Saturday, September 6, 2014
Joys of Parenting: Triplets of Blessing
As we have seen in earlier posts, God’s Word offers parenting advice and prayers for our children in patterns of three. Not surprisingly, God’s promises to parents who follow His instructions and raise their children according to His Word follow this same pattern, reflecting His Triune nature.
God gives us children as an inheritance, a reward, and a source of joy, as described in Psalm 127, which contains advice from David to his son Solomon regarding three important goals for his life: building the Lord’s house, ruling over His city Jerusalem, and raising children to continue in the royal blood line ultimately culminating in Jesus Himself (v. 1). Although parenthood is not usually associated with sound sleep, at least not in our children’s early years, the psalmist notes God’s promise to give His beloved sleep, so that he does not need to awaken early, to stay up late, or to be sorrowful (v. 2).
This Psalm compares children to arrows – a symbol of a man’s power, happiness, and good reputation (v. 4,5). In Bible times, arrows had to be reused, so to have many arrows in the quiver were a sign of status; of protection, as the bow and arrow were a weapon against enemies; and of provision, as the bow and arrow were a way to hunt for food. If we take care of our children when they are young, according to Biblical principles, they will take care of us when we are old, offering the prestige, security, and sustenance we may no longer have on our own.
If parents train their children in God’s Word and to follow His general and specific will, the Bible promises that they will return to God’s path, even if they rebel for a time (Proverbs 22:6).This chapter of Proverbs describes three virtues we should instill in our children, all of which are worth more than material wealth: a good reputation, treating others with love, and being prudent to avoid evil (v. 1-3). If we raise our children to be humble, fear and respect the Lord, using discipline when necessary (v. 15), He will give them riches, honor, and life (v. 4).
The Bible extols the Proverbs 31 woman as the ideal woman, wife, and parent who is wise, kind, and industrious in caring for her household (v. 26, 27). As her children grow up, they will realize, appreciate and return their mother’s love, which will bless not only the mother, but also her husband and children (Proverbs 31:28-29).
Just as children are blessed by learning from Godly parents, these parents can be blessed by following their children’s example of wonder, faith and trust. Even the most worldly and jaded adult may see the world anew through the eyes of their children, as they discover the beauty in God’s creation (Psalm 19:1) pointing so clearly to the Creator. The creation reveals to us the invisible things of God, His eternal power and Godhead, or the Trinity reflected in the Triune nature of all that God designed (Romans 1:19-20).
Jesus Himself said that we need to receive His kingdom as a child would. Children do not rely on their own strength, wisdom and pride as much as adults do, so it is easier in some ways for them to be saved. Adults have much to learn from having childlike faith, trusting Him completely and honoring Him as Our Father (Luke 18:15-17; Matthew 18:2-6). In contrast, adults tend to question God, to think their own wisdom is greater than Bible truth (Proverbs 3:5-6), and to rely on their own flesh instead of His power (2 Corinthians 12:9).
In our church, and I’m sure in others also, unsaved parents may bring children to Vacation Bible School or other church activities as an inexpensive outing for the children that frees up the parents’ time. The children may be saved by hearing the Gospel, by realizing they are sinners and trusting in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the only Way to Heaven (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; John 14:1-6). Unsaved relatives who come to see them baptized may also hear the Gospel and trust in Christ!
A Biblical example of childlike faith resulting in salvation for the parents is found in Rahab (Hebrews 11:31), a pagan prostitute who believed in Joshua’s God and hid him and his men from their enemies. As a result, Joshua saved not only Rahab, but her father's household, and all that she had. Among those saved were her father, her mother, and her brethren (Joshua 6:23-25),
All of us should follow Jesus’ example of loving, blessing and honoring children with the gift of our time, presence, and treasure, and He will reward us as if we bestowed this kindness on Him personally. On the other hand, God’s wrath, anger and judgment will pour out on those who deceive, abandon or abuse children (Matthew 18:5-6).
If we raise our children according to God’s plan, they are more likely to follow His commandments for how they treat us, how they relate to God, and how they live (Proverbs 13:1; 3:1-4; Deuteronomy 5:16; Ephesians 6:2).
Being a parent is one of God’s greatest blessings, yet one of the most awesome responsibilities He entrusts to us. There is no more important, rewarding and fruitful ministry than to raise a child according to God’s plan, rejoice as they are saved, and be blessed as they return our loving care in our later years.
May God bless all parents with His wisdom, love, and grace!
3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
© 2014 Laurie Collett