Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.
Wise King Solomon sets up a priority list in this psalm. The first suggested priority is God—the solid foundation of any life (see Matthew 7:24-27; 1 Corinthians 3:10-12; 1 Peter 5:10). Families establish homes and watchmen guard cities, but according to this psalm, these activities are futile unless God is involved. A family without God can never experience the spiritual bond God brings to relationships. A city without God will crumble from evil and corruption on the inside. Don’t make the mistake of leaving God out of your life—if you do, all your accomplishments will be futile. Make God your highest priority, and let him do the building.
Next on the priority list comes the family. In some sad cases, children are seen as liabilities rather than assets. But the Bible calls children “a gift from the LORD.” Raising children is an honor. We can learn valuable lessons from their inquisitive minds and trusting spirits. Those who view children as a distraction or nuisance should instead be encouraged to see children as an opportunity to shape the future. We dare not treat children as an inconvenience when God values them so highly.
God is not against human effort. Hard work honors God (Proverbs 31:10-29). But working to the exclusion of rest or to the neglect of family may be a cover-up for an inability to trust God to provide for our needs. We all need adequate rest and times of spiritual refreshment. Prayerfully evaluate your schedule. Be careful to maintain a balance: work while trusting God, and also rest while trusting him.