11 June, 2017

Psalm 127:3-5—“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward”

Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 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 (Ps. 127:1-5).

Children are a heritage or reward from the Lord. Unbelievers have children, and so this fact serves (or so it is thought) as evidence that God blesses unbelievers, as well as believers—and therefore proof of “common grace.” It is often pointed out that the verse states children are a heritage of the Lord “without qualification” (i.e. the verse, as it stands, does not explicitly state “to the elect only”—therefore, it is often asserted, we must take this text in the absolute sense—i.e. to everybody without exception).


Rev. Angus Stewart

The question is, children are a blessing, heritage, and a reward to whom? Which children are a blessing? Was Absalom a blessing to David? Was Judas a blessing to his parents? Were Judas’s children a blessing to him? Just read Psalm 109:9-15.

Psalm 127 and Psalm 128 explain the truth about children as a blessing. Godly children are a blessing to godly parents. How often is this truth not mentioned in the book of Proverbs?

For an extensive exposition of the truth of children as “arrows” (v. 4) and as a blessing, and to whom they are a blessing, click on the link below to listen to an audio-sermon on this text:

Excerpt (Transcribed):

… [children] who are ungodly, born to unbelieving parents are not a sign of God’s love and favour to those parents, because the Scripture teaches in Proverbs 3:33 that “the curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked”—and in every room in that house: in the kitchen, in the living room, in your own bedroom and the bedroom of your children, wherever you may be. [This is because] mankind is fearful of God, wicked, wretched, and God visits law-breaking with His curse.

The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, “but He blesseth the habitation of the just.” Believers have children, some of whom do not believe, and perish, and break our hearts. These children of believers—our physical seed—they are not “arrows” either. Esau was not an “arrow” to Isaac and Rebekah. We read that he was “a grief of mind to them” (Gen. 26:35). They prayed, they wept, but he brought nothing but sorrow and misery to his godly parents. Think of godly king David: Amnon, one of his sons, was a rapist—he wasn’t an “arrow.” Absalom—another of his sons—killed his half-brother Amnon (i.e. fratricide) in the royal palace. Neither of these two sons of David were “arrows.”

What we are dealing with [in this passage] are the elect children of believers. They are the ones called “arrows” in the text. This is the perspective of Psalm 127: its dealing with the children of believers from the “organic” viewpoint—i.e. from the perspective of God’s election.



Matthew Poole (1624-1679)

[Source: Comm. on Ps. 127:3]

And although God give children and other outward comforts to ungodly men in the way of common providence, yet he gives them only to his people as favours, and in the way of promise and covenant.



More to come! (DV)

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