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Psalm 128: Blessed

 June 18, 2020

When asked what was necessary for happiness, Freud didn’t go on a long philosophical discourse. He said “Love and work… work and love, that’s all there is.” He may very well have been referring to Psalm 128.

Psalm 128

Another wisdom psalm, Psalm 128’s focus, like Psalm 127, is that happiness comes from fear of the Lord—reverence or awe before our God. “Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways!” (1) And how does the psalmist define blessed? Love and work.

It’s a simple formula, rooted in the everyday. “You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.” (2) Happiness comes from work and enjoying the benefits that come from work, food to eat, a place to live. And it comes from love, from family, “Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Lo, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.” (3-4)

There is one more aspect to this blessedness for the Hebrew nation—their country will prosper, “May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!” (5b) And finally, they will see their family line continue to the next generation, “May you see your children’s children!” (6a)

What Constitutes Blessedness?

You’ve worked hard and deserve all you’ve got coming,” is the translation of verse 2 of Psalm 128 in The Message. It sounds like the theme song for some seniors in our country. We feel we have worked hard all of our life and now deserve to reap the benefits of that labor. Maybe so.

But who are the ones that are truly blessed in this life? What constitutes blessedness? Work, love and community, Psalm 128 tells us. Blessed are we who have enough to eat, a home to live in, a community that we are part of, meaningful work, and people to share our blessings with us. Blessed are we who walk in God’s ways.

Despite any difficulties I encounter along the way, I consider myself blessed. What about you?


This post is part of a series of blog posts on the Psalms. Sign up to follow this blog and and receive a free copy of  Still Dancingthe second book in my Dancing through Life Series.      click here to sign up

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