“May the LORD bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem, and may you live to see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel.” (Psalms 128:5–6 NIV)
It is not just about us and our family, but our prosperity is bound up with the bigger picture. God wants us to enjoy a ‘prosperous’ past and a ‘prosperous’ future “all the days of your life.” This does not mean we will always be well-off and without difficulty. It means that God can and will always be doing His work in us and through us if we continue to heed the lesson of verse 1,
“Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways.” (Psalms 128:1 NIV)
Holding on to these principles opens our hands to receive God’s blessing today and tomorrow. But what for us is the 21st century equivalent of ‘Jerusalem’?
The prosperity of God’s special possession must mean everything to us. It is something we walk towards and work towards. Like the Psalmist we have a destination,
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13–14 NIV)
Seeing as this is where we will end up, are we working and praying for the prosperity of the kingdom and the family of God? Are we donating money, time, energy and our gifts to the needs of the kingdom? What is the state of our devotion to one another relationships? Is our family group a place where we have invested ourselves so that we have real ‘family’ style relationships? Or are we casual attenders? If we want to see a ‘prosperous’ family group, mission team or church filled with all the fruits of God’s blessings we must be humble before God in making available to Him all the things He has given us.
Families that focus exclusively on their children and do not include others in their family raise children who are more neurotic and self-absorbed than families who invite others into their home and lives. There need to be sensible boundaries, of course, but let us be sober about our situation. What is your tendency? Over-hospitality or under-hospitality? If our children are going to grow to be concerned for others they will need to see it displayed by their parents in their own home.
Children are a privilege and a gift. Two generations even more so. The Psalmist’s prayer is not just to see the next two generations – but to see them catching the same faith – a faith that is grounded in fearing God and walking in His ways. A life lived in the fear of the Lord will inspire the next generation to see the wisdom of imitating that way of life.