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Full Of The Spirit And Fruitful

Psalm 128

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?

So, in Psalm 128, the soul enters into the fullness of the Spirit.
The soul's labor is no longer in the struggle of the flesh, but is now in the power of the Holy Spirit.
What is the effect of that kind of life?

Verse 2: "Thou shall eat the labor of thine hands."

It isn't the Lord's will for us to be be lazy or passive.
Even though it is perfectly true that regardless how diligent we are or how active --
all that we do will be vain -- if it is only done in our flesh.
Nonetheless, it is not God's intent that we should be lazy or passive.

God works, and He works through us.
The result is: the labor of our hands is fully recognized by God because it is a labor
done in the power of the Holy Spirit – in His spiritual work.

The work will be done!
Yet, this is not all.
We shall also discover that we can enjoy the fruit of our labor:
"Happy shalt thou be, and its shall be well with thee." (Verse 2)

God calls us to work together with Him and for Him.
He summons us to work.
He supplies the power.
After we have done the work, we are allowed to share in His joy and happiness.
That is wonderful!
We have been summoned to the work of God.
We have been summoned to build the church.
Yet, we are not to do this in our own strength or power.

Then, how is it to be built?

The church is to be built up by spiritual life and spiritual work.
It is to be built by life in the Spirit and by work in the power of the Spirit.
Then, we are allowed to enjoy this together with the Lord.

Now suddenly – the writer without warning – brings in a new thought:

"Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine within thine house;
thy children like olive plants round about thy table
." (Verse 3)

The comparison may be brought out more clearly by arranging the verse as follows:
"Thy wife shall be in the inner part of thy house like a fruitful vine;
Thy children round about thy table like the shoots of the olive
."

To reach the fullness of life upon earth is something a person cannot do alone.
He that finds a wife finds a good thing.
To complete what should be domestic bliss, children are sent.

Truly blessed is the man whose wife is fruitful, and in whose good works please God.
If you want to find her – she's keeping the home.

The psalmist intends (with the verse "Thy children like olive plants about thy table")
to suggest the idea of young people springing up around their parents,
even as olive plants surround the fine, well-rooted tree.

Notice – it is not olive branches, but plants.
This is a different matter.

Our children gather around our table to be fed – this involves expenses.
It is so much better to see them around the table than it is to see them in bed sick
unable to come to the table for their meals.
So, let us praise the Lord!

So, here we have the vine and the olive blended – and joy from the fruitful wife
-- and great comfort from the growing family.
Let us be grateful for our homes and our families.

Verse 4: "Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord."

Family blessedness comes from the Lord.
To the Lord alone, we must look for it.

The possession of riches will not assure it.
The choice of a handsome husband or a beautiful wife will not assure it.
The birth of numerous beautiful children will not assure it.

There must be the blessing of God.
There must be the influence of God's Word.
Blessedness is a result of holy living!

Verse 5: "The Lord bless thee out of Zion."
Zion is where the King resides.

A spiritual blessing will be received by the gracious man, and this shall crown all his temporal mercies.
The blessing of God shall be upon his house.
Verse 6: "Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children."

This is a tremendous promise and wonderful pleasure.
This promise implies a long life.

"And peace upon Israel."

Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White

Additional thoughts:

Old Age Is Blessed When:

Life has been spent in the fear of God.
When it is surrendered to its close by human affection.
When it maintains its interest in the cause of God.