A comparison of this Psalm with the last one will show that Psalm 128 is definitely
a degree higher in several respects.
The thought of Psalm 127 is continued and developed in Psalm 128,
and the soul is still ascending towards God.
In Psalm 127, we are instructed concerning the vanity of our labor, if the Lord is not in it.
In Psalm 128, we come to discover that the soul can enjoy of the labor of his hands.
His labor is recognized.
His labor produces fruit.
He may enjoy his work.
How do we account for this difference?
It is due to the fact that by the time the soul reaches the level of Psalm 128, the soul is no longer
laboring in the energy of his flesh.
He is now working in the power of the Holy Spirit.
In 127 children are pictured as arrows.
Arrows are sharp and powerful.
The impression is one of an atmosphere of war and conflict.
Arrows are not necessary, if one is not engaged in war or conflict.
In 128, the children are depicted as olive plants round about the table.
This is totally different from 127.
All this peaceful and prosperous, contended, satisfied, and happy.
In 127 the stress is laid upon building.
In 128 the emphasis is upon the way it is built, and upon what is being built.
In Psalm 127, the feeling is more or less a negative one.
This is seen by the use of the words, "unless," and "main".
In Psalm 128, the approach is altogether positive.
Instead of vanity, we find fruitfulness.
This is because the ascending soul is now living and walking and working in the Holy Spirit.
Everything is full of fruits, when this is the case.
This brings much glory to the Lord.
We cannot expect to enter into the experience of Psalm 128,
if we have not passed through the experiences of Psalm 127.
We must come out of 127,
which means we must come out of the realm of the flesh and the energy of the flesh.
It is then that we can enter into the power and energy of the Holy Spirit.
This 9th Song of degree breaks forth with the word, "blessed," which means "happy".
Therefore, we can say: "Happy is everyone that feareth the Lord";
"Happy is everyone that walketh in his ways." (Verse 1)
Those who do not know the liberty of the Lord view the fear of the Lord as bondage.
They see the way of the Lord as hard and dull.
This is not true of those who genuinely know the Lord.
The joy of this world is fleeting.
It is bitter at the end.
Real happiness, real joy, and real peace comes from the fear of the Lord.
True happiness is only obtained by those who fear the Lord and walk in His ways.
The theme of the entire Book of Psalms is built around this particular premise.
When you turn to the first Psalm, you find that it begins with:
"Blessed (happy) is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night."
How can a person be happy?
From where does happiness come?
It comes from the fear of the Lord!
Proverbs 9: 10: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom."
The entire Old Testament is based upon this premise.
The New Testament is also.
How can we be happy?
Only by fearing the Lord and walking in His ways.
Many might think that fear is unhealthy.
They also think that if our "love has been made perfect that is,
if we are in this world as He was in this world, then perfect love cast out fear." (1 John 4:17)
They would say that we do not need to be afraid of anything that there is a wholly
boldness within us.
This is true.
But in another respect, even in love, there is an element of fear.
It is not the fear of being afraid to approach God for fear of being judged.
It is a fear of being afraid to displease Him because we truly love Him.
The fear that is taught here is not that of a slave fearful of punishment.
It is the fear of a son, who is afraid that he may displease his father.
He loves his father intensely.
He wants to please him so much that there is a holy fear -- lest in any way he may disappoint his father.
A holy fear of this kind is not in conflict with love, but it complements real love.
It is often said that the Old Testament gives us the law, and that law produces fear;
and therefore, fear in the Old Testament is the secret of a godly life.
It is also often said that the New Testament tells of grace which gives birth to love,
and therefore, in this case, love is the secret of godliness.
Generally speaking, this is true.
Yet, if we really meditate upon the Word of God, we will have to acknowledge,
that even in the Old Testament the fear which is there -- is not what God desires.
For, in the Old Testament, the most important thing is to "love by God with
all thy heart."
This is the same in the New Testament.
In the New Testament, as well as in the Old Testament, this is a holy fear which goes
together with a holy love.
A holy fear lived in Paul.
Paul was so afraid of displeasing the Lord because he loved the Lord so very much.
If the fear of the Lord is in our heart, then we will walk in His way.
We will -- no matter what that may be -- because it is His way.
So, who is he who fears the Lord, and walks in his way?