STUDY | Spend the week studying Psalm 128. Consult the commentary provided and any additional study tools to enhance your preparation.
DETERMINE | Many questions have been included in this guide. Read through this lesson to determine which questions will work best to encourage, push, and grow your group.
PRAY | As you prepare, pray for the preaching of God’s Word this coming weekend. Pray also for your time in this week’s study and your group’s openness to God’s Word.
LANDING POINT | The Kingdom Man does everything out of his fear of the Lord.
Remember the 4 Rules for Small Group Discussion
- Confidentiality. What’s said in the group stays in the group.
- No cross-talk. Be considerate of others as they share. Refrain from side conversations and texting during group time.
- No fixing. We are not in the group to fix each other. Jesus does that part.
- Sharing. Be sensitive to the amount of time you share. Don’t talk too much or too little. Every person brings something valuable to the group.
As your group time begins, use this section to introduce the topic of discussion.
This week your group will discuss the function of a Kingdom Man. It’s one thing to identify in words what a Kingdom Man is like, but it’s quite another to live out that description. Kingdom Men live differently. When the fear of the Lord rules your life, your perspective and priorities change. It changes the way you see your role in the home, workplace, church and community. Kingdom Men leave a legacy of faithfulness for others to follow. This is the goal that God wants every man to work toward.
Q: What comes to mind when you hear the term “fear of the Lord”?
Q: What would it mean for you to leave a legacy of faithfulness for others to follow?
Select 2-3 questions to discuss as a group.
THE BLESSED MAN
Psalm 128 gives us a picture of the blessed man. In six short verses, we see how he works and the fruit of his labor. This psalm was meant to inspire and lead men down the right path: God’s path. The writer shows us the source and surplus of blessing in this man’s life. The source of his blessing is his fear of the Lord. As a true Kingdom Man, he walks in step with God, and his reverence for the Lord touches every area of his life.
READ: Psalm 128. What stands out to you in this psalm?
Q: How would you use this psalm to inspire others to be Kingdom Men today?
LEAVING A LEGACY
Like a tree that produces much fruit, this man’s life is productive and fruitful. He enjoys the “fruit of the labor of [his] hands.” God blesses his work and the sweat he puts into his work results in blessing for him and his family. We see him seated around the family table with his wife and many children, a sign of blessing in the ancient world. Life and love fill his house.
This man has been faithful and obedient to God. Because of that, peace and prosperity follow him wherever he goes. In the face of adversity, God’s presence is with him. Even when he suffers, he is encouraged to keep walking in step with God. Why? Because God has promised to bless him.
Q: In what areas of your life would you like to see more fruit?
Q: Do you think it is right to seek a reward (in this case, blessing) from your work for God? Why or why not?
Select 2-3 question from this section to answer.
What does Psalm 128 teach us about the function of a Kingdom Man? Let’s look at four areas where men can live out the Kingdom Man lifestyle.
The first thing the writer mentions is the source of this man’s blessing. The “fear of the Lord” is both an attitude and action. When Kingdom Men fear the Lord, their thoughts and outlook on life are concerned with God. “Will this please God?” “Is what I’m doing bringing God glory?” The fear of the Lord is like a magnet that pulls all our thoughts toward God and His will for our lives. However, thoughts without action won’t bring blessing. Kingdom Men turn thoughts into action. They roll up their sleeves and get to work, bringing God pleasure and glory.
Q: What do you think prevents us from following through on obeying and honoring God?
Ultimately, the Kingdom Man strives to control himself. If he cannot rule his own heart, how can he expect to lead his family? That’s why the writer emphasized this man’s fear of the Lord in verse one. When we fear the Lord, we allow God to rule in our lives, which leads to greater self-control and stability. This, in turn, affects our families. Jesus changes the way we relate to one another at home, and wives and children are blessed by a Kingdom Man who fears the Lord.
Q: Explain the following statement in your own words: If [a man] cannot rule his own heart, how can he expect to lead his family?
Zion is another name for Jerusalem, the religious center for Israel. The Kingdom Man sees his faith as personal and communal. The Kingdom Man owns his role as a leader and shepherd of others in the church. He is a disciple-maker. God designed His Church to be a place where men and women grow together. We deceive ourselves if we think we can grow and bear fruit apart from community. Along with discipleship, another function of the Church is evangelism. The Church’s mission is to advance God’s kingdom, and the Kingdom Man goes beyond the walls of a church to reach others for Christ.
Q: Why is community a better environment for growth? What are the benefits?
When a Kingdom Man fears the Lord in his relationships, this has a kingdom impact on others. His neighbors will see his godly character and wonder, “What’s different about this man? He honors his wife, loves his children, is honest and hard-working and he glorifies God in everything he does.” His boss sees God-honoring work in every project. His friends and acquaintances see a deeper joy in him, despite difficulties in life.
Q: What could keep a Kingdom Man from having a kingdom impact in his community?
In the last two sessions, we discussed the foundation and action of a Kingdom Man. Ultimately, the Kingdom Man’s core identity is defined by his relationship with God, and his fear of the Lord drives him to take action in life. Today, God is calling Kingdom Men to step up and take action in their lives. Men, maybe God is calling you to make changes and address areas you’ve been ignoring for years, or maybe God wants to show you places in your neighborhood or workplace where you can advance His kingdom. Whatever it is, the question you need to ask yourself is this: What am I going to do with what I’ve learned?
Q: Men, what is one change God is calling you to make in order to be a Kingdom Man?
Q: What role could your group play to encourage men in the group to be Kingdom Men?
Spend time dwelling on the term “fear of the Lord.” Praise God for Kingdom Men and their leadership. Pray for them to have wisdom as they act and lead in the different areas of their lives. Ask, “God, how can I live in more reverence and awe of you in my life? What changes do I need to make?” Then, listen for the Spirit to speak.
Midway through this week, send a follow-up email to your group with some or all of the following:
Read John 15:1-17 and reflect on what it means to abide in Jesus, the True Vine, and bear fruit in your life.
Ask the group to share any stories or lessons learned where they see God at work in their life.
Fear of the Lord
This expression is most prominent in the OT. It occurs most often in Wisdom Literature like the Psalms and Proverbs. True wisdom comes from it (Prov. 9:10) and all humanity is called to do it (Eccl. 12:13). To fear the Lord is to have reverence and awe for who God is (His character) and what He does (His activity). It does not mean that we are terrified of God, because we think He will punish us (1 John 4:18). The term appears in Israel’s corporate worship and was foundational to the nation’s theology. It also is used to refer to someone’s personal relationship with God. God desires that all men and women fear and obey Him. The term was also used in the OT to identify someone (i.e., Joseph called himself a God-fearer, Gen. 42:18).1
Fruitfulness and Blessing
The image of fruit-bearing in Psalm 128 was meant to show blessing in someone’s life. The “fruitful vine” in v.3 symbolizes childbearing. It can also symbolize enjoying sexual activity between a husband and wife in marriage. “Olive shoots” provided three necessities for Ancient Near Eastern families: food, wood and oil. Having many children would have benefited a family in that time because they could help provide these necessities. 2
To Be Blessed
‘Blessed’ is the most frequently used term in the OT. When it refers to God, it means to give Him the praise He deserves. When it refers to men and women, it means a state of happiness, regardless of circumstance. Psalm 1 gives us a picture of the blessed man as someone who delights in God’s Word. That is, he receives deep joy and pleasure in his relationship with God. Blessing comes out of one’s delight in God and His Word.
To Bear Much Fruit by Abiding in Christ: What mission did Jesus give His disciples? According to John 15:1-17, it was to bear much fruit by abiding in Him, the True Vine. This would prove that they were His disciples, and it would glorify God. Kingdom Men stay connected to Jesus, the True Vine, and work to produce fruit that lasts.
“Zion was used by biblical writers in a variety of ways. Many of the psalmists used the term to refer to the temple built by Solomon (2:6; 48:2; 84:7; 132:13). In Isa. 1:27, the idea of “Zion” included the whole nation. Zion also stood for the capital of Judah (Amos 6:1). The most common usage of Zion was to refer to the city of God in the new age (Isa. 1:27; 28:16; 33:5).” 3
1. James W. Knox, “Fear of the Lord,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).
2. D. A. Carson, ed., NIV Zondervan Study Bible: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015), 1163.
3. James Newell, “Zion,” ed. Chad Brand et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 1711.