Songs of Family Strength
Maybe it doesn't sound very spiritual, but some aspects of family living can be a grind! Rearing a household of busy children, maintaining good communication, living unselfishly with others day in and day out under the same roof, remaining positive and affirming, dealing with strong wills, and handling some of the other domestic challenges can be a first-class chore! Hats off to all who do their very best. To set the record straight, it is worth all the effort. Someday, parents, those children will "rise up and call you blessed." Don't count on it too soon; I said someday! I am pleased to discover, therefore, that the ancient songs in God's eternal hymnal do not omit words of encouragement for families.
Periodically, we come across psalms that fit together, forming a unit or a progression of thought. This is true of Psalms 22, 23, and 24. It is also true of Psalms 90 and 91 as well as Psalms 111 and 112. One psalm sets the stage, we might say, while the next resolves the drama.
This is precisely what we find in Psalms 127 and 128. Both have to do with life in the home. They are domestic psalms. How do we know? Look at 127:1. The opening lines refer to the building of the house. Then 127:3–5 mentions children. The third verse of Psalm 128 pictures the wife, the home, and children again, and Psalm 128:6 even traces the progression of time to one's grandchildren. If you think upon this theme, you also observe the psalmist's idea of national strength being connected to the strong family unit in Psalm 128:5. A nation remains only as strong as its families. A crumbling family life is one of the signs of a crumbling culture.
Evangelist Billy Graham, in his book World Aflame, writes discerning yet serious words concerning America:
The immutable law of sowing and reaping has held sway. We are now the hapless possessors of moral depravity, and we seek in vain for a cure. The tares of indulgence have overgrown the wheat of moral restraint. Our homes have suffered. Divorce has grown to epidemic proportions. When the morals of society are upset, the family is the first to suffer. The home is the basic unit of our society, and a nation is only as strong as her homes. The breaking up of a home does not often make headlines, but it eats like termites at the structure of the nation.1
As I mentioned earlier, these two psalms form a progression. They remind me of a historical mural that wraps its way around a room, depicting a progressive story. The progression carries us from the inception of a home all the way through to the blessings of later years. Let me suggest a simple outline:
- Inception of the Home (127:1–2)
- Children Born within the Home (127:3–5)
- Leading the Home (128:1–3)
- Blessings of Later Years beyond the Home (128:4–6)
Billy Graham, World Aflame (New York: Pocket Books, 1967), 19.
Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the Daily Grind (Brentwood, Tenn.: Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., 2012). Copyright © 2012 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved. Used by permission.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.