March 1, 2024

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THEY LABOUR IN VAIN THAT BUILDS WITHOUT GOD

IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.

TOPIC: THEY LABOUR IN VAIN THAT BUILDS WITHOUT GOD

COMPILED/EDITED BY:-
Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM

“Unless the LORD builds the house, they labour in vain who build it: unless the LORD keeps the city, the watchman only wakes in vain. {Psalm 127:1}

It was meet that the builder of the holy house should be remembered by the pilgrims to its sacred shrine. The title probably indicates that David wrote it for his wise son, in whom he so greatly rejoiced, and whose name Jedidiah, or “beloved of the Lord”, is introduced into the second verse. The spirit of his name, “Solomon, or peaceable”, breathes through the whole of this most charming song. If Solomon himself was the author, it comes fitly from him who reared the house of the Lord. Observe how in each of these songs the heart is fixed upon Jehovah only. Read the first verses of these Psalms, from Psalm 120 to the present song, and they run thus: “I cried unto the Lord”, “I will lift up mine eyes to the hills”, “Let us go unto the house of the Lord.” “Unto thee will I lift up mine eyes”, “If it had not been the Lord”, “They that trust in the Lord.” “When the Lord turned again the captivity.” The Lord and the Lord alone is thus lauded at each step of these songs of the ascents. O for a life whose every halting place shall suggest a new song unto the Lord!

Men desiring to build know that they must labour, and accordingly they put forth all their skill and strength; but let them remember that if Jehovah is not with them their designs will prove failures. So was it with the Babel builders; they said, “Go to, let us build us a city and a tower”; and the Lord returned their words into their own bosoms, saying, “Go to, let us go down and there confound their language.” In vain they toiled, for the Lord’s face was against them. When Solomon resolved to build a house for the Lord, matters were very different, for all things united under God to aid him in his great undertaking: even the heathen were at his beck and call that he might erect a temple for the Lord his God. In the same manner God blessed him in the erection of his own palace; for this verse evidently refers to all sorts of house building. Without God we are nothing.

During the summer of 1787, the Constitutional Convention of America was at a deadlock. For five weeks there had been a debate and a division concerning how each state should be represented. Should larger states with larger populations have more votes, or should each state have one vote, regardless of their size? Tempers flared and the division grew wider as each side strongly defended its position.

Then one day Benjamin Franklin addressed President Washington with these words –

“Mr. President…groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings?… I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that “except the Lord build, they labor in vain that build it.” [1]

God’s involvement in human affairs is sometimes referred to as His ‘providence.’ Providence is a reference to God watching over His creation with wisdom and care. God governs in the affairs of men. Perhaps there is no passage of scripture that states this more clearly than in Daniel chapter 2 –

Daniel 2:20:
“Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: 21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding.”

We need the blessing of God on our efforts.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” And second, our weakness is an occasion for the working of God’s power. The apostle Paul said, “I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).

The main idea here is that without God it’s not worth it, but when you give God the rightful place in your life, you can rest in his blessing.

Without God it’s not worth it. When you leave the Lord out of your life, all that you do is in vain. The word “vain” shows up three times in this psalm. It means something that has no value or worth. It is an empty achievement.

First of all, without God your work is in vain. Look at verse 1: “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” (Psalm 127:1) The psalmist warns against an attitude of self-sufficiency in these verses. God wants you to find blessing and fulfillment in your work, but it is not going to happen apart from him. Without God your work will be empty, frustrating, useless, in vain.

But, still, since it is our habit to speak of the ordinary affairs of life, it is necessary to say that, in all things to which we put our hand, we are expected to use all available means, and we are not allowed to be idle, and to sit still, and do nothing, because we say that we are trusting in providence. One of the things which Christianity cannot tolerate is laziness. The apostle Paul: writing to the Thessalonians, was inspired to pass a very sharp sentence on it: “This we commanded you, that if anyone would not work, neither should he eat,”—a sentence which would exterminate a great number of people who at the present time seem to flourish. If in business I am not diligent, I cannot expect to prosper. If I wish to be a man of learning, I cannot get it simply by praying for it; I must study, even to the weariness of the flesh. If a man is sick, he may trust in God as much as he wishes; that should be his first thing, but let him also use such remedies as God has given if he can find them, or learn of them from others.

So, in the ordinary affairs of life, my dear brethren, do not go and put your feet on the fender, and sit still, and say, “The Lord will provide,” because if you act so foolishly, very likely he will provide you with a place in the workhouse. If you go up and down the town with no profession, with your hands in your empty pockets, and say that you are trusting in God, God will give you the wages that you earn, namely poverty; he will clothe you with rags if you clothe yourself with idleness. If you will not serve him, you shall find the reward that comes to the man who wastes his Master’s talents by wrapping them in a napkin.

The same thing is true in the great matter of our salvation. Dear friends, it is quite true that God saves his people. “Salvation is from the Lord” from first to last, but no man is saved apart from his own believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. That faith is God’s gift, but it is man’s act. The Holy Spirit does not believe for us: what should he believe? No man is saved apart from repentance. Now, repentance is a work of the Spirit of God; but the Spirit of God does not repent: what does he to repent of? It is the man himself who must repent and believe. “If you do not believe, you shall die in your sins.” “Unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish.” Do not, therefore, any of you, sit; still, and dream about the predestination of God. Divine predestination is most blessedly true, it is the joy of my spirit; but do not turn it into a pillow for your idle head, and imagine that blessing will come to you when you are not looking for it. “Faith comes by hearing”; therefore hear most attentively and reverently the Word of God, and drink it in. And salvation comes by faith; therefore, what you hear of God’s Word, believe and accept simply, and with a childlike faith; and so you shall be saved. Please, do not fall into the idea that it does not matter where you are, or what you do, or how inattentive you are, or how careless you are about the things of God; it does matter. All these things are sins, and sins for which you shall be called to account. Oh, that the Spirit of God may lead you to adopt quite another line of conduct! “Search the Scriptures,” says our Lord, “for in them you think you have eternal life, and they are what testify of me.” May you often be found on your knees, for the Lord hears those who cry to him! May you be found confessing your sins, for “whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy!” May you be found believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, for there is no soul lost that casts itself at the foot of Christ’s cross! Do not, then, misread the text as though, either in common things or in the loftiest matter, we were to do nothing, and leave everything to God.

You need the master builder in building your life.
We are all building a life; and a major part of that life is spiritual.
It takes a lot of lumber, time and effort to build a house;
And so it is when building your spiritual house.
Some good advice to all here today would be to Live to make a life, not a living and in so doing make a life that is pleasing to God.
You might ask the question: How, how can I make life worth living and pleasing unto God?
It is simple really and the Apostle Paul summed it up quick nicely in
I Corinthians 10:31“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

SHALOM!

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