11/16/M – Labor in Vain

1 Kings 6:14-38; Acts 7:30-43; Psalms 127:1-2; Proverbs 27:21-22

Psalms: “Unless the Lord builds a house, its builders labor over it in vain; unless the Lord watches over a city, the watchman stays alert in vain. In vain you get up early and stay up late, working hard to have enough food — yes, he gives sleep to the one he loves.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭127:1-2‬ ‭CSB)

1 Kings documented that Solomon wrote hundreds of psalms. Only a few are actually included in the book of Psalms. This is one of them. It is also a song of ascents. Solomon was the king that oversaw the building of the first temple. He also built a lot of other things: palaces… places of worship for foreign gods. He knew first-hand what it was like to build something by God’s grace and what it meant to build something that was not graced by God. God created mankind with a will… and that will is quite strong. A lot can be accomplished through mere will power. But if your building and protecting has nothing to do with what God is building and protecting, then your building and protecting, ultimately, is in vain. However, if you are partnering with the Lord’s projects and your will (instead of being set on your agenda) is set on obeying whatever God is calling you to do, your efforts will be fueled by God’s grace – and even in the midst of the work, there will be rest.

Proverbs: “As a crucible refines silver, and a smelter refines gold, so a person should refine his praise.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭27:21‬ ‭CSB)

During the refining process, gold and silver are heated to the point of melting so that all of the impurities will float to the service and can be removed. Similarly, trials and tribulations cause the impurities in our lives to come to the surface so that they can be dealt with and removed… impurities like selfish agendas, aversions to authority, impatience, hard-heartedness, etc. As we allow our impurities to be removed through the refining process of our Heavenly Father, our hearts become more and more devoted to the things of the Lord and our praise becomes more and more pure.

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