What Is the Good Life?

The tales we inform reveal our understanding of the world, with our hopes and fears, and the songs we sing are poetic crystallizations of the deep longings of our hearts. The deep longings of our hearts correspond to what we envision as the nice life. Our imaginative and prescient of the nice life could be understood as our imaginative and prescient of “the kingdom.”1 The soundtrack to the film O Brother, The place Artwork Thou? contains the track “Big Rock Candy Mountain.”2

The lyrics have a good time handouts that develop on bushes, timber that sprout cigarettes, and bulldogs which have rubber enamel so their watchdog bites are innocent. This track’s idyllic panorama contains streams of alcohol beside a lake of stew, and whiskey too, as a result of those that sing it wish to escape actuality via intoxication and to be fed although they haven’t labored. They need mountains manufactured from rock sweet. They need no instruments resembling shovels, axes, saws, or picks. They wish to sleep all day, and so they wish to dangle the jerk that invented work. I ponder if the songwriter realized that may put the noose round God’s neck!

The track’s sentiments fall considerably wanting the glory that God meant when he created man in his personal picture and gave him work to do. Life on the Huge Rock Sweet Mountain wouldn’t end in true and lasting happiness or satisfaction. The Bible says there’s a primal mountain that’s our vacation spot, but it surely’s not one that can rot enamel and indulge character deficiencies. Distinction “Big Rock Candy Mountain” with Psalm 128:

A Tune of Ascents.

Blessed is everybody who fears the Lord,
who walks in his methods!
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your palms;
you shall be blessed, and it shall be properly with you.
Your spouse will likely be like a fruitful vine
inside your home;
your youngsters will likely be like olive shoots
round your desk.
Behold, thus shall the person be blessed
who fears the Lord.
The Lord bless you from Zion!
Might you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the times of
your life!
Might you see your youngsters’s youngsters!
Peace be upon Israel!

The Concern of the Lord

This track is addressed to a person who works, and the blessing involves him as a result of he fears Yahweh and walks in Yahweh’s methods. The blessing of Yahweh takes the type of this man having fun with the outcomes of his work, which he has achieved to supply for his spouse and youngsters. Psalm 128’s depiction of the nice life, then, entails arduous work achieved to supply for others, dependents, whose progress and fruitfulness are proof of God’s favor and blessing. Prosperity right here contains godliness, accountability, stewardship, and consciousness of God, prompting concern and obedience and advantage.

The Bible’s songs are rooted in hopes seeded by its wider story, watered by God’s guarantees.

The person blessed in Psalm 128 is a God-fearing man (Ps. 128:4), and within the context of the entire e-book of Psalms, the point out of Zion in verse 5 evokes the Davidic king Yahweh set there (cf. Ps. 2:6).3 The references to the prosperity of Jerusalem and youngsters and grandchildren in Psalm 128:5–6 trace that what has resulted on this particular person blessed man experiencing the fun of Psalm 128 has unfold to the broader tradition. Jerusalem prospers as a result of its males concern God, obey his Phrase, and work with their palms for the advantage of their wives and youngsters. Psalm 128 is a poetic depiction of the blessings of the Mosaic covenant (cf. Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28).

“Big Rock Candy Mountain” and Psalm 128 sing totally different variations of the nice life. Within the Bible, the land of promise isn’t the place sought by freeloaders and slackers who lengthy for an El Dorado the place theft is straightforward, the hills are manufactured from sugar, work is abolished, and handouts are freely distributed to tramps and bums who’ve neither obligations nor households. The Bible’s songs are rooted in hopes seeded by its wider story, watered by God’s guarantees.

1. See additional James Ok. A. Smith, Needing the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Educational, 2009).
2. First recorded by Harry McClintock in 1928.
3. For the importance of Psalms 1–2 for the entire e-book of Psalms, see Robert L. Cole, Psalms 1–2: Gateway to the Psalter (Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2013); see additionally Gordon J. Wenham, The Psalter Reclaimed: Praying and Praising with the Psalms (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2013).

This text is tailored from Work and Our Labor within the Lord by James M. Hamilton, Jr.

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