Part 2 of Psalm 127 Bible study

In my previous post I shared some thoughts on Psalm 127. While reading that psalm, I remembered some things I learned from my instructor at Multnomah (School of the Bible) Bible College, Mr. David Needham. I signed up for some survey classes while my husband was attending full time and they offered the wives of students free classes at night. I was caring for little ones all day long and was even pregnant for a portion of those classes, but I sure learned some wonderful things! One of the classes was “Bible Perspectives” that took the class through a reading schedule of the entire Bible. The other class Mr. Needham taught was “Psalms”, which was a true blessing as well. During one of the classes, he had to stop teaching for a time to care for his health, and the class was taught by the Bible translator John Kohlenberger. He was a wealth of information and I learned a lot from him, too.

In the Psalms class, we learned about Hebrew poetry and how it isn’t like our Western culture poetry, with rhyming lines, but it features comparison and contrast oftentimes. This simple wikipedia entry gives some description of ancient Hebrew poetry.

So, in my reading of Psalm 127, it occurred to me that God is showing that though a person labors and toils for material gain, as in working for a living, their REAL payment, salary, wages they should look to is their CHILDREN. The passage is not making a moral absolute about having LOTS of children. It’s getting our focus on the true things we ought to be investing our efforts and time in, though, I would recognize work is a fact of life and even non-believers work hard for gain.

In verse 5 it states “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” – KJV

The ESV states: “Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”

My contention with what was preached from the pulpit at the congregation I recently attended was that the preacher just HAD to quote Voddie Baucham on this passage. Voddie is opinionated and bases many of his arguments on logical fallacies and preferences, not to mention old, possibly quite skewed statistics that can be manipulated to mean anything (such as in his Centrality of the Home audio link). I won’t forget how he chastised and basically accused Sarah Palin of sinning for running for public office in an interview he had on some national news program. He disregarded the considerate statements of the woman interviewed who held opposing viewpoints. He’s just a bully, I think, and that’s my opinion. 🙂

The quote I have from this sermon that quotes Voddie is this:

“So does scripture say that children are a blessing or a burden? A blessing, okay. In our economy we may think one .. and a half .. is good. [laughter] The statistics. As many as the Lord gives you is good. If He gives you one — praise the Lord. If He gives you ten — praise the Lord. It’s how many the Lord gives you, and maybe He gives you one and you adopt three. I don’t know, but it’s the Lord and He’s the one you need to be asking ….
… “You know, in Voddie Baucham’s new book, What He Needs to be if He Wants to Marry My Daughter, he said this about the translation in verse 5 where it says, the one that I gave you, it says, “Happy is the man who HAS his quiver full of them.” If you read the ESV, it says “Happy is the man who FILLS his quiver with them” The difference between ACTIVELY FILLING your quiver and PASSIVELY FILLING your quiver, ‘kay? So, I would agree with Voddie; actually, I agree with the Word of God. We should be pursuing building families for the glory of the Kingdom of God, not for ourselves. And God’s the planner; He will bring it about.”

This statement,“The difference between ACTIVELY FILLING your quiver and PASSIVELY FILLING your quiver, ‘kay? So, I would agree with Voddie; actually, I agree with the Word of God” — this is a form of subtle group manipulation, though the preacher probably did NOT intend to do this. This is a definite tactic for making the audience have to make a choice between what they may be questioning about the passage in their minds and taking some guy named Voddie’s so-called “expert” opinion on the passage — which I find agenda-driven. It essentially tells the listener that agreeing with Voddie’s and this preacher’s message is equal to believing and agreeing with the Bible or God’s way. Anything that the listener may think on their own about the passage that differs from the preacher’s and Voddie’s interpretation on such a matter not pertaining to the Gospel would be considered going against God. My conscience won’t allow me to let this pass without careful consideration.

So, in my quiet time of study of this passage, before I even listened to this sermon, I found some wonderful things. The term “happy” is found on Blueletterbible.com:

Happy:
‘esher

1) happiness, blessedness
a) often used as interjection
b) blessed are

So “happy” is also translated as “blessed”. The one thing interesting about this term in Psalm 127 is that I only found this one verse (vs. 5) that states that a person/man is blessed by having children. The rest of the verses in the Bible have much more to do with being blessed because of our relationship to God and His forgiving of our sins, and great spiritual blessings. There are 26 verses in the Old Testament that refer to being “blessed” and 22 verses in the New Testament. Only verse 5 of Psalm 127 uses the term “blessed” regarding having children.

Am I against children? Absolutely not! I am FOR, however, glorifying God in even my understanding of His Word. Look at what Jesus told us in the sermon on the Mount of Olives:

Matt 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Mat 5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Mat 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Mat 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Mat 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Mat 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Mat 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Mat 11:6 “And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
Mat 13:16 “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.

Psalm 84:4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah

Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.

What Jesus said to a woman who praised His mother:

As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 10:27-28

Which reminds me of this important verse:

GALATIANS 4:27 For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.”

Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.

Galatians is refuting the Judiazing that was going on. It’s not the observing of laws that saves us, but we are children of the free woman, of faith and not of the flesh. Not born by the will of man, but by God. So, whatever we think we can boast in, even in the good things in life like family, children, whatever — we have nothing to boast in but Christ Himself.

Isaiah 54:1 “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord.

Isaiah 54:17 “no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord .”

In my understanding of Psalm 127, this Hebrew poetry of Comparing/Contrasting the ideas of looking at material gain versus the “happiness” state of enjoying the children God has given a person, it is not a “filling our quiver like a good measure shaken down” mandate, like the “be fruitful and multiply” command or blessing God gave Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It seems to be more of a contemplative thing. It was most likely written by King David to his son, King Solomon.

There is NO NO NO indication that it’s a mandate to have no restriction on children. Sorry to tell you, guys; women have been “having headaches” when you’ve ticked us off or whatnot for thousands of years. If that’s not putting the “kibosh” on a man’s desire to fill “his” quiver, than I don’t know what is. All kidding aside, there are some couples who are adamant in the belief that all forms of birth control are an affront, to some extent, to God on His “be fruitful and multiply” command/blessing. I would respectfully disagree with their interpretation of Scripture, and point to Jesus’ own commission to His disciples, to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. Literally, “as you are going”, in the Greek, preach His wonderful message of salvation. It changes lives, and compels us to seek Him and His righteousness, and His Kingdom.

I’ve got more to share in an upcoming post.

Part 1

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7 Responses to “Part 2 of Psalm 127 Bible study”

  1. Psalm 127 fresh Bible study « Kate’s Chosen Says:

    […] Chosen Living the Good Life – Ephesians 1 « God sent His Word and healed us Part 2 of Psalm 127 Bible study […]

  2. Marinela Says:

    Lovely article 🙂

  3. Kathleen Says:

    I just want to clarify something about this:

    “So, in my reading of Psalm 127, it occurred to me that God is showing that though a person labors and toils for material gain, as in working for a living, their REAL payment, salary, wages they should look to is their CHILDREN.”

    Again, what if a person does not have children? Does that leave them without reward or blessing from God? I think we need to look at what Jesus said about who is blessed.

  4. Corrie Says:

    Kathleen, thanks for your insightful article. This was great and it takes into account the whole of Scripture and exposes agenda-driven preaching.

  5. Kathleen Says:

    Corrie,

    I have the deepest respect and admiration for families who are raising many children. When I was growing up, there were so many varieties of that going on with my friends’ families — step children, adopted, twins, “adopted” cousins, and so on. This biblical “be fruitful mandate” is just so amazing to me.

    I loved the concept and the feelings of pregnancy. I also loved the special feeling of having a new life inside me. There is NOTHING like it! Holding a newborn and looking into her/his eyes for the first time is life changing. I would have kept getting pregnant if it were not for the mercies of the Lord. My marriage was not always as strong as it is now, either.

    Thank the Lord my husband and I together made the decision to protect my life, and to prevent any more children coming into the world with such painful and debilitating conditions. I have met those who would have judged me for stopping my fertility, and I’ve had to be so careful in what I’ve said. The mentality oftentimes has been that if I would only have enough faith, I could still be obedient to the Genesis “be fruitful” mandate and let God decide how many children I should have.

    Taking that idea to its logical conclusion, I should never have to take insulin, because when God allowed me to have diabetes at the age of 12, it was by His design, so therefore, I should not go against his design. I’m very fertile, so that was the conundrum I found myself in: by the biblical “mandates”, I should not restrict getting pregnant, while my OBGYN’s said otherwise because of pregnancy’s effect on me and my babies. Thank Jesus the doctors were much, much more gracious with me and did not lay guilt on me about her condition than some “be fruitful mandate” people are in their speech when the dr’s diagnosed me in my 5th month with my daughter with her heart defect. She also had a twisted intestine, which caused her many problems/surgeries, too.

    When discussing Biblical passages, I try hard not to insert pragmatism into my arguments, though. Jesus walks with us, and some things are to be spiritually discerned.

    I really think it’s all about the context in this passage. It’s like missing the forest for the trees. I am trying to be focused on the One Who brought the trees into existence.

  6. Kathleen Says:

    The Genesis passage of “be fruitful and multiply” was given to Adam and Eve, the first parents. Jesus never told his disciples to breed disciples. He told them, and consequently, if the Gospel is going to be preached in all the world — to us He also says, “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation (esv) (every creature, KJV).”

    ———-

    A Little Study on the word “BLESSED”:

    Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

    Psalm 2 Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

    Psalm 32:1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

    Psalm 32:2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

    Psalm 33:12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord , the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

    Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

    Psalm 40:4 Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!

    Psalm 41:1 Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him;

    Psalm 65:4 Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!

    Psalm 84:4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah

    Psalm 84:5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

    Psalm 84:12 O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!

    Psalm 89:15 Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord , in the light of your face,

    Psalm 94:12 Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord , and whom you teach out of your law,

    Psalm 106:3 Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!
    ———-
    ————–

    Psalm 112:1 Praise the Lord ! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord , who greatly delights in his commandments!

    Expand on these thoughts:

    Psalm 119:1 Aleph Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord !

    *******!!!!!! SEE HIS COMMANDMENT
    JOHN 13:34-35
    34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
    *****!!!!!!

    Psalm 119:2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart,

    ———
    ——-

    ONE VERSE ABOUT CHILDREN
    Psalm 127:5 Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

    Psalm 128:1 A Song of Ascents. Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord , who walks in his ways!

    Psalm 137:9 Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!

    Psalm 144:15 Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall! Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord !

    Psalm 146:5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God,

    Prov. 13:3 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding,

    Prov. 14:21 Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.

    Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.
    ———

    New Testament:
    Matt 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    Mat 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
    Mat 5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
    Mat 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
    Mat 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
    Mat 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
    Mat 5:9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
    Mat 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    Mat 5:11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
    Mat 11:6 “And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
    Mat 13:16 “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.

    Mat 16:17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

    Mat 24:46 “Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.

    SPEAKING OF JESUS:
    Luke 1:42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!

    Luk 6:20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
    Luk 6:21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
    Luk 6:22 “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!
    Luk 7:23 “And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
    Luk 10:23 Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!

    As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” Luke 10:27
    ——–

    JESUS CORRECTED HER:
    Luk 11:28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
    ———–

    Luk 23:29 “For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’
    ———————

    Which reminds me of this important verse:

    GALATIANS 4:27 For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband.”

    Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.

    ———–

    Galatians is refuting the Judiazing that was going on. It’s not the observing of laws that saves us, but we are children of the free woman, of faith and not of the flesh. Not born by the will of man, but by God. So, whatever we think we can boast in, even in the good things in life like family, children, whatever — we have nothing to boast in but Christ Himself.

    Isaiah 54:1 “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord

    Isaiah 54:17 “no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication [fn] from me, declares the Lord .”

    ————————————
    ————————————-

    If the focus in the congregation or people’s minds is on being “FULL QUIVER” and fruitful with having babies, and more is better — than there is a danger of falling into an error and focus that takes us away from the Gospel:

    For example, Paul refutes the ones who are living by the flesh in Philippians 3, after he argued that if ANYONE had reason to boast in his flesh it would be him, since he was a Pharisee of Pharisees …etc. He then describes those who walk as enemies of the cross — the only thing (Christ’s death) that paid for our sins, and justifies us before God.

    Phil. 3:18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. (19) Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

    IN THE VINES CONCORDANCE, THE WORD FOR “belly” IS DESCRIBED AS THE “womb”!

    from koilos, “hollow” (Lat., coelum, “heaven,” is connected), denotes the entire physical cavity, but most frequently was used to denote “the womb.”

    IN THE STRONGS CONCORDANCE, IT HAS THESE ENTRIES TO OFFER:

    1) the whole belly, the entire cavity
    a) the upper [i.e. stomach] and the lower belly are distinguished
    2) the lower belly, the lower region, the receptacle of the excrement
    3) the gullet
    a) to be given up to the pleasures of the palate, to gluttony
    4) the womb, the place where the foetus is conceived and nourished until birth
    a) of the uterus of animals
    5) the innermost part of a man, the soul, heart as the seat of thought, feeling, choice

    ————-

    Anything that keeps us focused on “earthly things”, whether it’s just filling our desires, appetites for food, things, even a desire to have more and more children, because MORE is BETTER — is to mind earthly things. We need to be about the Gospel.

  7. Part 3 of Psalm 127 Bible Study « Kate’s Chosen Says:

    […] Part 3 of Psalm 127 Bible Study By Kathleen Continuing from the first two posts on what I found in the Bible about children and being blessed, I present my comment here where I posted the rest of my findings. […]

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