Vain Efforts

1 Chronicles 16:1-19:19

Looking back over today’s reading and the things I underlined I noticed a theme. Let’s see if you can pick up on it before I give it away:

“And I will subdue all your enemies. Moreover, I declare to you that the LORD will build you a house.” 1 Chronicles 17:10

“There is none like You, O LORD,” 1 Chronicles 17:20

“For You, my God, have revealed to your servant that You will build a house for him.” 1 Chronicles 17:25

“for it is You, O LORD, who have blessed and it is blessed forever.” 1 Chronicles 17:27

“Be strong, and let us use our strength for our people and for the cities of our God, and may the LORD do what seems good to Him,” 1 Chronicles 19:13

The LORD will subdue all your enemies and will build you a house. You, O LORD, are different; You will build a house for your servant. You have blessed so it is blessed forever. May the LORD do what seems good to Him.

It all reminded me of a verse that we have had taped to our bathroom mirror since we were first married 13 years ago.

Psalm 127 “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for He gives to His Beloved sleep. Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”

I love the point of this Psalm, unless God is in it, it won’t be fruitful. I find it beautiful that Solomon of all people wrote this Psalm. Because there was this house that his dad, David, desperately wanted to build but God said, “No. Not you, but your son.” Solomon was that son. “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”

No amount of effort on my part is going to build a house if God isn’t on board with it. No amount of ADT Security equipment is going to keep a robber out of my house if God isn’t protecting it. No amount of staying up late and getting up early to work is going to produce money that lasts. No amount of money can produce a child within a womb if God isn’t the one who put it there. “There is none like You, O LORD.” “For it is You, O LORD, who have blessed and it is blessed forever.” “May the LORD do what seems good to Him.”

There are so many hopes, dreams and aspirations that we strain to achieve. Yet there is no possible way we can achieve them on our own. No amount of late night chapters written by the glow of a computer screen are going to land me that coveted book deal if God doesn’t want me to have it. Proverbs 23:4-5 says, “Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.”

Oh how I have seen the many sprouted wings of money! It seems like no matter how big or small those paychecks are, they always seem to sprout wings and fly out our door! It makes me think of that scene in Charlotte’s Web when the baby spiders finally hatch and Wilber is so excited to see them and without hardly a hello or goodbye they’re gone with the wind. It’s a very helpless feeling. And yet, what was that scripture yesterday?

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

If the LORD builds it, your effort is not in vain.

Categories: 1 Chronicles, 365 Life, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

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