“Happy is everyone who fears the LORD,
who walks in his ways.”
~Psalm 128:1 (NRSV).
“Very odd, what happens in a world without children’s voices.”
~Miriam Karlin, in Children of Men (2006).
Children of Men (2006) is a graphic portrayal of the hopelessness humankind might likely suffer if there was ever a protracted infertility. Imagine for a moment what it would be like if there were no babies, no children.
Many millions also go to Tarot card readers or have their palms read and such like. They merely express with their feet, as they walk into private tents, what everyone is curious about... they’re asking: “How will my life turn out?” Amongst other things.
This psalm is fabulous in that it begins with the verse profiled above — one that describes the general state of the true God-follower — and then succeeds with five more verses describing the blessings in tow. The psalm helps the reader have hope that their destiny is assured; that there is hope for the future, and that their family will grow.
Happy AND “Fearing” – What Does That Mean? (Verse 1)
Appreciate that the ‘fear of the Lord’ is a reverence for God, not a scared type of fear. In this, we daren’t disobey for we know in wisdom that it’s not wise to disobey the commands, will or leading of God.
The general premise is installing this ‘fear’ (which is nothing like anything else on this earth — as it is centralised worship of One Being) means many good things will be added... many blessings which God will choose and we’ll accept.
Blessings Received or Not Received (Verses 2-6)
I know many people who’ve not been blessed with children who’ve also followed God so diligently. What is this psalm saying for these people?
There is no question that in the original context the greatest blessings — apart from knowing God — were to possess land and have fruitful families. Not much might’ve changed.
But it contends well for us to consider that having fruitful families was connected quite centrally as a national blessing — something the whole nation of
Blessings and curses can appear indiscriminate. In faith, we can see our blessings, however.
It’s important to remember that though these verses sound like promises, they aren’t really. They’re generalisations. If they were one hundred percent assured there would no need for faith.
The General Idea
This psalm is commending the general idea of cause and effect, which is the wisdom of God as life turns out. We do one thing and this generally attracts another thing.
We will be ‘happy’ when we fear the Lord and walk in his ways. Added to us will be a blessed life, which is a reality that is revealed to us one day at a time.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.