Psalm 127:2 reads, “It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep” (NASB). If you read this short Psalm you will see there is an important lesson for every believer; if God is not involved in what we do there will be no profit in it. In verse 1 the Psalmist says, “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain.” If you try to build a house or protect a city, it will prove to be IN VAIN if you leave the Lord out. In our verse we see you can work all day long but it won’t amount to anything if God isn’t in it. I once read a book titled, “Little Is Much If God Is In It”; our passage is saying, “Much is nothing if God is not in it.”

It should be said that our verse is NOT teaching us that we shouldn’t work diligently to provide for our needs and the needs of our family. That would contradict 1st Timothy 5:8 which states, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his own household, he had denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” These are strong words which reveal that God condemns laziness. (I would encourage you to read 2nd Thessalonian 3:6-13 where God commands us to work.) At the dawn of creation God ordained that man should work, thus as soon as God created Adam we read, “Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden TO CULTIVATE IT AND KEEP IT.” We believe Adam enjoyed his labors in the Garden of Eden, but his enjoyment was due to the fact that he also enjoyed fellowship with his Creator while he worked. After sin came into the world there was the possibility, as we have seen, of leaving God out of our daily lives and then work can indeed be painful and fruitless. I know people who are “workaholics” who are very unhappy and for all their labors they have nothing to show for it; they have been “in vain.” The prophet Haggai speaks to this in Haggai 1:6, “You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.” What a tragedy!

The key to happiness and success is to bring God into every detail of our lives, whether it’s building a house, protecting a city, or laboring to meet our needs. At the end of our verse we read, “For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.” What does that mean? In what way does God give us something while we sleep? One thing He gives us is A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP! Ecclesiastes 5:12 says, “The sleep of the laboring man is sweet” (NKJV). A man who leaves God out of his life works all day, and then he worries about what his day’s labor will bring (or what tomorrow’s labors will bring!), resulting in little or no sleep. But the man of God who enjoys fellowship with his Lord, and allows Him to direct his labors, will reap the benefit of a restful night of sleep. And this verse may also include the thought that God will indeed BLESS US WHILE WE SLEEP. Psalm 121:4 declares, “Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” While we are sleeping, God is working! He’s working on our behalf to bless us, in ways we can’t even think of. Often when we awake, we learn that God has indeed done something for us; He has supplied a want or need that we could never have produced no matter how hard we tried. Praise be unto God for “giving to His beloved even in his sleep!” (234.9) (DO)