Psalm 127 is a song of ascents, meaning it was one of fifteen songs sung during feasts on the uphill journey to Jerusalem. It was written by Solomon, and it has two parts. The first, in verses 1–2, expresses that, without God, labors are in vain. The second part, in verses 3–5, focuses on the idea that “children are a heritage from the Lord” (Psalm 127:3).
Along with the truth that children are a heritage from the Lord, the psalm states that houses don’t get built unless the Lord blesses the efforts (Psalm 127:1a). Cities aren’t protected unless the Lord guards them (Psalm 127:1b). Rising early and retiring late is pointless unless God blesses the efforts in between, and He is capable of blessing His people even while they sleep (Psalm 127:2). In other words, human endeavors are only of value if engaged with Him in mind and with His blessing.
Likewise, the pursuit of bearing and rearing children is only fulfilled if God blesses. Children are not ultimately the product of human effort, but “children are a heritage (or gift) from the Lord.” The fruit of the womb is a reward granted by God (Psalm 127:3b). Solomon compares the children of one’s youth to arrows in the hands of a warrior (Psalm 127:4). The warrior sends arrows skillfully toward their target in hopes that they will hit their mark. Solomon’s expectation is that those arrows will hit their target, as the man who has many arrows is blessed (Psalm 127:5). Those who have children will always have someone to stand with them (Psalm 127:5b).
An event in the life of Jacob illustrates that “children are a heritage from the Lord.” When his wife Rachel was childless, she demanded of Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” (Genesis 30:1). Jacob responded in Genesis 30:2, by asking rhetorically, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” (NKJV). When Rachel eventually gave birth to a child of her own, it was because “God listened to her and opened her womb” (Genesis 30:22, NKJV). Similarly, Eve, when she gave birth to her firstborn, recognized that God had provided her the child (Genesis 4:1). Perhaps Hannah’s is the most poignant acknowledgment of God’s role in providing her child (1 Samuel 1:20; 2:1–10).
The statement that “children are a heritage from the Lord” is an important reminder that even the most significant of human achievements are not actually human achievements—they are divine blessings and gifts from the Creator. It is because of this principle that James challenges his readers not to speak of tomorrow as if we have total control, but instead to recognize that “if it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that” (James 4:15).