It was appropriate that the builder of the holy house should be remembered by the pilgrims
to its sacred shrine.
Observe how in each of these songs, the heart is fixed upon God only:
- It could be that David wrote this Psalm for his son, Solomon.
- If Solomon was the author, it comes fitly from the one who built the house of the Lord.
Read the first verse of each of these Psalms from 120 to this one:
The Lord and the Lord alone is lauded at each step of these songs of ascents.
- "I cried unto the Lord."
- "I will lift up mine eyes to the hills."
- "Let us go into the house of the Lord."
- "Unto Thee will I lift up mine eyes."
- "If it had not been for the Lord."
- "They that trust in the Lord."
- "When the Lord turned again the captivity."
At every stopping place of our life we should sing a new song unto the Lord.
God's blessing on His people as their one great necessity and privilege is the subject of this Psalm.
Here we are taught that the builders of houses and cities; systems and fortunes;
empires and churches all labor in vain without the Lord.
This is the Builder's Psalm.
"Every house is builded by some man, but he that built all things is God."
Verse 1 - "Except...that build it."
The word, "vain," is the key note here.
It rings out clearly three times.
Men desiring to build know that they must labour, and accordingly they must put forth
all their skill and strength.
They should also remember that, if Jehovah is not with them their designs will prove to be a failure.
So it was with the builders of the tower of Babel.
They said, "Go to, let us build us a city and a tower." (Gen.11:4)
The Lord returned their words into their bosoms, saying,
"Go to, let us go down there and confound their language." (Gen. 11:7)
In vain they toiled, for the Lord's face was against them.
When Solomon resolved to build a house for the Lord, things were very different,
for all things were united under God to aid Solomon in this great undertaking.
Even the heathen were at his beck and call that he might erect a temple for the Lord His God.
In the same manner God blessed him in the erection of his own palace.
This verse evidently refers to all sorts of house-building.
Without God we are nothing!
God's houses have been erected by ambitious men.
But like the baseless fabric of a vision, they have passed away, and few stones remain
to tell where they once stood.
If such builders could come back from the grave and revisit such buildings, they would see
that they labored in vain.
They would not find a trace of their handiwork.
Not only do we now spend our strength in vain without God, but all who have ever labored
apart from Him come under the same sentence.
Trowel and hammer, saw and plane are instruments of vanity, unless the Lord be the Master-Builder.
There can be no building in the truest sense unless prior to it there is vision and planning.
How can a person construct a house, if he does not first have a plan and a blueprint?
Even in erecting a small project, a person must have a plan in mind.
Remember that God gave the vision of His house to David, and then later, Solomon was
chosen to build the temple.
Without a perception of the Lord's purpose and His counsel, there can be no establishment
of the church.
Building cannot take place in a war zone.
Building can occur only when there is peace.
You cannot construct in wartime.
You can only build in time of peace.
Spiritually, this is always the case.
If there is conflict, either internally or externally, construction cannot occur.
It is only when the peace of God reigns in our heart and reigns in our midst
that the building of the church can take place and continue.
We must also remember that there must be times of war and there must be times of peace.
"There is a time for war, and there is a time for peace;
a time for tearing down and a time for building up." (Eccl. 3:8)
We cannot erect God's house!
The church cannot be built unless, first, there is a time when the cross can work deeply
in our own lives.
This is the time when the cross begins to tear down the natural energy and enthusiasm,
the natural ways and wisdom, the natural strength, and all that belongs to our flesh.
The old must be demolished, the rubbish must be removed, before there can be any actual building
of the church to the glory of God.
This Psalm speaks of an experience which follows directly upon that of the preceding Psalm.
Peace has at last come to reign in the heart: the process of building or growing is now in order.
When we think of "build" or "growth" we are apt to conceive
of these in very personal terms.
We, so often, approach this matter of establishment and growth within the framework
- Oh, that I may grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ!
- Oh, that I may arrive at spirituality!
- Oh, that I may be built up and made strong!
of ourselves as individuals.
But this is only partially true.
We must grow individually, and we must be built up personally.
Yet, according to the Scriptures, when the thought of building or growing is under consideration,
it is far more than personal; it is additionally corporate in nature and in purpose.
We are all members one of another.
How are we going to grow?
Do we merely mature individually?
No! The whole body with all its members grows together towards a full grown man.
We grow relatedly, and we grow proportionally.
If it is purely on the individual plane, then suppose my hand wants to grow and it develops so rapidly
that it develops out of proportion to the rest of my body.
The effect would be grotesque.
Therefore, we must remember that the Scriptural concept of growth is also 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 growing together will be increasing all the time.
We must grow together in Christ that we may form the habitation of God, and that we may
truly be the body of Christ.
If we keep these thoughts in mind, it will help us to understand this song of degrees much better.
Here is an extremely important and very valuable lesson.
It is one that every Christian must learn if he wants to build and grow in Christ.
That lesson is: "Unless the Lord build the house, in vain do its workers labor in it."
If we desire to build, we must be certain that it is the Lord Himself who builds.
This sermon is by Dr. Harold L. White