Speaker: “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”

Seeker: “Unless the LORD guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain.”

Speaker: Unless one’s life is under the direction of the Divine, one is wasting one’s life. It is a heavy indictment, I know, but sometimes this life is heavy. Weighing you down with all the effort and struggle; trying to move forward only to find yourself pushed back. Now one may not know that, or realize it; but after one after another of empty days and nights, the truth comes out.

Seeker: “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives sleep to his beloved.”

Speaker: I have found, Seeker, that if I labor and toil for just my own purpose and advantage – I gain little. But if I have labored for the Lord, rest and refreshment are mine.

Seeker:
I hear and believe all you have said, Preacher. But the next verse makes little sense. “Sons are indeed a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.”

Preacher: I suspect, Seeker, that the psalmist is just continuing his musings. Maybe thinking about all he has accomplished and what he wishes to pass on to the next generation. But you are right, the psalmist seems to have leaped from one thought to another. Let us follow him though.

Seeker: “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them. He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” (Psalm 127)
Maybe for the psalmist, having children and offspring is like building a house and designing a city. Putting together a legacy for one’s self seems like a worthy pursuit, but done apart from the guidance of the Divine it is doomed to failure. It is actually sad to think in this instance that the psalmist might be King David; I know he saw his sons struggle and struggle amongst themselves and against their father. Maybe they are, as you said, the musing of an old man jumping from thought to thought.

Preacher: Once you get to a certain age, Seeker, you tend to look back over the years and see where things have gone well, and where they have not. You see where faith and hope has served you well, and where one’s faith and hope faltered causing your world to falter.

Seeker: Surely there is renewal of faith and hope; where one picks up the unraveled threads of life and Christian journey, and determines to follow in the footsteps again of Jesus Christ.

Preacher; Of course you are right, Seeker. Where we might see faltering steps, the Divine sees an opportunity to bring us back into relationship and communion with the Godself. What the Lord has built well never fail; and if we put our effects to the Lord’s mission nothing we do can be seen as lost. Shalom & Selah!