Let the Lord be the Builder
House, city, and family are the subjects of this Psalm: three very important features of life for an ancient Israelite and for us too.
The Psalm is a reminder that these significant features of life are not finally secured by human effort, anxiety, or hard work. They are in the end the blessing of God.
The fact of the God-given nature of these things is not a call to abandon appropriate effort in these areas of life. Rather, what is called for is the attitude and actions expressed in the words of St. Paul; “Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4)
We all have enough experience of life to know how fertile each of these areas can be for tension, sadness, and conflict. The child of God looks to the Hand of a gracious Father for his goodness to be displayed in every situation.
The seventeenth century French Mystic Madam Guyon was a champion of grace and of prayer. The latter, she saw, as the only way to grow in God and in grace. “I became”, she said, “deeply assured of what the prophet hath said, “except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” “When I looked to thee, O my Lord, thou wast my faithful keeper; thou didst continually defend my heart against all kinds of enemies. But, alas! When left to myself. I was all weakness.”
Madam Guyon’s reflection speaks for any work we undertake. It needs to be done in dependence upon God. Any keeping of our lives that is to meet the variety of life’s challenges is alone the protection that God offers to those who look to Him.