The Step of Dividends
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to Psalm 128. We have been pleased to refer to Psalm 120 through Psalm 134 as the “Pilgrim[s Staircase.” We have suggested that these psalms represent various stages of Christian growth. Now we are not suggesting that you can climb your way to Heaven. You can't do that. If you could, there would be no need for a Savior. The Lord Jesus Christ died for your sins and for mine, and the moment that we receive Him as our Savior our eternal destiny is settled. But, after we become Christians, after the Lord Jesus Christ has become our Savior, we can grow. The Pilgrim's Staircase describes that Christian growth from that very first step that we take in calling on God until we reach that firm end of our pilgrim's journey.

Another Step

We are now ready to take another step in our study. It is the second step in the second flight of stairs. It is related to Psalm 128, and for want of another term, I have called it the Step of Dividends.

You know, I am glad the Lord put this right here where He did. The first step in the second flight of stairs is the Step of Duty, and that is not always easy. Sometimes it takes a lot of effort and sometimes the duty is not always pleasant. The step that we will be considering next is the Step of Discipline. Right between the Step of Duty and the Step of Discipline is a little breather, if you will permit me to use that expression. I have called it the Step of Dividends.

The Step of Dividends describes all of the blessings, all of the rewards, and all of the dividends which are yours and mine as we press on the upward way. Notice with me, please, as we read in Psalm 128:

Psalms 128

1Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.
2For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
3Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.
4Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.
5The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.
6Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel.

That last phrase is a benediction. After declaring all the wonderful blessings that are awaiting those that are on the Pilgrim's Staircase, the psalmist concludes with a benediction–peace upon Israel.

Realization of a Blessing

I see in this psalm a realization of a blessing, the result of a blessing, and a recognition of a blessing. The realization of a blessing is related to two things, and that is why I have used the phrase “the realization of a blessing.” You will never realize the blessing of which this psalm speaks unless these two things are true in your life.

Fear the Lord

Look with me, please, at verse 1 again:

Psalms 128

1Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.

“Blessed—happy—is everyone that feareth the Lord and walketh in His ways.” The word “fear” is a word that speaks of reverential trust. It is the Old Testament way of expressing a New Testament faith in Christ. It is the recognition of the power of God and a realization that you must surrender yourself to Him.

If you have come to the place where you realize that you are a sinner and that you cannot save yourself and that Christ is the only one who can save you, and you place your faith and trust in Him, you have taken this first step in the Old Testament description, “Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord.”

Walking In God's Ways

Did you notice that there is a second step? It is necessary for the realization of blessing. I cannot say to you that this second step is necessary for you to be saved. If I did, I would be injecting human element into your salvation. I say to you that your salvation is due solely to the work of God through His Son in your behalf. But for the realization of blessing, this step is absolutely necessary. Notice the last phrase in the verse again, “that walketh in his ways.”

The phrase can be translated, “that walketh in God's ways.” I would remind you that this word “ways” is a translation of a Hebrew word which speaks of a prescribed course of action. God has already laid out the course. God has said, “Now, you walk along this course. Don't get out of the way! If you get out of the way, I'm going to withhold my blessing.” If you get out of the way God cannot bless as He wants to bless. Beloved, if you are going to realize the blessings that are in this psalm, then you are going to have to trust and obey. There is no other way.

Those Out of Fellowship

There may be some of you who will say that you have trusted Christ as Savior, but you say that you don't have these blessings we are talking about. We won't question the fact that you have trusted Him. You are the only one who really knows, but perchance the reason that you are not enjoying the blessings about which we speak is that you are not obeying God. As the New Testament puts it, you are out of fellowship. If you are out of fellowship you can't enjoy the blessings of the Lord.

Effect On Our Prosperity

I would like for you to think about the second thing I see in the psalm–the result of God's blessing in the life of the believer. The ressult of blessing in the life of the believer is seen as it affects a number of different areas in our lives.

Oftentimes we don't realize it, but it is true, Beloved. The blessing of Bod affects a number of different areas in our lives. In Psalm 128, verse 2, we read:

Psalms 128

2For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands……….

I suggest to you that the blessing of God affects our prosperity. One of the blessings that comes from being rightly related to the Lord is prosperity. When I speak of prosperity, I am not thinking about a million dollars. We think big these days and we need to get more practical.

When I speak of prosperity, I am speaking of a promise of God that has never failed in my life. It is recorded in Matthew, chapter 6, verse 33:

Matthew 6

33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these [notice now] things shall be added unto you.

If you look at the word “things” as it is related in the context, you will find it is related to material things. We are speaking of material prosperity.

I have never seen God fail in relation to the promise found in Philippians 4:19:

Philippians 4

19But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

I say to you then, as you stand on this Step of Dividends, come to the realization that God's blessing is for the man who trusts and obeys. That blessing affects an area of prosperity.

Effect On Our Personality

Look again, please, at verse 2 and notice the second statement in the verse:

Psalms 128

2……. happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.

As an aid to your memory, I use the word “personality.” The area of blessing affects prosperity, but it affects the area of our lives known as our personality. Yes, If we are trusting and obeying, one of the dividends of the relationship with Jesus Christ affects our personality; we find ourselves happy; we find ourselves well.

Definition of ”Happy”

Let me define that word “happy” for you. It is a translation of a Hebrew word which is translated by our English word “straight,” and by our English word “level.” I want to emphasize that because usually we think about happiness being related to joy and to silliness, but this word is a deeper word than that. When you are in right relationship to God, then you are walking on a level ground Everything is right. What am I saying to you? I am simply saying, Beloved, like the psalmists says, “When a man's ways please the Lord, he causes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

You may say that you don't believe that, because it isn't true in your life. Before I would disannul the Word of God, I would find out what was wrong in my life. The Bible says that when a man's ways please the Lord, He takes care of everything else. This is what I am speaking of. When you are in right relationship to the Lord, your very personality is affected by your relationship. If you are not in right relationship, it affects your personality.

Beauty and Gladness

Notice what this Scripture says:

Psalms 128

2….. happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.

The word “well” is a translation of a word which speaks of beauty, of gladness. It is amazing, isn't it? I have been out of fellowship with the Lord, and I know what I'm talking about. It is amazing how different things look when you get back into fellowship with the Lord. It is amazing how happy you can be when you are in fellowship and how unhappy you can be when you are out of fellowship.

Effect On Our Posterity

Glance at verse 3 again:

Psalms 128

3Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.

Now notice verse 6:

Let me suggest to you that God's blessings affect the area of your prosperity, the area related to your personality, and the area of your posterity.

Beloved, I want you to understand this. There is a significance in the fruitful bough and in the olive plants. That is the reason I am using the word “posterity.” When God says “thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house,” He is speaking about a fig tree that grew outside the house which was the mainstay of the entire family. If anything happened to that fig tree, the whole family was out of kilter. When anything happened to that fig tree, the whole prosperity was upset.

I suggest to you that for the man who is in fellowship with the Lord, his wife is a fruitful vine by the side of his house. I am reminded of what we read in Proverbs, chapter 19, verse 13:

Proverbs 19

13…… and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.

And in Proverbs, chapter 18, verse 22 we read:

Proverbs 18

22Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.

A Good Wife

I might remind you that the blessing of God does affect your posterity in that it can give you the kind of wife that you need. He can give you the kind of wife that can carry you through all of the emergencies that arise in your life. This is a blessing in the heart of the man who is in fellowship with God.

I want to say something else to you. I am saying this as a man now. What would some of us men have done if when we were out of fellowship our wives had not been that fruitful vine by the side of our house? I think only eternity will reveal how many Christian men are resting under His blessing because they had a wife that stayed in fellowship when they were out of fellowship.

I could talk to you women about how hard it is for your husbands to live with you when you are out of fellowship, but somehow men don't seem to be as concerned as women are. Some men often pack up and leave and maybe find someone else, but women have a way of holding on to God for their men. I tell you that one of the richest blessings that God can give a man is a fruitful vine beside his house.

Healthy Children a Dividend

As I speak of posterity, I notice the little olive plants around the table. Though they do bring a smile to my face, the reason the Holy Spirit was pleased to use this particular figure of speech is that olive plants were known for their vigor, for their strength.

You may not agree with me, but I believe that many, many times the fellowship of the parents determines the health of the children. I believe that many times God deals with us through our children. I believe that many, many times the only way that God can speak to our hearts is by giving us children that are not as strong and healthy as they might be.

I say to you, Beloved, that the man who is in fellowship with God and standing on the Step of Dividends has a right to expect God to take care of his children.

There is something for you grandmas and grandpas in verse 6:

Psalms 128

6Yea, thou shalt see thy children's children, and peace upon Israel.

This means that you will see the blessing of God upon your grandchildren if you stay in fellowship with God. God will give you the opportunity of enjoying your grandchildren in fellowship with the Lord. That is one of the dividends of being in fellowship with Him. Isn't that wonderful!

Recognition of God's Blessing

I must close with one last thought that I want to leave with you. I said that I see in this psalm a realization. I said that I see the result of blessing. In closing I would like to emphasize to you that I see the recognition of God's blessing.

Notice where I am placing the emphasis. Oh, how much we take for granted! How much we assume is related to what we are and what we have done instead of recognizing that the blessing comes from God. Have you stopped to realize that the very health that you enjoy today is God's blessing? Have you stopped to realize that the money you have to spend is the blessing of God? We must recognize these things.

The Only Source of Blessing

Notice in verse 5 the recognition that the psalmist gives:

Psalms 128

5The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.

Zion was the place in the Old Testament where God's throne was. What the psalmist is saying is the only source of blessing is the throne. Of course that ties in very well with what the Apostle Paul records in the letter to the Ephesians, chapter 4, verse 8 where he says:

Ephesians 4

8….. When he [the Lord Jesus Christ] ascended up on high, [he sat down at the right hand of God] he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

Beloved, all the gifts that we enjoy today, we are enjoying because they come from Him. There is no other source of blessing. Have you thanked Him for it? Have you recognized your obligation to Him?

Basis for Praying for Our Country

I cannot close without commenting on the last part of verse 5. Notice the last statement of the verse again:

Psalms 128

5….. and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.

The Old Testament is an earthly book. It is primarily addressed to Israel. Israel was vitally concerned with the city of Jerusalem. Israel always longed for the prosperity of Jerusalem. God says that for the man who is in fellowship with Him, He will even listen to him when he talks about his city.

That is the reason that I believe in praying about our country. That is the reason I believe in interceding with the Lord in relation to it. God can hear us. Not because we deserve anything, but because God says the man who is in fellowship with Him shall see the good of Jerusalem. I believe that, as far as it can be in accordance with God'[s divine, eternal plan, He will let us see the good of our country.

Preparation for God's Blessing

Beloved, these are the dividends which are ours as we mount this spiritual staircase. I'm so glad that I can talk to you about them, and tell you that God withholds no good thing from them that walk uprightly. If things aren't good, look into your heart. Don't look too long because you will get discouraged. After you look into your heart, then look up to the Lord. Confess to Him everything that is out of kilter, that is out of place. As you confess, accept His forgiveness and His restoration to fellowship. And then, open your arms wide for the blessings He has wanted to give you, but He hasn't been able to give you because you have been out of fellowship with Him.


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