Often feel like your work & efforts are useless? Learn how to experience shalom every day.
Read / Listen
Read Psalm 127:1-2
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 125
Q. What does the fourth request mean?
A. “Give us today our daily bread” means,
Do take care of all our physical needs
so that we come to know that
you are the only source
of everything good,
and that neither our work and worry
nor your gifts
can do us any good without
And so help us to give up our trust
and to put trust in you alone.
Notice the word in this short passage that gets repeated three times: vain. Vain isn't a word we use very often, and its definition has different senses. Often times we might refer to a pompous, arrogant person as being vain, but here the word is being used in a different sense, in that people's building, guarding and toiling are useless if they're not done in dependence upon the Lord.
It's not that vain projects are deficient in and of themselves. Lots of beautiful developments and construction have been successfully completed, but they ultimately miss the mark. Here's how one commentator describes this:
"Vain" here seems to mean “not producing the desired result.” Why do people build houses? Why do people strive to build safe communities? Why do people toil to earn a living? The answer appears to be found in the shalom that is a running motif in the Psalms of Ascent. People want “peace” in the full sense of the term, the absence of harm and the presence of tranquility with prosperity. When people strive for this good end without faith in God and in ways contrary to his principles, God is not “in it,” and they do not experience the shalom they are looking for.
We're generally people who work hard, and often have good things to show for it as a result. We live in prosperous communities, and most of us haven't had to worry about where our daily bread was coming from for a long time.
We have a dualistic tendency in us as well, in which we tend to think of our physical needs as being different or separate from our spiritual needs, and that our pursuits to obtain food & shelter is somehow less 'godly.'
Certainly there is a distinction between the two, but Psalm 127 helps remind us that true shalom depends upon God's presence and blessing in both the physical and spiritual aspects of our lives. Shalom is a tranquility in which everything - both physical and spiritual - is the way it's supposed to be.
This is why Jesus taught you to pray each day for your daily bread, so that you will experience shalom as you're continually reminded of your dependence upon Him in every part of your life.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who builds our house, watches over our city, and grants shalom to those He loves;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask your father each day to grant you what you need both spiritually and physically for this day so that you'll experience His shalom;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
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