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The Home that God Builds
Arrows from Heaven
Psalm 127-128
 
For those of us who are in the middle of raising our kids, there is something that is easy to forget.  When he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984, Harmon Killebrew said, “My father taught me and my brother to play ball in the front yard. One day my mother came out and told him we were ruining the lawn. My father told her, ‘We’re raising kids, not grass.’”
 
Unfortunately, far too often, children become the expendables in our lives.  Everything else is more important than are they.  But God tells us that our children are gifts from God. We should treasure them and not take them for granted. In fact, listen to what Jesus said in
 
Mathew 18:5
 
Then he offered a very solemn warning:
 
Matthew 18:6
 
Jesus loves children, and those who harm children will answer to him.  We need to remember that when our patience grows thin or we are challenged by their behavior whether we are parents dealing with our own children at home or at church with the children God sends our way. 
 
If you are over the age of 40, the world is so much different than when we were children and youth.  In major ways, the world is so much different now and I’m afraid that we adults don’t realize the kind of world our children face each day, and how it has changed.
 
Kids in the ’30s grew up during the Depression when times were hard, everybody had to work, and a dollar was a lot of money. Kids in the ’40s grew up with World War II, Frank Sinatra, and Bogie and Bacall. Kids in the ’50s grew up with black and white television, “I Like Ike,” hula hoops, and Elvis Presley. Kids in the ’60s grew up with the Beatles, LSD, Vietnam, and violence in the streets. Kids in the ’70s grew up with Charlie’s Angels, disco, Saturday Night Fever, and the Doobie Brothers.
 
Kids in the ’80s grew up with crack cocaine, AIDS, MTV, PeeWee Herman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Nintendo, and Nightmare on Elm Street.
 
Kids in the ’90s grew up with the Simpsons, South Park, Internet chat rooms, and Marilyn Manson.
 
And the kids of this century are faced with alternate lifestyles, the legalization of marijuana, Justin Beiber and Beyonce’.  It’s a different world out there.
 
And in my estimation, raising kids has never been more difficult than it is right now.
 
In the 1940s, public school teachers reported the following as the top five student-related problems:
  • Running in the hallways
  • Chewing gum
  • Wearing improper clothing (having your shirttail out)
  • Making too much noise
  • Not putting paper in wastebaskets
Teachers today are now dealing with robbery, assault, personal theft, burglary and drug abuse.
 
More and more teachers are leaving the profession because of the lack of support from parents, threats of lawsuits and inability to discipline the kids.
 
Times have changed and not for the better. Our kids see more, they know more, they experience more, they grow up so much faster.
 
Dr. James Dobson said, “We must make the salvation of our children our number one priority. Nothing else is more important.” That represents a Christian view that places an extremely high value on our children as precious gifts from God.
 
With that as introduction, we turn to Psalm 127-128. These two short psalms were placed together for a reason. They speak of happy domestic tranquility that seems far removed from the chaos that is found in far too many homes today. They teach us how God feels about children and how they can be a blessing and not a burden.
 
In them we find four lessons concerning children.  Let me share them with you, then draw some conclusion s from them.  First of all,
 
1. Children are a Gift from God
 
Psalm 127:3
 
Here we learn that children come directly from the hand of God. They are gifts of grace sent from heaven to earth. The Bible tells us that God takes personal responsibility for the creation of life in the womb.
 
Throughout Scripture, you will find acknowledgments of God’s hand and activity when it comes to having children.  When the very first child born on the earth was born, Eve said of Cain, God has given me a son.”
 
It was God who gave Isaac to Abraham and Sarah.  By the way, He was the One Who gave Ishmael to Hagar as well.  God answered Leah’s prayers, and she became pregnant.
 
In Genesis 33:5, when Jacob inquired about the crowd of women and children with his brother Esau, Esau said, these are “the children God has graciously given your servant.”
 
Joseph says the same things of his sons in Genesis 48:9, identifying them as “the sons God has given me.”
 
Children are a “heritage” from God, a way of preserving the family into the next generation. All of us want to be remembered after we are gone. If you are a parent, you will be remembered by the children you leave behind. That legacy will remain long after your personal achievements have been forgotten.
 
Sometimes a couple can’t have children for various reasons. This text does not say that not having children is a sign of God’s judgment. It simply declares that children are a blessing from the Lord. In holding up this truth, it’s important that we say what the Bible says and not go beyond that.
 
What about those couples that desperately want children but cannot have them? I have observed that those couples often become parents to the children of the world. They are the ones who minister to the fatherless and the motherless.
 
Often they adopt children, they become foster parents, they work in a crisis pregnancy center, they tutor in the inner city, they teach Sunday School, and they reach out to at-risk children. So many children have no one who cares for them.
God bless those adults who show the love of Jesus to the children of the world.
 
There is no pleasure in life that can equal the pleasure of seeing your own children grow up. In fact, I heard about a Catholic priest, a Presbyterian minister and a Baptist preacher who were discussing the blessings of life.
 
The Catholic said the blessings of life begin with conception.  The Presbyterian said the blessings of life begin when the children are born.
The Baptist said the blessings of life begin when the children leave home!  It’s a wonderful thing to watch your children grow and begin to mature and take responsibility and grow in the Lord.
 
No one can be said to have lived in vain who leaves behind children who love the Lord and follow in his steps.  Children bring God’s love to us and they allow us to show the love of God.
 
By the way, did you ever think about the fact that there are no atheists in the nursery?  When you look into the face of your child, you will know that only God could have done this. Your doubts will vanish like the morning mist in summertime. Time and eternity meet in the heart of a child. Each one comes bearing the fingerprint of God.  The Lord Jesus loved little children … and so should we!
 
2. Children are like Arrows that need to be Sharpened and Aimed
 
Psalm 127:4
 
An arrow is small but powerful. Think what our children can do. Just as an arrow must be sharpened, so must we shape our children. An arrow can travel far. Who knows how far our children will go? An arrow must be aimed in order to hit the target. What are you aiming at?
 
Archers spend countless hours preparing their arrows. They carefully choose the right piece of wood, cut it precisely to size, then spend hours polishing, shaping, and fitting the feathers and the arrowhead. They carefully aim their arrows because an errant arrow can do great harm.
This week I ran across this statement, written over 100 years ago. “Parents must not trifle with their children, like idiots playing with sharp tools.” I agree. Too many parents trifle with their children then wonder why they don’t turn out well.
 
Unfortunately most Christian parents are playing defense with their children when they ought to be playing offense. Playing defense means hoping your children won’t smoke, won’t drink, won’t do drugs, won’t sleep around, and won’t get in trouble.
 
As good as that is, that’s too low a goal for Christian parents. We ought to raise our children to play offense – to learn how to change the world for Jesus Christ.
 
It’s amazing to me how much time, energy and expense we will put into making sure our kids are good ball players, cheerleaders, musicians and dancers, but put no effort into their spiritual development.
 
Our Sunday night and Wednesday night programs are some of the worst attended activities of the church, and much of the time it is because kids are involved in sports and other activities.
 
I would suggest that if that describes your family and you, your dreams for your children are way too small. We want them to excel in sports, win trophies and awards and recognition for dancing and gymnastics.  We stress about their education.  We help them find a career and settle down.  Make sure they choose the right mate and get a good job.  All that’s well and good, but it’s not enough, not by a long shot!
How much do you encourage your children to serve the Lord and learn His word and walk in His way and do His will?  It won’t happen by accident. And it won’t happen unless you help it to happen.  You must sharpen them like arrows and aim them in the right direction.
 
3. Children are the Future Strength of Society
 
Psalm 127:5
 
This verse seems to teach that large families are a special sign of God’s blessing. How full is “full?” That’s like asking “How long is long hair?”
 
The Bible doesn’t specify how many children you should have.  Adam and Eve had two and one of them twisted off.  Abraham and Sarah had one.  Jacob and Leah had ten, Jacob and Rachel added two more.  So there is not set number, but in every place it speaks to the subject, children are always a blessing, and by the way, many children are a sign of God’s favor.
 
That certainly goes against the flow of much that is taught today, even in evangelical circles.  In fact, if you have more children than society thinks you should, you will be classified as selfish and greedy.  After all, you’re consuming more of the world’s goods than others and you should be ashamed of yourself.
 
After all, you can take better care of fewer children and spend more money on them and provide a better life if there aren’t so many.  But those ideas are all foreign to the Bible.
They are bred from a humanistic approach to life and reflect the liberal ideologies that have become so prevalent in our society.
 
God doesn’t mandate how many children a couple should have; He just says if you’re quiver is full, you’re blessed.  Now quivers are like shoes, they come in many sizes. Figure out what size quiver you have and then ask God to help you fill it up. Age and health considerations play into the decision, but motive is also important. Having fewer children may be convenient but it may not always be the best decision.
 
In fact, I’m of the opinion that one of the reasons the world is in such a mess is because Christians decided to have fewer children.  We’re already outnumbered just by virtue of the majority not knowing Jesus. There are still many on the broad road to destruction and few on the narrow road to heaven.
 
Therefore it is imperative, if we will continue to have a chance at being successful in evangelism, that we raise up more witnesses.  How else do you explain how so many liberal idiots wind up in elected offices and important places?  They are the children of idiots who know nothing about Biblical virtue and morality and wind up leading by virtue of ratios.  There are just more of them to pick from.
 
And not only is there an impact on society in general, children are the Biblical version of Social Security. They provided for their parents in their old age. If parents have loving children, their future is more secure than if they had $5 million in the bank.
 
And the more you have, the better care can be given and the work load is spread more.  Parent, you may not realize it, but the time and effort you give to raising your children right will one day come back to either bless you or curse you.
 
Now there are no guarantees, but if you raise your children to serve and honor the Lord, you’ve got a better chance of having a loving, caring child to take care of you when you are old and feeble.  So you get to make the choice in the kind of care you want to receive.
 
Notice that last phrase in verse 5.
 
The city gate was the place where men of power and influence conducted their business. It was also the place where wise men ruled and made judgments. Men would meet their adversaries “in the gate.”
 
A father with many children has many defenders when he is falsely accused. They stand and testify to his good name. “Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off the doorstep” (Psalm 127:5 Psalms by Eugene Peterson).
 
Here is a family united to defend itself against all attacks. Note that nothing is said about money or power or position. God’s blessing is not seen in worldly wealth or the accumulation of “things” but in a happy family that rallies to the call whenever trouble comes.
 
This is a word to workaholic parents.  What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and yet loses his own family?
Raising children can be tiresome and difficult. Children are both a burden and a blessing. But the greater the promise, the more challenging will be the task of raising God’s children. It is likely that our children will be a handful before they become a quiverful.
 
4. Children are the Hope of the Home
 
Psalm 128:3, 4
 
The vine is a symbol of charm, beauty, and sexual allure. The woman in this verse offers a marked contrast to the faithless woman of Proverbs 7:11, of whom it is said, “She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home.”
 
In this Psalm the wife is attractive, alluring, charming and faithful. God’s ideal is not for a marriage to endure, but to grow happier, and better, and more enjoyable, and for a husband to still find his wife alluring to him after 20 years or 30 years or 40 years or 50 years.
 
The vine makes the house beautiful. It shades the verandah, cools the house, and enriches the table with ripe, succulent grapes. Thus is a godly wife to her husband. She is the crown of her husband who is her support and strength. He is happy everywhere because he is happiest at home.
 
Olive shoots speak of great potential for the future. Mature olive trees produce fruit, wood, and valuable oil. In the same way the children given by God have vast potential for good in this world.
What a privilege God gives us to be caretakers of his vessels of blessing for the world. No one can tell what a child may become.
 
In virtually every segment of society, the value and sanctity of the home is being threatened.  We live in a world that downplays the value of childhood beginning with the very issue of life in the womb.  Child abuse runs rampant.  Children are the forgotten victims of divorce.
 
In many cases, kids grow up too fast. They are left to raise themselves as more and more parents work to pay for the choices of their lifestyle.  It’s never been easy to be a child, but today the pressures are greater than ever.
 
Divorce continues to escalate.  Where there used to be some distinction between the numbers of those in church and not, that is no longer true.  The number of divorces among Christians is virtually the same as those who aren’t.
 
The aggressive homosexual supporters continue to gain ground as state after state, where voters have prohibited same-sex marriage, see judges legislate from the bench, overturn voter’s choices and allow homosexuals to marry.
 
It is indeed a very grim day in America as we see God’s Word ignored and His best refused.  But I still believe happy families are still possible where God’s Word is taken seriously and we partner with the Lord Jesus Christ in the building of our homes.
 
 
When we do, our families will be blessed, our children will prosper, our marriages will flourish, and Jesus Christ will be praised. And when our work on earth is done, we may look back with joy and say, “God blessed us with a happy Christian family.”
 
There is no greater reward, no better testimony, no higher goal for Christian parents. If we can say that when the day is done, we may go out of this world singing, knowing that we prevailed in the one area of life that matters the most.
 
A little pre-school girl was at the doctor's office. When the doctor was listening to the little girl's heart through a stethoscope, he asked her, "Who do I hear in there? Is Donald Duck in there? Is Barney in there?"
 
The little girl corrected him very seriously: "No! Jesus is in my heart; Barney is on my underwear!"
 
Today, would you commit your home to the Lord?  No matter the individual circumstances, whether you have babies in the womb or children in their retirement years, childless or a quiver full, single or married, would you today, do all you can to make sure your home is an honor to the Lord?

 

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