What the Bible says about Children

What The Bible Says About Children

I have one main objective, to convince each heart that children are a blessing from God. In hopes that once we have a clear vision about the eternal value of a child, we’ll raise them in such a way as to advance the Kingdom of God on the earth. I could easily fill 45 minutes with all the reasons I like children and think they are a blessing. You could go on my FB page and just look at the pictures, it will show you all the ways I am blessed. But this morning is not what Bobby Wilkinson thinks about children,    because I am prone to wander just like you are. This is about God’s heart concerning Children.

What Does the Bible Say About Children?

–       You’ve seen our family, and yes, we are aware of how big it is! The last 12 years have flown by, but they haven’t caught us by surprise. Many wonder why we have a lot of children; because we just love them to pieces, or because it’s fun, is it because my cousin has 10 and we are trying to keep up (competition), are we working to have our own reality TV show, or because we like all the attention and questions it raises in public?

–       Honestly, I can’t say that at times some of these haven’t been a partial motivation for having children, but there is one prevailing, primary reason, and it’s the Bible’s teaching on children.

–       Stories about questions we are asked. (Jokingly I’ve mentioned our quiver is made of spandex. Always room to squeeze in another.)

Jim Gaffigan quotes on children: Why so many children Jim? “Well, why not? I guess the reasons against having more children always seemed uninspiring and superficial. What exactly am I missing out on? Money? A few more hours of sleep? A more peaceful meal? More hair? These are nothing compared to what I get from these five monsters who rule my life I believe each of my five children has made me a better man. So I figure I only need another thirty-four kids to be a pretty decent guy.… each one of them has been a pump of light into my shriveled black heart.”

–       Our answers to the children questions have evolved somewhat, but the questions never change…

o   Are they all yours? (…yeah? 2. Absolutely!)

o   How old are you? (25, why, is that a problem?)

o   Man, your hands are full! (yeah, uhh, thanks? … now, better full than empty, or, “you should see my heart”)

o   You know what causes that? Do you not have a TV?

o   Which ones are twins?

o   You must be catholic.

o   Are you done? (Why do you care? Do you want me to be, think I need to be?)

Reactions to having many children: 1. Good for you guys, you are very blessed. 2. Well I could only two 2, that’s my limit. 3. What? On purpose? Why? (Many times people in your own family.)

One thing we have experienced in our culture is a general negativity concerning children, for whatever reason.

–       It’s not about numbers, for none is given in the scripture.

–       It is not my desire to sway the mind of a non believer on this subject, but I believe for Christians our standards are to be different than our culture or world’s standards. We’re Bible believers, which means we want to align our selves to the Bible’s teachings for life.

–       I realize that there are many different folks in the room, those who have experienced miscarriages, those who are barren, those who are past child bearing age, etc. I will try my best to be sensitive in general, but my goal is that WE BELIEVERS would have the same mind/heart about children, the mind of Christ. Bethany and I are always open to questions on this subject and will always try to make ourselves available if you’d like to chat, because we certainly can’t cover everything on the subject in a sermon.

Phil2:14Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

A change of mind: This is an area in which our standard hardly differs from non believers; our mindset of children. In light of the above verse, has anyone in the world heard you grumble or complain about your children? (invitation to a game of golf) “My days of fun are over, I’ve got kids now.” (are you going to have anymore?) “Are you joking? I couldn’t handle another one, the one’s I’ve got are driving me up a wall!” )(Hey your kids are cute,) “Here, you can have one….hahaha.” Imagine if we did that with anything else- vehicle (I love your car, here you can have it.). What protrudes from the lips is what is in the heart, and let’s face it, we the church have bought the devil’s lie that children are a curse whether we want to admit it our not.

There are over 600 appearances of the word child in the Bible, and over 400 of those are found within the word “children”. We obviously won’t be able to look at each one, but we’ll hit some highlights.

Let me start by saying what the Bible doesn’t say about children. (These are popular thoughts in our culture)

  1. It doesn’t say they are a burden.
    1. I heard a quote… “The Bible calls a debt a curse and children a blessing. But in our culture, we’ll apply for a curse and reject His blessings. Something is wrong with this picture.”
    2. Children seem to be the only blessing that God gives which we resist. In areas of land, food, wealth, materials, and health we pray “Lord, bless us, give us more”, but children are excluded from that equation.
    3. Africans can’t come to grips with abortion. They may abandon them alive, but would never murder them.
    4. If we view our children as anything less than a blessing I can assure you that the problem is not with the child, and it’s definitely not with God.
    5. It (Bible) doesn’t even call them kids. I’m not against the word kids, but so many times it has a negative connotation. (The word kid is foremost defined as a baby goat, and we adopted it as modern slang for our children. It cannot be found as meaning child in older dictionaries) The Bible calls them “children”, this is what we should call them too.
    6. It seems that everywhere you go and almost anyone you talk to will have some level of negativity about them when speaking about children. But, you just don’t find this attitude in God’s Word.
  2. It doesn’t give a number – “A boy for me and girl for you, praise the Lord we’re finally through.” Voddie Baucham – In America, there is an unwritten law that everybody seems to know, which holds to a set number of children as the norm. (After we had Cadence, “you’ve got your girl!”) (Yeah, and I’d be good with another one!) My parents generation it was three. When I ask my parents why, “I don’t know, that’s just what everyone did at the time.” (The logic of peer pressure/teens?) The Bible never sets such number, on the low end or on the high end.
    1. There are examples of barren women, and there are examples of fruitful women. Almighty God, for reasons beyond our comprehension, can close the womb and withhold life from a family. But in scripture, that act is reserved for him and him alone. Nowhere in the Bible are we commanded or permitted to tamper with the life giving organs of our bodies. We live in a medically advanced culture that can alter God designed parts of our bodies to suit our own agenda.
    2. Don’t get hung up on a number. The reason the bible doesn’t give a number is because it’s not about the number, it’s about the heart and the view of children. It’s about the blessing of the fruit of the womb, and whether or not to accept those blessings as God would give them.
    3. When people ask me – (MY OPINION!) I say, Christians, who are able, should have children, more than the cultural norm. “If you can’t beat em, out breed em.” Seriously, we’re raising disciples for God’s glory and the more disciples the better.
    4. Though God doesn’t give numbers, His commands and promises regarding the womb were always surrounded with words such as “abundantly” (Gen. 9:7) (Ex. 1:7), exceedingly (Gen. 16:10), Mightily and Greatly (Deut 6:3; Ps. 105:24), plenteous (Deut 30.9), to name a few…..
  3. It doesn’t say they were created for our pleasure/enhancement.
    1. Humanism has infiltrated our minds concerning children. The idea that we have children for us.
    2. This conversation takes place during engagement, “how many do you want?”
      1. Question can come from selfishness, fear of the unknown, worldly wisdom, etc.
    3. Christians ask a different question, what does God want?
    4. Children were not created for us, they were created for HIM!
    5. There’s a difference between raising children and making disciples, we’re doing the latter.
  4. It doesn’t say that children are expensive
    1. Perhaps the most popular deterrent to children in the world today is this notion that “children are too expensive”. Without making a sermon of this one point. If children were so expensive, explain large families full of content and joy in the poorest parts of the world.
    2. Baby site suggestions are not reality – CNN Money site – It will cost the “average” family nearly $250k to raise one child to 18 years old. (For me x6 = 1.5 mil, on 70-80k a year, does God know this statistic?) These sites do not factor lifestyle choices, faith and blessing, family support, etc.
    3. Children aren’t expensive, lifestyles are. Our lifestyles are the real burden. (We have counseled people in $40,000 cars who came to the abortion clinic and said they couldn’t afford a child.)
    4. Yes, it takes sacrifice to raise children. But it has immeasurable rewards.

Here’s what the Bible says about Children. (Credit: I was informed on these headings by an Article from Above Rubies magazine)

  1. Children are gifts
    1. To us – Gen 33: 4But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. 5And when Esau lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children, he said, “Who are these with you?” Jacob said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.”To others – Jeremiah 1:5 says, 5“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
      1. Ps. 127: 3Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
      2. Heritage – inheritance – they are God’s children, given to us to enjoy, train, and disciple.
  2. Children are blessings
    1. Deut 28:1″And if you faithfully obey the voice of the LORD your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God. 3Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. 4Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb
    2. Psalm 37:25 I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. 26He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing.
    3. Youth – Ps 144:12May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace; 13may our granaries be full, providing all kinds of produce; may our sheep bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields; 14may our cattle be heavy with young, suffering no mishap or failure in bearing; may there be no cry of distress in our streets! 15Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall! Blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!
    4. Ps. 128 – Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
 who walks in his ways!You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table. 4. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
who fears the Lord.
  3. Children are the fruit of the womb
    1. Ps. 127 – “the fruit of the womb a reward”
    2. Hos. 9:16 – “beloved fruit” other translations read “cherished offspring, precious ones…”
    3. This is a reference to the reproductive nature of almost everything in God’s creation. However, no other fruit on earth is as rewarding and treasured as a new human life.
  4. Children are like arrows (from Above Rubies newsletter)
    1. Ps. 127 – 4Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children[a] of one’s youth. 5Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
    2. Our task as parents is to polish, sharpen and prepare arrows to be ready to be sent forth from the bow to the hit the mark God has planned for their lives
    3. It gives our children a sense of destiny to know they are arrows, being sharpened and prepared for God’s army.
    4. They are a defense for us, when we stand for the kingdom our children strengthen and support us.
    5. The devil has been attacking the family long enough, it’s time we use our arrows and go on the offensive for Jesus. One of the biggest threats to Satan are husbands and wives who understand what the Bible says about children, and who will raise sharp and straight arrows who will possess the means to destroy the works of the enemy in this world.
  5. Children are like olive plants (God didn’t relate our children to olive shoots without purpose!!)
    1. Ps. 128 – 3Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. 4Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.
    2. Olive trees were a symbol of blessing to the Israelites. Deut 8:8 “a land of olive trees and honey,”
    3. Olive plants have to be cultivated or they will deteriorate and grow wild. “Train up a child” “teach the commandments” (this is constant continual work, you don’t get breaks, if you don’t constantly cultivate it, your plant may die. Discipleship never halts – to whom much is given, much is required, and we’ve been given an inheritance)
    4. Olive trees are a symbol of beauty. Hos. 14:6 – 6his shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive – God wants our children to grow up beautiful, not physical beauty, but spiritual, like the olive tree, revealing to the world the glory and splendor of God.
    5. Olive trees had a purpose. They were not just ornaments.
      1. Building – 1 Ki. 6:31For the entrance to the inner sanctuary he made doors of olivewood = build the kingdom of God, usher people into the Lord’s presence with their lives
      2. Light – olive oil was used in lamps – light of Jesus
      3. Holy Anointing Oil – Ex. 30 – used for ministry in God’s temple = used for ministry in God’s church, that they would go with the anointing of the Holy Spirit to accomplish things for God.
      4. Food – Israelites could hardly make it without olives = our children will feed many broken and starving for the gospel
      5. Some olive trees have lived thousands of years- Our children, if cultivated, will prosper and live long in the land, being mighty for the Lord.

How is our view of children affected by the Gospel, and how does it impact mission? Every man, woman, and child?

  1. MULTI- Generational VISION! Children need Godly parents (we MUST rely upon God)
    1. Prov. 20:7 The righteous who walks in his integrity– blessed are his children after him!
  2. Teach Biblical Commands and Truth – Use your experiences.
      1. Deut 4:9″Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children– 10how on the day that you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, the LORD said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.”
  3. Training and Nurture
    1. Prov. 22:6 – training them up in the way they should go.
    2. Eph. 6:Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
  4. Protection and Provision
    1. Ex. 22:22 – You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. (Mission includes the parenting and protecting of all in broken families.)
    2. 2 Cor. 12:14 For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. We need to arrange our lives so that we will be as free as possible to help each child financially as they get out on their own, and even more importantly to train them to provide well for themselves.
  5. We must be a Christian example in all things
    1. Marriage, integrity, character, attitude, business, prayer, doctrine, relationships, etc.
  6. God wants a harvest of God fearing children: “Godly seed” – this is what He desires out of a Christian marriage!
    1. Malachi 2: 15Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union?[f] And what was the one God[g] seeking?[h] Godly offspring. So guard yourselves[i] in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.
    2. Malachi 4:5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.
    3. Psalm 78 is a manual for Generational Discipleship and Missions, read it with a New Covenant, post Cross perspective.

Psalm 78 –  1Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! 2I will open my mouth in a parable;  I will utter dark sayings from of old, 3things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. 4We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. 5He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers  to teach to their children, 6that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, 7so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.

– This should be the vision for your family, print it out, memorize it, post it in your house.

– Satan is going to try in every way to keep us distracted and busy, turning our hearts away from our homes. If we truly want to be different from the world, we’ll turn our hearts toward the home, accept God’s blessings, and raise up His Godly seed, these gifts, these blessings, these arrows, these olive shoots for the purpose of growing the kingdom, bringing glory and honor, and praise to Him.

Every believer should study the life and family of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards. Perhaps their greatest Kingdom accomplishment on the earth was raising disciples of Jesus in their home.

JONATHAN AND SARAH EDWARDS

Let’s take a peek at the family of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards. You may remember Jonathan Edwards for his famous sermon, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God.”Jonathan and Sarah had 11 children and were ardent in training their children for God. In 1900 A. Winship tracked down 1400 descendants of this family. By 1900 this godly marriage had produced…

13 college presidents, 65 professors, 100 lawyers and a dean of an outstanding law school, 30 judges, 60 doctors and a dean of a medical school, 80 holders of public office including, 3 United States Senators, 3 Mayors of large cities, 3 State governors, Vice President of the United States, and Controller of the United States Treasury.

Members of the family wrote 135 books and edited 18 journals and periodicals.

They entered the ministry in platoons, and sent 100 missionaries overseas as well as stocking many mission boards with lay trustees. They directed banks, insurance companies, owned coalmines, iron plants and vast oil interests. Winship states, “There is scarcely any great American industry that has not had one of this family among its chief promoters.”

Imagine what will happen when Christians all across America re-adopt God’s perspective on children, and along with making disciples of the lost all around the globe, are raising generations of Godly people within their own houses just like the Israelites of old. We will see revival, we will see shifts in culture, we will see God returning to America.

-Bobby Wilkinson

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Twitter