Christ and the Church Revealed and Typified in the Psalms, by Witness Lee

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Psalm 127:1, “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” For years I was troubled by this verse. Now I understand it. All the returned captives will say, “Lord, now we have learned by our experiences that except You build the house, we labor in vain; except You keep the city, the watchman is useless. By the desolation, by the captivity, we have really learned that we are nothing, and You are everything. For the building up of the house, we trust in You; we can do nothing. For the keeping of the city, we trust in You. From all the captivity, from all the failures, we have come to know the Lord, we have learned to put our trust in Him.” The returned people praised the Lord with Psalm 127. May we today also praise the Lord in this way. We must put our trust in Him and praise Him by saying, “Lord, unless You accomplish the recovery, we can do nothing; unless You build, we can do nothing; unless You keep, we can do nothing.” Praise the Lord!

Now let us go on to Psalm 128:5, “The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.” The Lord’s blessing is out of Zion, and the good is of the city Jerusalem. In these Psalms of ascension, the concept is always of Zion, Jerusalem, the house and the city. “Thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem (the good of the city) all the days of thy life.” All my expectation is that I may see the good of the local churches as the city all the days of my life. I have been seeing it for forty years now, and I hope to see it until the day I shall see Him. The Lord bless thee, brothers; the Lord bless thee, sisters, out of the local churches! O what a blessing it is to see the good of the local churches all the days of our life! We have only tasted a little, but according to this taste, suppose that there should be no more church life. I believe that many of us would be weeping. What a barren desert that would be! But, praise the Lord, we are in God’s recovery; we are living in the local churches.

Now let us go on to Psalm 129. Here we have a contrast. Psalm 129 is a negative Psalm, yet it helps to enhance the city. Verse 5, “Let them all be put to shame and turned backward that hate Zion.” These are the real backsliders. The hate of Zion brings in shame and turning backward. Anyone who hates the local churches will be put to shame and turned backward. I have witnessed many like this. In my entire Christian life I have never seen one Christian who, when he criticized and opposed the local churches, was ever blessed by the Lord from that time forth. I have observed that all those who have opposed the church life have become backsliders. There has not been one exception. Let them all be put to shame and turned backward. It is not a small thing. The Psalmist continues, “Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, which withereth before it groweth up: wherewith the mower filleth not his hand; nor he that bindeth sheaves his bosom” (vv. 6-7). If you hate the local churches, you will have no more growth of life. There will be no rich reaping and no rich harvest. “Neither do they which go by say, The blessing of the Lord be upon you: we bless you in the name of the Lord” (v. 8). No growth, no rich harvest, no blessing.

We who have been in the church life in Los Angeles over the past years may look back over our history and see the condition of those who have opposed the local church. There is only shame and backsliding—no growth, no rich harvest, and no blessing. The Lord will vindicate Himself. He is for Zion; if you hate Zion, you are through. The Lord desires Zion. If you reject it, it is not a small thing, it is not a matter of doctrinal disputation. Let them all be put to shame and turned backward that hate Zion.

Now let us go on from this negative Psalm to a positive one, Psalm 132. In Psalm 129 we have the haters of Zion, but in Psalm 132 we see the lovers of God’s dwelling place. David is the representative. He says, “Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, until I find out a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob” (vv. 3-5). This means that he would not rest until the Lord obtained rest. If the Lord was homeless, David was homeless; if the Lord was wandering, he was wandering. David was referring to a situation which existed in his time, but this also was a kind of recovery. The ark had been removed from the tabernacle and captured by the enemy. And even when the ark was returned to the children of Israel, it was not yet put into its proper place, the tabernacle. A full recovery was needed. David was one who loved God so deeply, one who was devoted to God’s resting place, to God’s habitation. He said that he would not enter his house until the Lord could find a habitation; he would not take sleep until the Lord should find rest.

(Christ and the Church Revealed and Typified in the Psalms, Chapter 21, by Witness Lee)