Unless the Lord builds a house,
its builders labor over it in vain;
unless the Lord watches over a city,
the watchman stays alert in vain.
In vain you get up early and stay up late,
working hard to have enough foodPsalm 127
You moved across the country to start a new job. A dear friend has wronged you. Your husband has cancer. Your child is rushed to the hospital.
In the scary and difficult situations of life we know we must look to God for help. God is big and sovereign and exactly what we need to face the daunting challenges and bitter disappointments of life. And when God pulls us through and gets us safely to the other side we are more than ready to give him the praise he deserves.
But what about the ordinary, everyday grind of life. Do we reach out for God’s help as we groggily wake up from a fitful night of sleep? Do we think God is particularly concerned about our response when things don’t go as planned on the construction site? Does the fact that we can fill the grocery buggy fill us with thanksgiving?
Psalm 127 reminds us that God doesn’t just show up to fight our big battles and then leave us to sort out the rest of life on our own. He is not only concerned with the broad, weighty issues of faith, salvation, and the like, but he is also concerned with how we live the small, routine moments of life. How we build our house, how we do our job, how we schedule our day – these things matter to God. And they are the things in which we are prone to forget God.
In the monotony of the ordinary it is easy to forget God’s perspective and purposes. In the daily grind of a busy schedule it easy to fall into the trap of relying on ourselves. We rise early, we work late hours, we sweat and labour and save and plan, and then all of a sudden we find ourselves far from God. We discover that it is not enough to allot a day or a few evenings to God, and attempt to run on our own strength the rest of the week. Faith cannot be partitioned off into the “spiritual” side of life.
Psalm 127 reminds us of this and calls us to do everything to the glory of God. That phrase, “to the glory of God”, has became cliché and it is easy to pay lip service to it while never understanding what it looks like in practice. Essentially, it means running everything we do and say through the filter of God’s glory – What is pleasing to God? What makes him more known and more famous in the world?
God is sovereign over every square inch of his creation, and so he is equally sovereign over square inch of our lives. Our building, our dreaming, our working, our sleeping, it all fertile ground for growing in faith and giving glory to God. We just have to learn to see it.