A Song of Ascent

Psalm 127 is one of the Psalms that are called “A Song of Ascent.” There are fifteen of these Psalms, corresponding to the fifteen steps that the Levi ascended to the Temple. One Psalm, tradition states, is said on each step in the processional up to the Temple.

Unless the Lord builds a house,
its builders labor over it in vain;
unless the Lord watches over a city,
the watchman stays alert in vain.
In vain you get up early and stay up late,
working hard to have enough food —
yes, He gives sleep to the one He loves.
Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,
children, a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the sons born in one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them.
Such men will never be put to shame
when they speak with their enemies at the city gate.

“A number of commentators explain this Psalm as a poem David composed upon being informed that his son Shelomo, rather than he, would be given the privilege of building the Bet Ha’mikdash. In the first two verses, David declares that it is God, not man, who determines when a building will arise. Regardless of how hard the laborers toil or how carefully the watchmen guard the building site, the project will materialize only with the direct assistance and support of the Almighty. David here accepts God’s decree forbidding him from building the Mikdash, recognizing that if God does not wish for him to build it then even if he would try the endeavor would assuredly fail.

“In the Psalm’s final verses (3-5), David turns his attention to the great blessing of children, whom he compares to “arrows in the hands of the mighty warrior” (verse 4). A warrior’s most valuable asset is effective weaponry; for a religiously conscientious Jew, the greatest commodity and blessing is children who follow the Torah traditions that he received from his parents. David thus expresses his gratitude for the fact that his son would perpetuate his legacy and heritage. Although he desired to personally oversee the building of the Mikdash, he found solace in the fact that he leaves behind a son faithful to his teachings, and who will fulfill Am Yisrael’s collective dream of having in their midst an abode for the Shechina (Divine Presence).” —Daily Tehillim

Matthew Henry comments: “Let us always look to God’s providence. In all the affairs and business of a family we must depend upon his blessing.
1. For raising a family. If God be not acknowledged, we have no reason to expect his blessing; and the best- laid plans fail, unless he crowns them with success.
2. For the safety of a family or a city. Except the Lord keep the city, the watchmen, though they neither slumber nor sleep, wake but in vain; mischief may break out, which even early discoveries may not be able to prevent.
3. For enriching a family. Some are so eager upon the world, that they are continually full of care, which makes their comforts bitter, and their lives a burden. All this is to get money; but all in vain, except God prosper them:while those who love the Lord, using due diligence in their lawful callings, and casting all their care upon him, have needful success, without uneasiness or vexation. Our care must be to keep ourselves in the love of God; then we may be easy, whether we have little or much of this world. But we must use the proper means very diligently.

“Children are God’s gifts, a heritage, and a reward; and are to be accounted blessings, and not burdens:he who sends mouths, will send meat, if we trust in him. They are a great support and defense to a family. Children who are young, may be directed aright to the mark, God’s glory, and the service of their generation; but when they are gone into the world, they are arrows out of the hand, it is too late to direct them then. But these arrows in the hand too often prove arrows in the heart, a grief to godly parents. Yet, if trained according to God’s word, they generally prove the best defense in declining years, remembering their obligations to their parents, and taking care of them in old age. All earthly comforts are uncertain, but the Lord will assuredly comfort and bless those who serve him; and those who seek the conversion of sinners, will find that their spiritual children are their joy and crown in the day of Jesus Christ.”

While there is some overlap in the thinking behind the commentaries, I also see a perspective that differs substantially. It illustrates my own thinking that Christianity has diverged from Judaism, going its own way, leaving behind a wealth of tradition AND a wealth of accompanied understanding. Judaism, on the other had, is stuck with tradition and its understanding. Without the Christian perspective of Y’shuaJesus as the Messiah, Judaism of today is doomed to simply wait. Judaism waits until G-d enables their minds to understand the Messiah Who came, Who is spoken of in Isaiah 53, is the suffering Messiah, is the same Messiah Christians have come to accept, and Who shall come again as the Conquering Messiah.

One Messiah. Two perspectives. Each perspective lacks something, however. Slowly this is changing for some people. Unfortunately it seems the “church” as a whole pulls away from Y’shuaJeus and His truth. As Psalm 127 points out, a building can not be built without G-d. And certainly the “church” tries in vain to build itself. Preachers gather pupils who listen to every word, but miss The Word, because the preachers so often preach from their own agenda, their own “gospel.”

Gentiles were allowed to have a taste of the Shechina, the Divine Presence, of G-d. But the Time of the Gentiles are coming to and end. The “church” has melted its gold and is forming a golden calve to worship. Soon, I believe, All the Shechina of our Lord with come to bear upon the Jewish people, and their eyes shall be opened that they might know Y’shuaJesus as Lord, as Messiah.

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