1 If the Lord doesn’t build the house,
the builders are working for nothing.
If the Lord doesn’t guard the city,
the guards are watching for nothing.
2 It is no use for you to get up early
and stay up late working for a living.
The Lord gives sleep to those he loves. (NCV)
Sometimes age has its advantages. For instance, once I turn 62 I can get a National Parks Service pass for $10 that will let me visit any National Park for the rest of my life. I can get into movies cheaper once I turn 60. I can eat off the Senior Menu at Denny’s once I turn 55! Age has also brought me some wisdom in my walk with the Lord. I wish I could say I learned it as easily as I learned about the discounts that I can take advantage of as I age. Mostly I learned it through the “school of hard knocks.”
The years I have spent walking with Him have taught me God is sovereign in everything and needs to be included in everything we do or else we toil in vain. These verses remind us of this fact. The “house” referred to here is a metaphorical house, I believe it is referring to our lives. These verses are warning us that we need to include God in our homes, our cities, and our jobs–every area of our lives. Otherwise we are going through the motions for nothing.
I did not become a Christian until later in life. I made all the mistakes you could possibly make and saw what life is like when I tried living life without Jesus as my focus. The Lord was not part of my household and all the years spent building a family were like building a house on sand—when the storm came, our “house” got swept away (Matt. 7:26-27). But God . . . I love that there is a “But God” in the story of my life . . . changed all that. Through trials He taught me the importance of letting Him build my house. He is my strong foundation, my solid Rock. He watches over me and guards me. Only that which He allows comes my way. We have had some “bops to the head” moments over the years as I do not always learn His lessons the first time, but He is a patient God.
I also spent a lot of time working at a job but got nothing but frustration—and a lot of lost sleep. I was trying to impress my boss and gain significance from my job. I brought work home, missed spending time with my family. Over time, God has taught me my significance comes from him, that I can rest in Him, and trust Him to provide for me. If I look to Him to help set my priorities, I get a much better night’s sleep. The verse says that He gives sleep to those He loves and I know He loves me.
Lord, you have taught me some hard lessons over the years. But I have gained wisdom from my mistakes. I thank you for your everlasting love, your patience, your mercy, and your guidance. I thank you for being the rock, the solid foundation for us to build upon. I thank you that you keep diligent guard and protect us. I thank you for the rest we get when we trust you are sovereign and in control of our lives. You are our Prince of Peace, Jesus! Amen