Today’s Lectio Divina: Psalm 128. (MsgB)
A Pilgrim Song.
All you who fear God, how blessed you are! How happily you walk on His smooth straight road! You worked hard and deserve all you’ve got coming. Enjoy the blessing! Revel in the goodness!
Your wife will bear children as a vine bears grapes, your household lush as a vineyard,
The children around your table as fresh and promising as young olive shoots.
Stand in awe of God’s Yes. Oh, how He blesses the one who fears God!
Enjoy the good life in Jerusalem every day of your life.
And enjoy your grandchildren. Peace to Israel!
It’s so interesting to read the ancient writings of God-fearing societies long gone. As I ponder today’s Song of Ascent, I’m intrigued how our brothers and sisters of 3,000 years ago perceived the rich blessings of the Lord.
Without a doubt, to the God-fearing man living during the time of King David, the gift of a faithful, loving wife with big bunches of children and grandchildren surrounding his table was that surest sign that the blessings of Yahweh were upon his life.
Hmm. How times have changed.
Today, we receive and perceive God’s blessings in different ways, don’t we? As I write today’s blog, I’m sitting in the beautiful suburbs of a fast-growing metropolis here in the Midwest. A good friend of mine has invited Sandy and me to join him and his family at their home for a few days. I’m sipping iced coffee on the expansive patio of our friend’s $350,000 home, overlooking an elegant neighborhood where $750,000 homes are the norm. Across the spacious lawn of my friend’s house, a new home is being constructed that is so large I’m thinking it could easily house two or three families if need be!
Ahhh yes. The blessings of God indeed are rich!
Now, please. Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not criticizing the surroundings where my friend lives. Nor am I judging my friend for having a nice home like he does. He has worked hard over the years and he certainly has every right to use the money he has earned. But here’s the rub.
In twenty-first century America, we generally believe that those who are blessed of God are those who live like my good friend. He, without a doubt, is a fellow believer in Jesus. Most of the families who live in my friend’s neighborhood are Christians as well. Many attend the 7,000-member mega-church located a mile or two down the boulevard. The campus of this church is massive. Located at the center of the grounds is a brick and steel facility that would make the Crystal Cathedral blush.
Isn’t God good?
So forgive me if I’m sounding judgmental here. I’m truly not wanting to do that. But I do want to point out the obvious. Isn’t it sad how we Christians living in the twenty-first century, myself included, can so easily replace the rich blessings of God-given family with the blessings of God-given possessions? American Christians enamored with stuff instead of being blessed through relationships? Piling up toys instead of storing up love?
As I see it, the men and women who feared God in times past just may have the advantage on us living today. Even Americans living one hundred years ago would have seen God’s blessings differently than the way we do.
Maybe this perspective where stuff trumps relationships is reversible? Maybe a few of us living in the land of the Almighty Dollar might decide that we’d rather value family again versus accumulating more toys? Maybe there’s a church or two out there across the fruited plain of America who might forsake the blessings of bigger buildings and choose instead to become a place where housing the presence of God is more important than anything else?
Who knows? Maybe this is just the pipe-dream of some old, cynical dude who has sipped too much iced-coffee as he gazes at over-the-top homes built for America’s common man.
I guess time will tell.
My prayer: Father, I long for the return of days when the rich blessings of God were perceived as blessings of family instead of accumulation of possessions. Spirit, restore back to this generation the simple blessings spoken of by the Psalmist of old. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: What might my life look like if I decided to re-evaluate the way my generation perceives the rich blessings of God? What would it take for me and my church to re-align ourselves to these ancient blessings where loving family relationships stand at the top of the list when ranking the blessings of our Loving Father?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Contemplative Activist network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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