“Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.” Ps 128:1-2
The walk is illustrative of a progressive relationship. By using a metaphor of walking to represent our relationship with God, the psalm is emphasizing progression, direction, and destination. Every walk transverses territory. Every walk takes a direction and thus excludes other directions. Every walk takes us somewhere, or has a goal in mind. Our relationship with God is a walk from where we are to where He wants to take us. It involves progression, direction, and a destination.
This progressive relationship is by nature first inward and then outward. The nature of the journey is conceived in the heart, translated to the mind, and transferred to the feet. While it begins inwardly, progress is not made until this desire to travel is transferred to those old dogs! Conversely, directionless feet demonstrate an aimless heart. Those who allow their feet to decide where they are being taken are thus because they have no real direction in their heart.
This should never be the lot of God’s People! Our relationship with the Almighty provides us with progression, direction, and a destination. The nature of this journey is conceived in our heart when we come to know the Lord Jesus through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit.
Inward Reverence - Outward Conduct
“Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.” Ps 128:1
Of course we understand “fear” to mean godly reverence. We do not fear God in the way we fear calamitous events. We fear God in the sense that we hold Him in awe and acknowledge His rightful position in our life. In this sense, fear or godly reverence is an inward quality.
Then the outward expression of that reverence of God is expressed in the progressive relationship referred to by the metaphor of a walk. Again the purpose, direction, and destination of a walk must first be conceived in the heart. What we have expressed in verse one is an inward reverence of the Almighty that results in a progressive relationship demonstrated in our outward living. This is an inside-out dynamic.
Allow me to develop this thought a little more. The cycle is inward reverence producing outward conduct. The inverse of this process never adds up to the same product. Stated another way, an outside-in relationship will not produce inward reverence of the Almighty. Forced conformity to outward conduct will not result in godly reverence in the heart. This is such an extremely simple concept but indeed one that is largely overlooked by many seeking to enhance their personal reputation through a harsh approach to godly living.
Does this mean that a standard of conduct should never be enforced? Absolutely not! But never should the goal of said “enforcement” be to enhance the reputation of the enforcer or to develop godly fear in the believer! This is because in the first case, the fear of man and peer pressure becomes a snare unto itself. In the second case, the believer having a standard of conduct forced upon them without the reverence of God inside will only conform to earn approval from men and thus not draw closer to God. Outward conformity never produces inward reverence. Godly living must spring from an inward love and reverence for our awesome God!
But let’s return to the text of verse one. There is a blessing upon those who have an inward reverence of God. This godly fear causes them to conform their lifestyle to whose ways? In whose ways will those who have godly fear walk? They will walk in God’s ways.
God’s ways are far more universal than are His commandments, or His statutes, or His judgments. God’s commandments relate to His moral law. God’s statutes relate to His ceremonial law. God’s judgments relate to His civil law. God is concerned with how we live, how we worship, and how we treat others. And yet, God’s ways are a thread that runs throughout the moral, ceremonial, and civil law. God’s ways are analogous to God’s nature. God’s ways are what they are because God is what He is.
God’s ways are on display in everything that He communicates to man. And so a man who possesses an inward reverence of God will seek to behave in a way compatible with God in every aspect of his life! Again, this is an inside-out lifestyle that cannot be achieved through outside-in discipline.
As we prepare for worship, let us remember the following different areas of blessing that are conferred upon us as a result of our relationship with the Lord:
Areas of Blessing
“For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.” Ps 128:2-3
A) Fruit of His Labor
The aimless are seldom able to enjoy the fruit of their labor. That is because they seldom stay plugged in long enough to experience the full cycle of sowing and reaping. The aimless are always starting but never finishing.
Being able to enjoy the fruit of a faithful and fruitful life is one of the blessings of walking in God’s ways. In fact, to have the product of one’s labors devoured by strangers is seen over and over in the Bible as the curse of unfaithfulness.
Any system or philosophy that denies the application of God’s immutable law of sowing and reaping is immoral! The concept of property ownership is not a product of capitalism, but it is an intrinsic characteristic of God’s ways. Men have long sought to avoid this immutable concept that is simply an expression of God’s nature.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Gal 6:7
Galatians 6:7 is both a promise and a threat. As we prepare to worship God, let us remember how walking in God’s ways benefit us in so many ways.
“…godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” 1 Tim 4:8
B) The Blessing of Married Life
“Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house…” Ps 128:3
Of course, the genders in this psalm are in no way meant to be exclusive. The point is that the blessings of godliness extend to the most important relationships in life - spouse and children. In a marriage where both parties walk in God’s ways, there will be fruitfulness in the marriage. In this type of marriage, you partner will be like…
A fruitful vine growing right beside the home. There is no need to travel outside the home to see the fruit of a godly lifestyle. Just reach out the window and pick some grapes from the fruitful vine that surrounds the godly home.
Let me ask, you wouldn’t reach outside the window and pull down part of the wall of your house, would you? There are some who tear down their own house. They do this by tearing down their spouse. You cannot tear down your marriage partner without tearing down your own home.
C) Blessing of Children
“…thy children like olive plants round about thy table.” Ps 128:3
I have learned one thing about olive plants from this verse - olive plants are always hungry! If my children around the table are like olive plants, then those olive plants are some more hungry dudes!
To the Hebrew, olive trees were a source of cheerfulness and strength. The blessings of children raised in the home of the godly are immense. They are a source of cheerfulness and strength.
“The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.” Ps 128:5
When we have an inside-out relationship with God and His blessings flow to us from the inside out as well. Zion was regarded as God’s earthly dwelling place, where the temple was located and the presence of God dwelt in a special way. Jerusalem was the city of God and the capital of God’s kingdom. God’s blessings flow out of Zion and He enables us to see the prosperity of His Kingdom all our days.
The blessings of God originate from His presence and flow outward to every aspect of our lives. Those blessings allow His kingdom to expand both in our lives and through our lives. The blessings of God come through the indwelling of the Almighty in our spirit and those blessings flow outward.
“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;” Eph 3:16
There are a thousand blessings that come our way when we fear God and walk in His ways. Fearing God is internal and expresses an inner reverence for the Lord. Walking in His ways is external and expresses a way of life that portrays God’s character.
God’s ways transcend His law. God’s ways are more an expression of His nature and His character. Walking in God’s ways is always a result of a relationship with God that transcends law.
© 2008 Nevin Bass. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced for the purpose of resale without written permission.