Scripture: Psalm 128
Key verses: (1-6)
1 Happy is everyone who fears the LORD,
who walks in his ways.
2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be happy, and it shall go well with you.
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
4 Thus shall the man be blessed
who fears the LORD.
5 The LORD bless you from Zion.
May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
6 May you see your children’s children.
Peace be upon Israel!
Reflection: Reading this psalm, it sounds like prosperity and blessings come to people of faith. Like a contract. Fear God, walk in the ways of God and you shall be happy. The basic idea of this prosperity theology is that God rewards Christians that are good, kind and faithful. It is a theology we often teach our children. It is an easy theology. Under this theology, bad things should not happen and when they do all kinds of questions are asked about God.
As Presbyterians, in the reformed faith, this is not our theology. We do strive to be good and kind. As people of faith, we ask hard questions about God, faith and life. However, we do not expect to be blessed or to prosper.
We expect transformation.
We yearn to be changed because of God’s presence in our lives. To be honest, we probably fear it a little bit too. I wonder if that is what the psalmist is talking about when they talk about fearing God. It is easy to stay where we are and we have no idea where God is going to take us. We have great trust in our God, we stand on a solid hope but there is a healthy dash of fear that comes with faith. Transformation is life-changing.
When theology says that God brings prosperity and blessings it becomes hard to deal with the regular pain of life. Our theology reminds us that God walks with us in the good and bad of life. We read this in Romans 8, in the promise that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing. I’d say that is a pretty amazing blessing.
Prayer: God, thank you for being in every corner of our lives. The good, the bad and every ordinary thing in between. Amen.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].