June 1, 2024


Ps. 127, 1

A song of ascents by King Solomon. “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.”


Dear Reader,


today's stamp from Germany shows happy children playing and building a house. “Children matter” is printed on the right-hand edge of the stamp. This means that children are a natural part of life. Because our children are building our future society. Our children will decide what our society will look like “tomorrow”. Today's children will shape the face of tomorrow's society.


This is nothing new. Solomon, the son of King David, already knew this principle. He experienced it himself. His father David wanted to build a house for his God. But God clearly said “No!” to his plans. And God told David: “You have shed much blood and waged wars. That's why you can't build me a house. There is blood on your hands. But your son Solomon shall build me a house. He is a man of peace.” (You can read this story in 1 Chronicles 22). This is why Solomon built the temple for God after the death of his father David. David was allowed to find the temple site, but only his son Solomon was allowed to have the temple constructed. 


Solomon was a wise man. His insight is: “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who try to build it, labor in vain.” This truth is often forgotten. Very often people make plans according to their own ideas and try to put them into practice with a lot of energy. This can certainly lead to success in the short term, but it can also lead to failure and worry. 


Christians rightly ask God to bless their plans. But not just at the end of all their plans and ideas, but before they even start working. As we pray and ask in the “Lord's Prayer”, we should first ask for God's will. We should first place our plans and wishes in God's hands and wait to see whether he gives his YES to them. He will answer when we ask.


God clearly said “no” to David to build the house. But Solomon was commissioned to realize his father's plans. God blessed the building of the temple. That was God's plan. God had commissioned Solomon, not David, to build a house for him. Solomon then did this with great zeal. God's plan was fulfilled through Solomon.


Solomon's song of pilgrimage, the 127th Psalm, begins with this thought-provoking sentence. And some time ago, I was even able to discover this biblical wisdom during a walk through a small medieval town. There were these old words written on the wall of a beautiful half-timbered house: 


“Where God does not give his favor to the house, everyone labors in vain. The fear of the Lord gives abundant peace and salvation.”


I thought that's a short but important sermon on the wall of a house. Everyone who walks by the house and reads these sentences should think about it. If we build our house of life with God, then we are blessed people. If we let God decide today what our “tomorrow” should look like, then we are blessed people. In his goodness, God will give us what we need to build both our houses of life and faith. We can then also experience what Solomon's father David said in the 23rd Psalm:


“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.”


Thank you very much for listening to me. I cordially invite you to the next devotion on June 15. Until then, I wish you God's blessing and protection in spirit, soul, and body through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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© 2023 Hans-Peter Nann