more than personal;
it is also corporate in nature and in purpose.
All of us are members one of another.
How are we going to grow?

Do we merely mature individually, each by himself?
No! The whole body with all its members grow together towards the full-grown man.
We grow relatedly, and we grow proportionately.

It if it is purely on the individual plane, then suppose my hand wants to grow and that it develops
so rapidly that it develops out of all proportion to the rest of my body.
Imagine the effect!
It would become an ugly thing.

Therefore, we must remember that the spiritual concept of grow or build is a corporate matter.
We must mature in a related way.
We must be built up together and be fitted together.

During this stage of enlightenment the sense of corporateness will be increasing all the time.
We must grow together in Christ that we may form the habitation of God,
so that we may be truly the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4: 15, 16)

If we keep these three thoughts in mind, it will help us to understand this Song of Degrees much better.
So let us keep these three matters constantly before us as we continue to consider this Psalm.

In the very beginning we read these words:
"Unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it."

Solomon is going to build the house of God.
He has learned one lesson.
It is an extremely important and very valuable lesson – one which every soul must learn
if he wants to build.
The lesson is: unless the Lord build the house, in vain do its workers labor in it.

If you desire to build, you must see to it that it is the Lord Himself Who builds.
If we attempt to build without the Lord, then it is all in vain.

Three times in this Psalm we find this word: "emptiness."
It is vain! It is in vain! It is in vain!

When you are constructing something in the world and you put
your entire strength and being into it, you may succeed.
The way people in the world go about it is spelled out vividly in the second verse:

"Rise up early, set up late, eat the bread of sorrows."

If you want to build something, you will rise up early and lie down late in order to devote
all the time possible to the project.
Even while you are eating, the thought of building is on your mind.
You experience sleepless powers because you are always thinking of what you have
to do in your building.

In short, this is a description of the effort which one puts into laboring – rise up early,
lie down late, and eat the bread of sorrows.
If you carry all like this, you may succeed in the world because you will have invested
your entire person in it.

However, the building of the church is different.
In the building of the church, even if you should rise up early and lie down late
and eat the bread of sorrows, you will not succeed.
It is altogether in vain.

They try very hard – they rise up early, go to sleep late, eat the bread of sorrows,
and exert themselves to be extreme.
They are working toward a nervous breakdown or a physical breakdown.
And the house remains unbuilt.

The reason?
The church which is the house of God is not an earthly organizational entity.
It is not a business enterprise.
It is not a social club.

If the church is simply something organizational or institutional, then even without the Lord
you will succeed should you devote all your strength to it and work tirelessly at it.
However, the church is a spiritual organism.
The house of God, the church, is something living.
It is something spiritual.
It is something heavenly.

So, unless the Lord is in the building of it – all is vain – no matter how much time
you put in or how much human wisdom you employ or how much strength you bring to bear upon it.
It is at best a striving after the wind!

This does not mean that we are to adopt the attitude of doing nothing
– to be lazy and idle, or to be passive and merely sit and wait for the Lord to do everything.
We must not have the idea to simply leave it to Him, and we are to do nothing.

Oh! No!
This is not the thought that is conveyed here.

Solomon is the same person who has written the Book of Proverbs.
A brief glance through that book will easily confirm the fact that he has much to say concerning
laziness and idleness on the one side and diligence on the other.

Solomon exhorts us to be diligent – not lazy!
He implores us to be ever alert and keen and not to be loitering about. (6: 9, 10; 31: 27)

The Solomon of Proverbs would never teach us in the 127th Psalm to be idle, to be lazy,
or to be passive.
He is not instructing us in this passage to do nothing.
He is not telling us to simply sit down, wait, and go to sleep.
Solomon doesn't mean that.
What does he mean?

In one sense, we are all builders.
We're all laborers.
We are not only the building – we are also the builders.

So, on the one side we must build.
However, on the other side the Lord is the builder.
He said: "I will build my church."

Unless the Lord builds, it is in vain for the laborers to labor in its construction.
Let us not ever be misled – the Lord is the builder!
How do we reconcile these two sides?

We must build.
There is no doubt about that. But how?

We must build – but not by plunging into it wholly by ourselves
and attempting to use our own wisdom and strength.
Not at all!

We are to build!
The way we are to do it is to let God build through us.

If we allow the Lord to work in our lives – if we simply look to Him – Who is the power
and wisdom that we must have – then we will witness the church being built
by the power of God.

We must yield ourselves completely to the Lord.
We must trust Him completely.
We must not trust in our wisdom nor in our strength.

The church is the Lord's!
God will build His church!

Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White