Ep.268: Psalm 128: Straight and Narrow.

Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.

Psalm 128 says:  

   Blessed are all who fear the Lord,
      who walk in obedience to him.
  You will eat the fruit of your labor;
      blessings and prosperity will be yours.
  Your wife will be like a fruitful vine. . .
  Your children like olive shoots
        round your table 

Two comments on this passage. 

First, the good life God gives to those who fear him is not wealth nor success nor power. The poet describes the good life as a life of sufficiency, not excess, as a domestic life enjoying the fruits of one’s labor, as a life at peace with one’s spouse and children. It’s a stretch to suggest that today, God’s blessing and prosperity should include a big car, a big house, a big bank account, and a vacation cottage. 

My second comment is about the fear of the Lord. What does it mean to fear God?

Recently, I hiked to Sarrail Ridge in the Rockies. On a 6-kilometer trek, we gained one kilometer of elevation. Standing on the Sarrail Ridge, looking down a steep, rock-strewn cliff to the lake a kilometer below, I got that queasy feeling of vertigo, and stepped back from the edge. Then we sat on a rock overlooking the cliff, munching potato chips and sandwiches, enjoying the view.  

The hike reminds me of my walk with God, mostly trudging uphill, avoiding roots and rocks, stepping over fallen trees, trying not to slip on shale and gravel. Occasionally the path winds past a serene mountain lake or through a rippling stream. Gravity is present on the journey, ready to pull me to the ground if I stumble, quick to dump me over a cliff if I give way to vertigo. On the journey, I am careful, but not fearful. 

God is always with me, just 10155like gravity, but my response to him is not fear of his power and punishments. God is present in the air I breathe and the world I live in. He gives me freedom to act, he encourages me as I take each step in life, in relationships, in work, or rest. If I run afoul of his laws of spiritual gravity, if I consistently ignore or wander from his path, I will experience consequences. But God’s attitude to me is father and friend and guide, encourage. He gives me his Spirit, he leads me through his high country, he picks me up when I stumble. 

Let’s pray. 

Our father, creator, as you built the universe with a strong force of gravity, so you created human life for true morality. Help us to walk in love you and our neighbors. May the gravity of that task not weigh us down and crush us, but may it show us the way to go. May we experience it, as Frances Havergal wrote:
  The narrow track upon the mountain side,
  With ever-widening view, and freshening air,
  And honeyed heather. . . 
        from Frances Ridley Havergal, “The Two Paths,” Christian Classics Ethereal Library.
        Accessed 27 August 2021. https://ccel.org/ccel/havergal/keptuse.h5.html  

We fear displeasing you, father, we fear to incur your anger. But we trust that you are for us, not against us. Walk with us through this life, correct us where we are wrong, encourage us to do right. We are not fearful children, but trusting. 


I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”. 

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