“Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain… Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!” (Psalm 127:1, 3-5a)
The Bible reminds us repeatedly that God blesses Christians with everything we have in this life, for our good and his glory. (See Ecclesiastes 8:12; Ezra 8:22b; Romans 8:28.) When we delight in the love of Christ, we are under his care and benefit from his providence (Matthew 6:25-33). Those who reject this wisdom will build their homes and families in vain, with no lasting impact on anyone, like a wisp of smoke that disappears quickly. Or, God may choose to defeat our efforts entirely when we base our lives on opposing him, as he did with the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). God may even deny some of us children, as his perfect providence for us. This psalm may have been written for Solomon by his father, David. Since it is considered a wisdom psalm, in the same style as Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, and the heading reads, “Of Solomon” in most translations, it is equally likely that Solomon penned Psalm 127. If so, reading that children are a blessing, we are struck by the fact that Solomon with all his wives, had only one son that we know of—Rehoboam. (1) God’s providence and provisions are always best, whether or not they are a consequence for our failings in faith. As a childless, unmarried Christian I have abundant thanksgiving for the Lord’s plan for my life.
Establishing our lives and families in God’s kingdom, for his glory, results in spiritual blessings and rewards. Families are meant to be appreciated as a “heritage” or legacy of our lives. Even those of us who are childless are born into a family that is meant to be a blessing to us, and us to them. All believers have an even more significant, eternal spiritual family of brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and children in Christ, united by his Spirit. Matthew Henry has this insightful commentary about Psalm 127: “Children who are young, may be directed to God’s glory, and the service of their generation; but when they are gone into the world, they are arrows out of the hand, it is too late to direct them then. But these arrows in the hand too often prove arrows in the heart, a grief to godly parents. Yet, if trained according to God’s word, they generally prove the best defense in declining years, remembering their obligations to their parents, and taking care of them in old age.” (2)
Raising a family is no easy job, and requires a lot of prayer, work, attentiveness, and strength on the part of parents, and sometimes grandparents. Psalm 127 does not preclude all the activities of parenting but directs us to depend upon God for our priorities, planning, decisions, reactions, and teaching. It is not “Let go and let God,” which never appears in the Bible. But unfortunately, many Christians disassociate family activities with teaching from God’s Word or family prayer and devotions. Yet how else will children learn that this is a vital part of growing up in a Christian home? The Lord directs us, but we are the ones who must train our young people in godly habits, attitudes, and biblical truths so that they learn to rely on God, whom they know and love, for their direction, building, and planning.
“All earthly comforts are uncertain, but the Lord will assuredly comfort and bless those who serve him; and those who seek the conversion of sinners, will find that their spiritual children are their joy and crown in the day of Jesus Christ.” Do you know how blessed you are by your biological and spiritual “children?” (3) Will you diligently direct them to the Lord?
(1) Henry, Matthew, Concise Commentary on Psalm 127, https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-concise/psalms/127.html