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God the Builder of the Home
He who undertakes to build up a home without God fails and fails dismally. The first requisite in the building of the home is character, and the final purpose of every true home is the strengthening and development of character. Let us consider the practical bearing of this thought of the home as a school of character.
I. The first necessity is surely a frank recognition of the Divinity of the home. The division of secular and sacred is misleading in almost all its applications; nothing is secular but that which is enfeebling, ugly, sinful; everything which has a legitimate function in life should be viewed by Christian people as sacred, and the scenes of all such activities should be holy places. You read the report of a gathering held in some church or chapel, and the newspaper informs you that the 'sacred edifice' was well filled. Now whilst for my own part I fully understand and sympathize with the deep and often superstitious veneration even of the wood and stone that has been long associated with the prayer and praise of devout people, I find a deeper truth in the view of Puritanism that every place in which reverence is paid to God, and duty performed in fellowship with Him, becomes thereby sacred. Convention would scarcely permit the reporter to describe your house as a 'sacred edifice,' but it ought to be that, and the sense of its holiness ought to grow on you year by year as the Divine meaning of the home becomes clearer.
II. The acknowledgment of God in the home is the basis of all true culture of souls, and the secret of the best type of home influence. And in speaking of the 'culture of souls' and of 'home influence' it is well to remind you that such words do not refer merely to the influence of parents upon children; the earliest pupils in the school of the home are the husband and wife themselves. They are at once pupils and teachers, each learning from the other, each instructing the other.
III. In the presence of the most solemn of all life's tasks, the training of children, how momentous is the significance of our text! The religious destiny of the rising generation is largely, under God, within the power of the parents. What do our children acquire in our homes? Maxims of commonplace morality, or the sense of God as a near and warm friend? To believe in the grandeur of your children's possibilities, fathers and mothers, to believe that even in childhood they may acquire the God-regarding habit; how great a matter is this, and what dignity and worth it would impart to their characters! The Lord builds our homes that our labour be not in vain! He will. He does. The very word 'home' thrills us; it comes to us laden with the sacred associations of many faithful generations; and by His grace shall we not covenant with Him and with one another in high resolve to make home life yet more joyous and Divine?
References. CXXVII. 1. J. S. Bartlett, Sermons, p. 198. C. J. Vaughan, Memorials of Harrow Sundays, p. 1. C. D. Bell, The Name Above Every Name, p. 232. J. Baldwin Brown, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxiii. p. 103. CXXVII. 1-3. J. Bowstead, Practical Sermons, vol. i. p. 129.
The Gift of Sleep
The Psalmist is warning against that overwork which so surely degenerates into worry. He is picturing the man who overdrives himself until he has no leisure and no liberty. Remember that the Psalmist never dreamed of casting a slur upon honest, manly labour. What was borne in upon his soul was this: that by overtoil we lose more than we gain, for many of the richest gifts of heaven only approach us as by the path of slumber.
I. Let me consider that thought, thinking first of the blessings of our infancy. There is a world of love encompassing an infant, yet how unconscious the babe is of it all. Not alone in the land beyond the river is a place prepared for every one God loves. When into this present life a child awakes, hearts have been busy with the preparation; it is clad and fed, and sheltered from the storm. Yet who more passive than that little infant? Helpless it lies, and doomed to certain death if life depended upon its puny efforts. But 'God giveth to His beloved sleep'.
II. Our text has a great depth of meaning when we think upon the influences that play upon youth. Mightier influences than any teacher wields are being wielded beyond the class-room walls; in the loving intercourse of home there is progressing a deeper education than has ever been dreamed of in the standards. Its lesson book is not the printed page; it is the happy companionship of boyhood. Yet how absolutely and utterly unconscious is the youth of the blessings which are ingathering on him so, and which are to make him rich through all the years.
III. Our text has large significance in regard to the pursuit of happiness. The only sure way to miss the gift of happiness is to rise early and sit up late for it. The way to be happy is not to toil for happiness. It is to be awake to what is higher and fall asleep to that, and then as the day goes on, comes the discovery that 'God giveth to His beloved in sleep'.
G. H. Morrison, The Wings of the Morning, p. 24.
References. CXXVII. 2. H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 1666, p. 367. J. T. Stannard, The Divine Humanity, p. 125. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. i. No. 12. C. J. Vaughan, Memorials of Harrow Sundays, p. 1. CXXVII. 3. W. Braden, Christian World Pulpit, vol. vii. p. 369. CXXVII. 3-5. H. W. Beecher, Ibid. vol. ix. p. 323. CXXVII. International Critical Commentary, vol. ii. p. 457.
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Psalms 127". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19