Children – Heritage of The LORD
There has never been such an insidious attack on the family as the attack being launched on the family’s children. Not the upbringing of the children, although that is a problem, too, but the birth and place of children in the family are under attack.
How are we to view children?
Are they only a nuisance?
Are they a blessing?
Today, increasingly, there is pressure on couples not to have children, or at least as few as possible. There are so many means not to have children, means that the devil uses to prevent the church’s children from being born, it makes one’s head swim.
What should Christians think about this?
What should our attitude be towards having children?
Who, actually, are our children?
When the Bible praises children, it does not mean to say that children are essential in marriage. There are some who so emphasize children that they over-emphasize them. But this view harms those in the church from whom God has withheld children. Apart from children, marriage is complete and blessed, a reflection of the relation between Christ and His Church.
Even so, we must understand that children are the heritage of the Lord, the gift of the covenant God to His church. It is implied in Psalm 127 and 128, and in the rest of the Bible, that God’s people are called to bring forth children; and it is expressed in these Psalms that children – many children – are a blessing. Yet many are tempted not to bring forth children. In spite of the fact that far fewer infants die, there are fewer children per family today than ever before in the history of the world.
Unbelievable pressures are being put on parents not to bear children. Socially, there are pressures. Children “tie a mother down, interfere with a career,” “hinder fulfillment.” Today in the grocery store, a mother with a few children in tow is not complimented, but criticized. Planned Parenthood advertises and lobbies until it becomes a way of thinking that one or two children is ideal. “The fewer children, the better reared” is a philosophy of which the Chinese are reaping the bitter fruit. We are told the philosophy is true.
There are pressures from the government to limit the size of our families for world population control. Regularly, it seems, Ann Landers reports the urgency of control.
Probably the greatest pressure is financial. Although our generation is better off than any other, this pressure is more real today than ever before – in part, because our standard of living is so high (what was considered a luxury 50 years ago is a necessity), and for Christians, the high cost of Christian school tuition seems to skyrocket. The conclusion is, “We’ll not have children,” or “We’ll have one or two.”
But this is man’s reasoning, purely self-centered.
What do I want?
What’s good for me?
How will this benefit me?
And man’s reasoning does not bring blessing.
For us, God’s word is decisive. The difference between a Christian and a non-Christian perspective is seen vividly here. For unbelievers, the question begins and ends with self. For Christians, the question begins and ends with God. Our marriages and families are not for our sakes, but God’s. And we may not answer the hard questions about marriage (and the question of children is a hard question!) by considering how we feel at the moment, or by how much pressure the world puts on to conform to their standards. We must look to God’s Word.
God’s Word says, “Bear children.” Genesis 1:28 (“Be fruitful and multiply”) is God’s powerful word of blessing that gave Adam and Eve the gift of sex, and is the command to bring forth children by it.
This was God’s will “from the beginning.” The New Testament carries on the same thinking. I Timothy 2:15 says that after the fall, the normal path on which women find their salvation is the path of childbearing. Theirs is not the calling to take leadership positions in the church, but to serve the church in rearing the church’s children at home. I Timothy 5:14 makes plain that God’s will for younger women is that they “marry, bear children, guide the house, (and, in that way), give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.” This is God’s will for us today.
We bear children, not only because we like children, but because God calls His people: “Bring forth my children.” So, the couple that marries and says, “We don’t want children,” is a couple that lives in disobedience to God’s will.
But God motivates His people to obey this command by showing us that children are a blessing. Although some consider children only a nuisance, misery and grief, and even appeal to Genesis 3:16, God’s Word says children are a blessing. Genesis 3:16 does not teach that children are a curse, but that bringing them forth is chastisement for godly women: as a result of the fall, the pain of childbearing increased and (possibly) the frequency increased. But the chastisement is not childbearing, but the sorrows connected with it. Besides, the entire Old Testament speaks a different language than that children are a curse. Psalm 127 says, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward…Happy is the man whose quiver is full of them.”
Children are a blessing. Many children are a blessing. Every child is a blessing to believing parents. (This is certainly not to say that every child will be a Christian! But every child is a gift, a blessing of God.) The 12th child is a blessing. The deformed child is a blessing. The difficult child is a blessing.
Certainly! But a blessing nevertheless, of God.
Why are they a blessing?
Again, not because they are all elect. This would be the height of presumption, to say nothing about contradicting Romans 9. But God is normally pleased to gather His children from the children of believing parents. This is why Psalm 127 says, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”
In addition, children are a blessing in that they are weapons in the armory of God to protect the spiritual heritage of the Christian family of faith. “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.” Reared as straight as arrows, they are shot out into the battle of faith, fit to do war with the enemy. Pray for this kind of children, who will also sit and “speak with the enemies in the gate,” giving account of their faith and the glory of their God.
Is it any wonder the devil hates the church’s children (see Revelation 12) and is such an advocate of birth control. Or, if he cannot prevent their conception, he will destroy them before they see the light of day. The devil knows that children, many children, are the strength of the church.
(Understanding this, the couple asking about birth control will be guided by these principles: (1) Children are a blessing of God: Psalm 127,128, etc. (2) Many children are a blessing of God: Psalm 127:5. (3) Women are saved through childbearing: I Timothy 5:14. So, keeping in mind the spiritual, physical, and
emotional capabilities of the husband and wife, they will have as many children as they can. Their quiver will be full.)
Many years ago in the Old Testament, children were slaughtered by their parents, sacrificed to Moloch to worship the idol. We shudder to think of it. Today, children are sacrificed to the idol god “money” or the idol god “time” or the idolgod “vacation” or the idol god “career” or “fulfillment” or whatever his name may be. Let God’s people hear His call to bring forth children.
This is not to say that there are not many sorrows in motherhood. There is thephysical toil and pain of giving birth. There is the physical and psychological burden of rearing them. The sorrow is great, according to Genesis 3:16. In a certain sense, the mother gives her life away for her children. God does not take away the burden.
What is the solution?
Where is the joy that Psalm 127 speaks of?
Is it to take off the yoke, unshoulder the burden?
Or is it to seek grace for help in this time of need as Christian parents have done for 6,000 years?
There it is!
Faced with sorrows, we are pointed by Scripture to the grace of Jesus Christ
to bear the burden and perform the labor. Jesus Christ is a sympathetic High Priest whose own large family qualifies Him to understand.
Parents, be encouraged. God is pleased to build His church from our children. This is the joy that swallows up the sorrows, makes the pain and toil worthwhile. Children are “an heritage of the LORD.”
By Barry Gritters