(Psalm 127:1-2 ESV) 1 Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. 2 It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Have you ever eaten moldy bread? I remember preaching a sermon a few years ago about the bread of life. In the sermon, I told a story about how I made a sandwich with moldy bread. Of course, I was not aware that the bread was moldy; I just didn’t see it because the mold was turned to the inside of the sandwich. Even though I could not see it, I almost gagged on the hairy texture of the mold. Needless to say, the experience left a bad impression and removed any desire to eat sandwiches for a while.
Psalm 127 describes a different type of nasty bread. It is the bread of anxious toil. The King James version calls it “the bread of sorrows.” The NIV speaks of “toiling for food to eat,” while the NLT simply describes the process of “anxiously working for food to eat.” The bottom line? We can get caught in a cycle of working with great anxiety just to provide the basic necessities of life.
Do you ever feel like that? In our society, it seems impossible to catch up; much less, get ahead. We work endlessly just to pay the bills. And this is true of every area of our lives; relationships, careers, house work, child rearing, etc. Our schedules stay full with things that steal our joy.
It would benefit us to consider the wise words of Solomon that remind us of some very important details.
- God is the builder of the house. He has a plan for each of our lives. We experience our greatest joys when we align our lives with His purpose. To try to build anything different than our Creator has in mind is vain labor and will not produce anything but nasty bread.
- God watches over the city. Just like God keeps His eyes upon the city, He watches over you and me. He never slumbers or sleeps. He is always aware of every detail. Why then, should I “stay awake” to worry about the things He is guarding?
- He gives His beloved sleep. Solomon knew the negative power of stress and reminds us that rising up early and going to bed late only produces nasty bread. Instead, rest in the fact that God is directing your path and rewarding your trust with divine favor. When you trust Him you will sleep better, and therefore, counteract stress.
If given the choice to eat fresh bread or nasty bread, I will choose the fresh bread every time! Likewise, when considering the spiritual, I want to make choices that will eliminate the nasty, and instead, produce the tasty morsels of godly favor. How about you?
PRAYER: I’m hungry for the good things you have prepared for me. Build my house; watch over and guard me through the seasons of life; help me to rest in the assurance that You have good intentions to bless me abundantly. Amen.