I have spoken of two lessons in the psalm: 1) that work without God is useless; and 2) that work for and with God is meaningful. The statement of the negative attitude is in stanza one. The change from that wrong attitude to the right, positive attitude occurs in the last line of the stanza, which says, “He grants sleep to those he loves” (v. 2). This statement suggests that having worked for God and at God's direction, the psalmist now rightly lies down to sleep and sleeps well since he is able to leave the results of his work in God's hands. 

We concluded yesterday's study with the official motto of Edinburgh, Scotland, which says, “Without the Lord, Frustration." There are people who understand this, of course, even without knowing God, and despair is the result. People who commit suicide have confessed the futility of a godless life in the most extreme way imaginable. But others who are less extreme simply drop out of the race. They react to the futility of human work without God by ceasing to work at all. 

“Useless!” That was the first word of a sermon I heard some years ago, and it was very arresting. The speaker was R. C. Sproul, and what he said in the introduction to that sermon was that in all the English language, “useless” was the word he hated most, at least if it was applied to him. He was willing to work hard, to start early and labor late. He was willing to forego present pleasures or benefits. But not if it was useless! Not if what he did had no purpose! “Because,” he explained, “if you say that what I do is useless, you are saying that I am useless. And what that means is that somehow I don't count.” 

Neither the Father nor the Son are unmoved by your sorrows. God knows what it is to weep. He knows your suffering. But he also knows that one day those tears will be wiped away, and they will be replaced by indescribable joy that will last forever. 

What does the psalmist do after he has remembered those earlier days in which “our mouths were filled with laughter”? As we read in yesterday’s study, one thing he does is ask God for the good times again. We see a second thing in today’s lesson.