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Unless the Lord Builds the House

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Unless the Lord is part of you buidling your family, then your work means nothing

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Unless the Lord Builds the House

Introduction: Several years ago I was blessed to serve as a board member, building a retirement center, which would include an Alzheimer care unit. I was excited! The President of the project used this verse in verse 1 as the mantra for seeing the project through to completion.
He could speak from personal experience because he had tried to build his own house so to speak, only without the Lord. It fell apart. So, for this project he was determined to let the Lord build it.
However, it wasn’t long before dissection grew within the ranks and people were saying he wasn’t doing a good job; a sister care center was biding for the same funds; sales reps started pointing fingers at one another. Before you knew it, the Lord didn’t appear to be in it. I was called to another ministry and went off the board. The last I heard was that the project never did see its final completion. The land was sold and in the end there was a nice development that went in as a result of the work that had previously been done.
Today we want to look at these verse in and see what happens when the Lord isn’t in the building of a house and when he is: the Blessings he gives to us.
This a a Psalm that King Solomon wrote. He also wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes. In it he writes.
Ecclesiastes 2:20 NIV
So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun.

What happens if the Lord is not in it?

Your motives become misplaced

We say we are working for our family; to provide for them; to give them things we may not have had. We work for a nicer house, a newer car, a few toys to play with on the weekend at the lake; special vacations or event. It isn’t that God doesn’t want us to enjoy these things, it’s just that if the Lord is not the one helping you build your house, then all these things become gods and God is left out of our personal life, our finances, our relationships. Before we know it, life has passed us by and we come to the end of our life and ask, “What was it all for?” Why did I work so hare and put in so many long hours? Did i really enjoy my family? Did I really enjoy my time on earth with God and others? All good questions to ponder!

Your priorities become distorted

God does not give us a specific time to start our day or to end our day. If you enjoy the fruitful labor of life, working 12 hours days, and are managing our household well, then great.
However, be careful and take into consideration verse 2 “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat.”
The more our motives have been misplaced, the greater the potential is for our priorities to become distorted. Instead of taking time with family, we seem to be working more and more hours. Our conversation with our spouse and kids become less intentional and focused.
Instead of taking the time to help your child learn how to color or ride a bike, or throw a football or baseball, we seem to be on the run giving them a token of our time.
We forget to take our spouse out on a date night. We seem to pour more money into things that we think will make us happy instead of learning to be content with what we have.
All this leads to greater anxiety. Before we know it, we have two properties to take care of, two property taxes; more wear and tare on our vehicles for the distance traveled, fixing our toys, less time actually enjoying family time. How many of you are anxious at this point? Well, that’s what happens… Anxiety creeps in...
You become anxious.
Worry sets in and you begin to doubt yourself. Fear sets in and you begin to wonder if anything you do is of value. You seem to have less money, even though your making more than you use to. It seems like the bottom line gets smaller and smaller with each passing year and you wonder, has it been worth it all. Solomon would say it is meaningless. It all seems meaningless.
But what happens when the Lord is in?
HE says also in verse 2 “”he grants sleep to those he loves.
John Piper writes “Be diligent as God may lead and eat the bread you earn, but fret not over what you need and let not worry burn.” For this we can turn to

Blessed when the Lord is in it

Revelation 14:13 NIV
Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”
Those who rest in the Lord, their deeds will follow them. They will have been productive in raising their family and taking care of them. They will have learned contentment in all things. They will have experienced peace.
Paul wrote …
1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
Unless God is with you, you may never finish building your house. Remember the story of the tower of Babel in . They built, but God was not in it, and so they labored in vain and did not complete what they started.
Unless the Lord builds your house, your house becomes weak and stands a good chance of collapse. A house collapses because it does not have a good foundation. In the New Testament Jesus tells the parable of the wise and foolish man. “The foolish man built his house upon the sand, and the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against the house, and it fell and great was its fall.
But the one who build his house upon the rock… a solid foundation, the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against the house but it did not fall, it remained strong.
Unless the Lord builds your house you could die before you really get to enjoy it. Remember the story of the rich man in who said he needed to build more barns for his grain. God said, “You fool! this very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” It is always important to remember that God is the provider of all our means and needs. He is the one who gives us the skills to do what we do, the wisdom to know what to day, and the strength to complete it.
Unless the Lord build your house it could become a tragedy. Before you know it your marriage is on the rocks, your children are rebellious… all this takes place among an abundance of things.
It appears to me, that no matter how much we work or how successful we may become, unless the Lord build the house, all is in vain.
For just a moment, let’s look at the church. Unless the Lord builds the house, he who labors, labors in vain. It isn’t based on who the Pastor is… It is based on who the people are. It isn’t based one what others do…It’s based on what you do…It isn’t faith in your own efforts…It’s faith in the Work of the Holy Spirit working in you and through you and others. Unless the Lord Builds the house, he who labors, labors in vain.
But we come back to the blessing. In verse 2 as we mentioned earlier… The Lord grants sleep to those he loves and children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame.”
When we know our motives and priorities are based on God’s calling and principles, we will sleep well.
Ecclesiastes 2:24–26 NIV
A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Children are a heritage - They are given to be taken care of!
Psalm 128:2–3 NIV
You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
Psalm 128:
When we trust God and let him build the house, he will make it plain to us. It may not be what we might think, but it will be better than we can imagine.
Yes, it is true, not every family is given the blessing of having their own children. I’m not going to pretend that this is an easy position to be in or to know what it feels like.
One of the great things that I have seen happen throughout the years are families who have adopted children or families who make others children their own through ministry.
Their names were Milton and Martha Pfaff. No one knows for certain whether or not they could not have children or whether they chose not to. But what they did in ministering to others children had a tremendous impact upon the Kingdom of God. They chose to take a group of college age young people and created a college and career group where many people found the Lord; found their spouse; pursued ministry; grew in their faith. In the churches that I served in SD i can think of at least seven couples who grew into families where the influence of Milton and Martha shaped them and gave them the necessary fortitude to take bold steps for Christ as husband and wife.
In verse 4 we read “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born into ones you.”
When a warrior selected arrows for the hunt, he made sure they were straight and had the piercing edge on them to do the job.
When we become parents it it imperative that we lead our children in the way of the Lord, help them to know how to do life and make life count, not just in a materialistic word, but in a spiritual world. Think in terms of path… How can I help them grow and follow the path God has for them?
When we rest in God, He can do more for us and our children while we sleep than if we try to do everything for them. While we are awake, our anxiety can easily grow, but when we rest, we learn to leave it all in the hands of God.
John Piper asks this question:
Sermons from John Piper (1980–1989) Don’t Eat the Bread of Anxious Toil

Have you ever wondered why God made us in such a way that we have to sleep away a third of our lives? God could have designed a human being that was always fresh and rested and needed no sleep. Why did he decree that sleep be part of human experience? I’ll give you my opinion. He wanted to give a universal reminder to the human race that we are but children and ought to own up to it. We are so frail that we have to become helpless and unconscious and blind and weak every day in order to live at all. Sleep is a terribly humbling experience. We are never more weak, never more childlike than when we sleep in faith. And has not God said, “My power is made perfect in weakness”! And, “Unless you turn and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of God.”

If God’s power is made perfect in our weakness, then surely we may believe this psalm that when we hand over our anxieties to God and lay our heads down in peace, God works with all his might through the night on our behalf.

The great test of faith is to believe that when we can see only a bleak outcome to some situation and no good coming of it, yet the sovereign God can and will bring out of nowhere, as it were, a turn of events or attitudes that brings great blessing. And he can do it while we sleep! Beware lest you try to interpret his work too hastily; it may not be what you expect and he may not be finished. William Cowper wrote a great hymn that has helped me a lot at this point.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense

But trust him for his grace,

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast

Unfolding every hour.

The bud may have a bitter taste

But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err

And scan his works in vain.

God is his own interpreter

And he will make it plain.

When we trust God and let him build the house, he will make it plain to us. It may not be what we might think, but it will be better than we can imagine.
I want to close with giving you a picture of what it means for God to give you rest in the midst of life and how resting in him cant take all your anxiety in life and turn it into something beautiful...
A week ago, we put our grandson to bed at our house and went down stairs to spend a little more time before we went to bed. When we went up stair, they he lay in the middle of the stair landing fast asleep. His lovey, as he calls it, and his paw patrol night light, held by his hands. He lay there so peacefully. it was a beautiful sight.
Remember when the disciples went out on the lake and a storm arose? Where was Jesus? Fast asleep. When they woke him Jesus said, Oh you of little faith. Then he calmed the storm.
Imagine if you would, you are filled with anxiety and concerns about your house… are you doing it right? what is the right thing to do? Imagine if you would, coming to Jesus and telling him your anxiety and fear. He says, come here. He sits down and says, Put your head here. So you lay your head in his lap and fall fast asleep.
That’s the blessing God wants to give you as you let him build your house. Your labors will not be in vain.
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