The Covenant Family (2): Children as Olive Plants
Psalms 128 - A Song of Ascents. How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways. 128:2 When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, You will be happy and it will be well with you. 128:3 Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine Within your house, Your children like olive plants Around your table. 128:4 Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed Who fears the LORD. 128:5 The LORD bless you from Zion, And may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. 128:6 Indeed, may you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!
We have finished our three-part Spring Training: faith is the victory (1), anxiety is defeat (2), and hungering for God (3). Now in the current series I am addressing “The Covenant Family.” Last week we looked at Eph. 5 on Marriage (1). We saw that a godly husband parallels Christ in all of Church history in maturing, beautifying and finally glorifying the Bride. And secondly that a godly wife shows the beauty of the whole story of redemption. Since we cannot accomplish this ourselves, we are driven to deeper faith, freedom from our fears, and desire for God. This week we will consider our covenant children. In this series please consider your family as an arena for the application your Lenten Spring Training. Practice faith, liberation from anxiety and spiritual hunger with and in the context of your family. These three disciplines are “Apps for Lent.”
Family Cursing - In the contemporary context our culture is evidently experiencing family cursing result of our disobedience. We want to have blessing and prosperity individualistically and in isolation from Zion (worship) and the community of the people of God. We want blessing without thinking in a long-term way. The critical need is to see our children as olive plants which produce oil and fruit and to realize this happens in the community of God’s people. Psalm 128 addresses this directly.
The Structure of Psalm 128
A. The blessing of the God-fearing man.
B. The fruit of your labor.
C. The fruit of your wife.
D. The fruit of your children.
A’. Thus the blessing of the God-fearing man.
B’. The blessing from Zion.
C’. The blessing in Jerusalem.
D’. The blessing by children’s children. Peace.
Family Blessing - The Covenant Word gives us hope for blessing, prosperity and a great heritage. The primary responsibility is “fearing the Lord.” Fearing the Lord requires our three Lenten disciplines: faith, overcoming misplaced fears (anxiety) and ultimately desiring God. By such rightly placed “fear” we have wisdom, leading to reaping blessings for faithfulness in our labor (v2) and fruitfulness in our marriages (v3a) and with our children (v3b). Psalm 128 culminates in the faith-community’s blessing. We receive blessing “from Zion” (v5a) which refers specifically to the Tabernacle of David location, a place of restored worship prefiguring new covenant worship (in the presence of the Lord with all nations). We will see the “prosperity” blessing “of Jerusalem,” the community (v5b) over the long-term (“all the days of your life”). Finally, the blessing is conveyed in the blessing of multi-generational faithfulness to “children’s children” (v6). The Psalm ends with a summary benediction. “Peace be upon Israel!”
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more