The Word Made Fresh
(A song of ascent. Of Solomon.)
1If the LORD doesn’t build the house,
those who build it are wasting their time.
And if the LORD doesn’t guard the city,
the guards are posted needlessly.
2There is no reward in getting up early and going to bed late,
anxiously working to keep bread on the table.
Those who know they are loved by God sleep peacefully.
3Children are our heritage from the LORD –
a newborn baby is a reward from God.
4The children born to us when we are young
are like arrows in an archer’s hands.
5Those who have a quiver filled with them rejoice,
and are never afraid when they are confronted
by enemies at the gate.
Superscription: the 8th of the “songs of ascent.” This is also one of the two psalms ascribed to Solomon – the other being Psalm 72.
1-5: It’s easy to see why scribes thought it fitting to affix Solomon’s name to this psalm because he was, after all, the king who built the temple in Jerusalem and established the worship customs of the Jews for centuries to come. The theology of the psalm is basic to Judaism and Christianity: any human undertaking should be undergirded with prayer and with seeking the will of God. The reference to the importance of having many children is in keeping with the culture of the time – a large family was a blessing from God.
Making a habit of lifting up in prayer any undertaking we engage in is a powerful way to keep God at the center of our lives.