Psalm 127:3-5; 128:1-3
Solomon’s songs of the strong family, Psalms 127 and 128, contain an emphasis on leadership. Having considered the value of children (127:3–5), he examines the role of leadership in the home.
Leading the Home
How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD,
Who walks in His ways.
When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands,
You will be happy and it will be well with you.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
Within your house,
Your children like olive plants
Around your table. (128:1–3)
In Psalm 127, the arrows are in our hands, needing direction. As the songwriter continues his thoughts regarding the family in Psalm 128, he says that “everyone who fears the LORD” will be blessed or happy. The context is the family—specifically, the children God gives. As the progression continues from 127:3–5 to 128:1–2, we see how each arrow is to be carefully directed: 1) in the fear of the Lord, and 2) walking in His ways. You will notice, happiness will continue to be the surrounding atmosphere (“how blessed”).
Parents who train their children according to biblical principles have the hope of ultimate happiness. As a matter of fact, 128:2 says your investment will allow you to “eat of the fruit of your hands” and “it will be well with you.” The picture is, again, the hands (as it was in 127:4). Parents’ hands enjoy the product of their labor as they “pick the fruit” of the domestic garden they have cultivated. As submission is caught, obedience taught, and understanding sought, the dividends come rolling in!
Verse 3 is such a pleasant picture. The father looks around the supper table. He sees his wife (“a fruitful vine”) and children (“olive plants”). I notice that the children are not called “branches” but plants. This seems to emphasize that each offspring is independent, unique, one who will reproduce his own kind in later years. And the difference is also seen in that the mother is pictured as a vine, but the children as olive plants. This is a good and necessary distinction.
We as parents are unwise to assume that our children are put together exactly like we are. The father, for example, who is athletic has a strong tendency to want that same quality to emerge in his son, even to the point of forcing it. The same is true of a mother who is artistic. She persistently urges that talent in her daughter, but frequently that isn’t the daughter’s interest. Why? To answer with the songwriter’s symbols: we are vines, but our children are olive plants. However, regardless of a child’s talent (or lack of it), athletic ability (or lack of it), the training we give him or her must be that of spiritual instruction (“fear of the Lord”). A child must be directed toward faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and given an enormous amount of training in the principles of Scripture.
A child must be directed toward faith in Jesus and given constant training in the principles of Scripture.— Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This
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.