Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:3-5)
Last winter I enjoyed the opportunity to join an archery league, and I loved it! This week I hope to begin shooting again, and I am really looking forward to trying my hand at shooting arrows downrange for one more season of competition. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a great archer, but I do enjoy going to the range for a couple hours a week in these wintery South Dakota evenings. The exercise, camaraderie, and competition help to dust away the cobwebs of being locked up inside for too many hours during a long winter.
Last spring, as I was enjoying my time at the range, we began discussing the frequency in which archery is used to illustrate the Christian life; and by God’s grace I hope to consider just of few of these in a series of five devotions.
The 127th Psalm is one of the most familiar of these examples. Here, a mighty warrior is pictured as an archer, who is shooting of all things, his children as arrows into the world.
Now the Psalm itself is a psalm of King Solomon, and his topic is the blessing of a godly household. As parents, there is little which is more important to us than the wellbeing of our families, and particularly the wellbeing of our children.
What is the purpose of raising our children? There are some who despise the idea of children because they get in the way of our own ambitions. There are others who are helicopter parents, and they cannot let go of their children; as if the goal is to perpetually have our children reliant upon us for their very existence.
The Psalmist shows us a different priority; that is, our children are a blessing from God, and they are to be raised in the fear and admonition of the Lord (Pr. 22:6), so that they can be profitably sent out into the world as well-prepared adults, ready to defend the faith from all enemies. Our goal is not to keep them dependent upon us, nor to despise them, but rather to prepare them as arrows to be sent out into the world.
Every child is a blessing because every child is an image bearer of God. For the Christian in particular, we are reminded that these children are not only a gift from God, but they are also a gift which are to be prepared to enter the world as warriors for the advancement of the gospel message.
Treat these gifts from God with the dignity and care which is due to any good gift from our gracious Lord. As parents who have already sent four of our covenant blessings out into the world, my wife and I will testify to trepidation which a parent will experience as we watch the God given arrows leave the bow, and begin their own flight into an uncertain world. It is scary! What a comfort to remember that in the training up of our covenant youth, we are reminded of God’s covenant faithfulness: “They will not be ashamed.” Godly children bring joy to their parents. It is truly a humbling joy for any parent to watch these children whom we love so much, mature into godly, adults who are faithful to their Lord, active in their church, and godly witnesses to the grace of God in their own communities.
As “warrior parents” (verse 5), we all make plenty of errors; we don’t always hit the bullseye as we raise our children; shoot, sometimes we completely miss the entire target! Despite our own frailty, do not lose hope. Recall that ultimately it is God Himself who is preparing His own Christian soldiers, and His training is more than sufficient to remedy our own weakness.
Love those children. Value those children. Prepare those children to conduct themselves as sons and daughters of the Most-High. Then with full confidence, trust in the Lord of our salvation as these covenant blessings are sent out to serve the God who Himself builds and protects His church.