Big Idea: Everyone who fears and obeys the LORD can expect the LORD’s blessing: born in the soul, running through the life, and extending beyond the grave.

Introduction: A Song of Ascents. = This is a short psalm/song, which very well may have been sung by families and friends as the traveled from their homes and villages “up” to Jerusalem to celebrate at the religious festivals there.

I.          Blessing for those who fear and follow the LORD 1

 1 How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways.

A.        …who fears the LORD 1a

Fear = a type of constant attention and regard, marked by reverence.

B.        …who walks in His ways 1b

II.         Blessings described… 2-4

A.        Contentment in your hard work 2

2 When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, You will be happy and it will be well with you.

B.        Joy in marriage 3a

3 Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine Within your house,

  • Like a fruitful vine =
  • Literal:  a grape vine, the source of food, wine, shade/comfort, and medicine.
  • Metaphorical…
    • National joy and prosperity: Joel 3: 18 And it will come about in that day That the mountains will drip with sweet wine, And the hills will flow with milk, And all the brooks of Judah will flow with water; And a spring will go out from the house of the LORD, To water the valley of Shittim.
    • Personal contentment and comfort: 1 Kings 4:25 So Judah and Israel lived in safety, every man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.  Wine stands for harvest abundance at the end of a long, dry summer: It “gladdens the heart of man” (Psalm 104:15).
    • Marital joy: physical intimacy and joy:  Song of Solomon, John 2: 1-10, etc.
    • Such a wife described in detail:  Proverbs 31: 10ff = independent, free, equal, valued, possessing a public life, trusted partner.

C.         Delight in your children 3b-4

Your children like olive plants Around your table. 4 Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed Who fears the LORD.

  • Olive plants = food, fuel, wealth.  12 years from planting of the seed to first harvest year.  Lives for centuries, bearing fruit the whole time…

III.        Blessing Pronounced 5-6

A.        “May you receive God’s favor from heaven!” 5a

5 The LORD bless you from Zion,

  • The LORD bless you from Zion, = From (within) Zion = Both literal and symbolic meanings, but is clearly the place where God is, in heaven.

B.        “May you see the blessing of God on earth!” 5b

And may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.

C.        “May you leave a legacy!” 6a

6 Indeed, may you see your children’s children.

  • Indeed, may you see your children’s children.  = grandchildren.
  • This is about more than simply living a long life—it is about a legacy.

D.        “May you know peace/shalom!” 6b

Peace be upon Israel! = Peace be upon Israel! = shalom

Application to us at Grace Bible Church today:  The War Against Blessing… and the Way To Blessing

1.         The WAR against blessing: We often fight against the very blessing we crave.

A.        We want to enjoy the fruits of our hard work, but often become too busy working to enjoy what we earn!

B.        We want strong, healthy marriages, but are tempted to misuse or neglect our spouses.  Crooked views of Christian marriage—

  • The pragmatic model…marriage as a means to an end; to provide a strong partnership for gaining more wealth, success, etc., apart from relational desire and opportunity.
  • The religious model…marriage as a religious statement; existing in order to obey God’s “command” to be “fruitful and multiply” = having many, many children; pressuring wives to stay at home, not encouraging girls to excel and grow, but instead training them to treat males with a feigned, unhealthy deference. This model presumes that God’s “be fruitful and multiply” means, “Have lots and lots of babies!”
  • The hierarchical/patriarchal model…  Christian men dominating their wives and children, acting like “little lords” in their homes, denying the basic God-given independence and intelligence of their wives. (cf. Prov 31)

C.        Our unrealistic desires for perfect, well-behaved children can rob us of the simply, matchless enjoyment of our children.

2.         The WAY to blessing: how we can best allow God to do the wonderful things in our lives that we desire.

A.        Fear and obey the LORD as best you can.

B.        Learn to treasure the important things in life: your home, your marriage, and your children.

C.        Trust that your Father in heaven really does have good plans for you, your marriage, your family, and your future.

  • Rom 8   32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?