|Except the Lord Keep Watch|
Psalms 127:1 “Except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”Note that the Psalmist does not bid the builder cease from labouring, nor suggest that watchmen should neglect their duty, nor that men should show their trust in God by doing nothing. Nay, he supposes that they will do all that they can do, and then he forbids their fixing their trust in what they have done, and assures them that all creature effort will be in vain unless the Creator puts forth his power, to render second causes effectual. Holy Scripture endorses the order of Cromwell -- "Trust in God, and keep your powder dry": only here the sense is varied, and we are told that the dried powder will not win the victory unless we trust in God. Happy is the man who hits the golden mean by so working as to believe in God, and so believing in God as to work without fear.
In Scriptural phrase, a dispensation or system is called a house. Moses was faithful as a servant over his entire house; and as long as the Lord was with that house it stood and prospered; but when he left it, the builders of it became foolish and their labour was lost. They sought to maintain the walls of Judaism, but sought in vain: they watched around every ceremony and tradition, but their care was idle. Of every church, and every system of religious thought, this is equally true: unless the Lord is in it, and is honoured by it, the whole structure must eventually fall in hopeless ruin. Man can do much; he can both labour and watch; but without the Lord, he has accomplished nothing, and his wakefulness has not warded off evil.
Adapted from Treasury of David