Heaven Help The Home - Pt. 2
Topic: Sunday Sermons Scripture: Psalm 127
Let’s take our Bibles and turn to Psalm 127. I want to finish the message I started last week entitled, Heaven Help the Home. Heaven Help the Home. Psalm 127, would you stand in honor of God's Word? Let's read it again together.
Psalm 127, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep. 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." So reads God's Word. You may be seated. Heaven Help the Home.
Charles Hodge was the president of Princeton Theological Seminary during its heyday in the mid 19th century. During that time, Princeton Theology and Princeton Seminary was the gold standard for those in reformed circles. It was on the cutting edge of the battle against biblical Christianity and liberalism. But in the midst of all of that, Charles Hodge, like all great theologians, also addressed the issue of the family, and marriage, and home life.
I love what he said. This great theologian said this. "The head of the family should be able to read the scriptures as well as to lead in prayer. All persons subject to the watch care of the church should be required to maintain in their households this stated worship of God. A man's responsibility to his children as well as to God binds him to make his house a bethel. If not a bethel, it will be a dwelling place of evil spirits."
I like that thought. I've been camping on it, mulling it over. Every man has a duty to make his house a bethel. Now, if you don't know your Bible, bethel means house of God. Charles Hodge is challenging every man, and every father especially, to work under God, alongside of God for his glory in turning their house, their home, their marriage, their family into a veritable bethel, a house of God, a place where God's blessing abides. That's a great thought. That's a wonderful goal and it's a beautiful picture.
I've been thinking about that. How do we do that? How do we turn our houses into bethels, the house of God where the blessing of God abides? How do we make our homes God's second address? Well, I think a good place to start is Psalm 127, and we started looking at it last Sunday. This is ancient wisdom for the modern home. This is a family that knows God's blessing. It's a picture of a home that's sturdy, growing, and deeply satisfied in God, a home that's living under God's benediction. What we have here is theologically speaking an architectural drawing of a home that is a bethel, a home that is designed by God, built with His help, and lived for His glory.
Let's pick up where we left off. We kind of broke this passage down into four thoughts: the context, the caution, the contradiction, and the celebration. Now, I'm not going to reheat that dinner. We covered three of those thoughts. The context I'll simply say this. The context is the journeying of God's people up to the city of Jerusalem three times a year during designated festivals and feasts to worship God.
If you'll look at the superscription in your Bible, you'll see it's described as a song of ascent. What you have here is the picture of the people of God either in the spring celebrating Passover, in the summer celebrating Pentecost, or in the fall celebrating Tabernacles gathering together, leaving their villages, and their towns, and their cities, and going up to the city of David, Jerusalem, where the temple was and worshiping God. As they join with each other along the way, around campfires during the night hours, they sing, and they worship God as families, and they remind themselves of the importance of the family in the nation's life, that the strength of the family determines the health of the nation. They must seek together God's blessing. That's what we saw.
There's 15 of these songs. They stretch from Psalm 120 to Psalm 134. We reminded ourselves of the importance of the home. God began His revelation back in Genesis 2 with a declaration on the importance of the home and the establishment of marriage between a man and a woman as the creation order. Marriage between a man and a woman isn't a social construct. It is a divine mandate revealed by the heart of the Creator. We saw that the home and marriage is the building block of civilization. The home was the first school where children were taught before there was a school. The home was the first church where the Word of God was taught before there was a church. The home was the first government where authority was exercised before there was a government.
We reminded ourselves of that. We reminded ourselves that Satan targets the home as he targeted Adam and Eve to disrupt God's purpose and plans. We saw that the home is the primary place of discipleship where the gospel is explained and the mystery of God's love for his people put on display. With God's benediction and with God's grace, it affords us some of life's greatest joys.
Then we saw what we call the contradiction. The contradiction is that it was written by King Solomon, and the contradiction is that he violated what he preaches here. He had 700 wives, 300 concubines. He married foreign wives. He married outside the will of God. His heart was drawn away from God. His own son, Rehoboam, will be out of control and lead the nation into a time of civil conflict where the nation divides between the 10 tribes of Israel to the north and the two tribes of Judah to the south. This guy didn't live what he wrote, and we reminded ourselves of the danger of that contradiction, of hearing the Word and not doing it, James chapter 1.
I think when it comes to the family, it would remind us, wouldn't it, that you cannot teach more character than you know? That advice without example is tragic and usually rejected. It has been said, wasn't it Josh McDowell that said to a generation that rules without relationship in the home leads to rebellion? Can I add another thought to that? Rules without reality lead to rebellion. Our children need to see in us what we mouth on a Sunday and what we say to them by way of instruction.
Wasn't it Spurgeon who said, "A man's life is always more forcible than his speech. When men make stock of him, they reckon his deeds as pounds and his words as pence"? Let me translate that for you. They reckon his deeds as dollars and his words as cents. Actions speak louder than words. Sadly in Solomon's case, his actions speak louder than his words. But this is God's Word to us through a flawed vessel. We need to obey where Solomon failed.
We then looked at the caution. Maybe I am reheating this dinner. We looked at the context. We looked at the contradiction. We looked at the caution. The caution is this, of failing miserably without God or succeeding more miserably without God, because Solomon brings a little bit of the book of Ecclesiastes into the Psalms and tells us, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, set up late, eat the bread of sorrows, for he gives his beloved sleep."
This isn't a call to laziness. This isn't a call not to build, not to work, not to watch, not to protect, but it is in doing what we can do, we need God's help in the doing of it and we need God to do what alone He can do. We reminded ourselves of that, that God must be the antecedent to all that we do. When it came to parenting, there's a lot of anxiety, there's a lot of exhaustion and exasperation that's marking the family today. We reminded ourselves let's build our homes, let's watch over our children and our communities, let's rise up early and do a good day's work, but at some point you've got to lay it all down. You've got to give those children to the Lord. You've got to commit that day to Him and fall asleep in the knowledge that He can do what you can't do. He's watching over your house, and He's building your family, and He will multiply your efforts.
Let me just say something. I was researching for the sermon this week and came across a great article by Paul Tripp in his book Parenting, chapter 13. It's a chapter entitled Rest, and he just seems to reinforce ... That's an excellent book by the way. He says this, "Perhaps the best thing we can do for our children is not something you do for them, but something that you do for yourself. Here it is. The most important thing you can do for your children is to remember the one who sent you, and in remembering the one who sent you, teach your heart to rest."
What's he saying? That's a wonderful thought. Real parenting begins in resting. Not feverish activity, not being overly anxious, overly protective of your children, not being riddled through with worry and anxiety. That's not displaying biblical parenting. Biblical parenting begins in resting, where you realize, as Paul Tripp says in his book, you're not an owner. You're an ambassador. You don't own your children. God has given them to you. You're His ambassador. You're His representative to put Him on display before them and remind them that they are His.
At the end of the day, parenting is really not about what you do for them, but what you do for yourself in remembering to rest in the one whose representative you are. That He's a better parent than you, that He loves your children more than you do. His plan for them is wiser than yours, and his commitment is deeper, amen? That's a good book. Maybe get yourself that, take a look at it, or we'll get it for our little book stall.
Let's keep moving. Let's get to the point where we left off, The Celebration. Having talked about God's curse upon a life apart from Him, because unless the Lord builds the house, you labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, you watch in vain. Having talked about the danger of failing miserably without God or succeeding more miserably without God, He now passes on the blessing of God upon a home, what I call Celebration.
Look at verse 3, "Behold,." In the Hebrew, that's an attention grabber. It's kind of, "Hey! Check this out." He's gone on here to talk about the path to true happiness and real fulfillment. Having talked about the sorrow that will mark a home where God is not its architect and builder, he goes on to talk about the happiness that will mark a home where God is the author of all that takes place.
There's three things here in verses 3 through 5 regarding children, regarding family life. This is beautiful stuff. The responsibility of children, the reward of children, and the refuge of children. Let's begin with the responsibility of children. The word heritage here in verse 3, "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord," the Hebrew here speaks of a land that's been given to Israel as a possession. It's a word that speaks of a land that has been trusted to someone to take care of. You can read about that in Psalm 105 verse 11 and Psalm 106 verse 5. We would deduce from that, that this is a word that speaks of an assignment, or an allotment, or an appointment.
What's the point? It's my thought the responsibility of children. Our children are an assignment from God. He's the one that brings them about. They're fearfully made in their mother's womb. God has purposed their lives and when they're born and placed into the hands of parents. That's their assignment from God, a trust, a stewardship.
In fact, that thought of stewardship comes out of Exodus 2 verse 9, a beautiful little story that I want to remind you about. Remember Moses and how his mom and dad put him in a little ark made of bulrushes and they float him down the river, trusting him to God's providence? In God's providence, he gets caught up on the side of a river bank and who happens to come along but the daughter of Pharaoh. What a coincidence. No, what a providence. She falls in love with this little baby, and you'll know the story. Miriam, Moses' sister, has tagged along, ducking in and out of the hedges and the undergrowth along the river bank. She notices that the daughter of Pharaoh is taking this child and then she overhears what's being said. The daughter of Pharaoh says, "You know, I need to get someone to nurse this child." Miriam just comes out of nowhere and says, "You know what? I can find you a Hebrew mother who will take care of this child." Do you know who that mother was? It was Moses' mother, unbeknownst to the daughter of Pharaoh. Talk about providence.
I love what Exodus 2 verse 9 says. Every mother and father needs to learn this little verse. Here's what the daughter of Pharaoh says. "Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages." Now, that's a deal. Can you imagine the heartache, the burden as those parents released that child, trusting him to the providence of God before he is slain with the other sons of Israel? Before the day is done, God in a miraculous act of providence has Moses' mother nursing him for wages. I think God answered her prayer exceedingly, abundantly above all that she could ask or think.
Someone said this, God says that to every mother still. Our children do not belong to us, they belong to God. Take this child, God says, And nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages. Remember, Christian mother," I would put in parenthesis and also father, "God always pays good wages. If you are faithful to the sacred trust committed to you, you will indeed lay up for yourself treasure in heaven."
We need to remember that in the economic pressures of raising a child. We need to remember that when we impoverish ourselves physically, financially, emotionally in the raising of our family. God's going to pay good wages. The children are a heritage. They're his allotment, his loan. Take good care of them. It's a great thought.
It is a reminder by the way, just as we said a few moments ago, that God is their ultimate parent. That's why again be responsible, work hard, be diligent, but sleep well. Trust your children to the sovereignty and providence of God. Realize that the God who made them made them for Him. They're for Him, from Him, and to Him. He's the ultimate parent. We're only instruments in the hands of the Redeemer. His love is stronger, His wisdom greater. His care is better. His plan is wiser. His commitment is deeper. Rise up early, but don't stay up late. Ask God for the gift of sleep, and trust your children to him, and rest in Him even though they're your responsibility.
What is that responsibility? Well, it is to remind yourself and remind them that they have been made in the image of God. They are not the product of random natural selection, that they are uniquely crafted and made by God. He's got a plan and a purpose for their life, and that is to reflect his glory and to know Him and His Son Jesus Christ. We're to bring them up in the way that they should go. We're to bring them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord, and we're to do that alongside God and under God, because they're our responsibility.
The one who gave us them sees us as ambassadors, as His representatives to our children, and it's our job to represent the Lord to them. Not only to talk about how they're made by Him and made in His image, but they are made after the likeness of Adam. They are sinful. They need to be saved. They need to be redeemed. They need a new birth. The marvel is that the God who made them was made a little lower than the angels, made flesh, dwelt among us in Jesus Christ, was made sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
What am I saying? We've got to tell them the story of creation. We've got to tell them the story of the gospel, that the Creator loves the creation, and that their purpose in life is to reflect His image and to love His Son. That's our job. That's what should consume us. We are to lead our children, pray for them, provide for them, love them, enjoy them, worship with them, model Christ before them, discipline them, encourage them, teach them, and dedicate them to the one whose they truly are.
I love that story of Hannah and Samuel. "Lord, if you'll give me him, I want a child. Open up my womb." God does that graciously in her life. She says, "I'm going to give him back to you. You gave him to me in the first place." In fact, Samuel means what? Gift of God. That's the parent's role. God gives us children not to own them, but to be ambassadors before them, to responsibly teach them of the one who made them, and made them for Himself, and who was made sin in Jesus Christ that they might know Him for all eternity.
Some of you this morning are the victims of outsourcing. We've watched the challenge of the modern world and the new economy. Some of our jobs in California, especially in the midwestern parts of our nation, has been gutted by outsourcing, where things can be made cheaper elsewhere than our own country, maybe Mexico, or somewhere in China, or some other country, with poorer wages, poorer living conditions for the workers, therefore, you lose your job. Your job is being outsourced. That's one of the challenges of our nation, and our leaders have got to think that through in the new world, in the new economy.
But I would remind you as parents of the danger of outsourcing your children. Tony Evans said this, "The single greatest reason why we are losing a generation is because the home is no longer the place of the transference of the faith. We live in a day of outsourcing. Today we have a generation of parents that outsource their children." Now, some do that deliberately and irresponsibly. I think some are not aware of the danger of that, where you outsource your children to public education, where you outsource your children to the scout master, where you outsource your children to the youth pastor, where you outsource your children to the sports coach.
Now, let me say, none of those things are wrong. It's not wrong to send your child to a public education. It's not wrong to put your kid in scouts. It's not wrong to have your kid on a soccer team. It's not wrong that you would want your youth pastor to help your kids come to know Jesus Christ. But all of that is supplemental to your primary role of schooling your children, of raising your children, of teaching your children. Others can help, but others are not there to replace you or to compete with you. They're there to come alongside you. It's your job to teach your children, to expand their mind, to preach the gospel, to confront their rebellion.
Write down 2nd Kings 4 verse 19. It's the sad story of a father who falls down on his job. The story relates to the ministry of Elisha, the prophet. He helps a family, a Shunammite woman who's without child, and yet under his ministry and God's providence that woman becomes pregnant, has a little boy, and that little boy's the apple of her eye and the attention of her affection.
One day, the little toddler seems to get out into the field and he gets sunstroke. He gets sunstroke. You know what the sad thing is? The father doesn't stop what he's doing and maybe grab the kid, carry him under the shade of a tree, get some water, splash his face, and love on the child. You know what the Bible says in 2nd Kings 4:19? "Take him to his mother."
Now, on the one hand we could say that's a natural thing. I think mothers are better nurses than fathers, because your dad'll say, "Oh, get up. You'll be all right," and your mother says, "Oh, come over here, honey." We all know that. You want mom to nurse you, but I don't think that's what's going on here. I think you've just got a man that's too busy to take care of his own child. "Take him to his mother." He was outsourcing his own responsibility.
There you have what I call the responsibility of children. By the way, I want to salute what many of our families are seeking to do. As an eldership and leadership, we see the passion and the intentionality that marks many of your homes, and we're thankful for that. This is just an encouragement to those that are already doing it to keep doing it, and it is a new challenge to those maybe new to the faith, those who don't have maybe a Christian upbringing and background and you've now got your own family. You need to realize a biblical theology of your children. Your children are a heritage from God. They're a loan. They're a stewardship. They're a trust. Don't be monkeying with it. Don't be messing it up.
Number two, what I call the reward of children, the reward of children. Children are a blessing, not a burden. Look at verse 3. "The fruit of the womb is a reward." Speaking about procreation and the birth of a child, a woman here is viewed as like a fruitful tree. Her womb bears fruit, and the fruit is children. God said that's a reward. Children are a source of happiness, not inconvenience. They're a wise investment. They're not a drag on your finances.
You'll notice that this Psalm, like a lot of the Bible, is kid friendly. Kid friendly. You've got restaurants that are kid friendly. You've got parks that are kid friendly. The Bible is kid friendly. The Bible loves children, speaks wonderfully about them, and Psalm 127 verse 3 is a prime example. Children are one of heaven's best gifts. They're more than a biological product. They're more than a tax exemption, and they're anything but a nuisance, most of the time.
According to our text, they are a bundle of joy, wrapped in God's grace, and dropped from the very windows of heaven. Just hear it again. "Behold, children." "Hey, listen up! Get this." "Children are a heritage from the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward." I like that. I think the Bible's saying, "Hey! Give me your attention. Behold, listen up. You've got to get this."
I think the implication first is because that's not where your culture is. That's not where America is or is heading it seems. I mean this very week the headline says we maybe need to think about whether we should have children. We've had the grotesque spectacle of politicians can't even bring themselves to support a bill, a born alive bill, where we as a nation commit to taking care of children born outside the womb. "Behold, listen up," because you're not going to get that out there. There might have been a generation ago we got this kind of stuff, but that's fast disappearing in America. It's a mirage.
This would remind us, this is what the church is to be in the world, a body of people, a group of families who see children as a responsibility number one, and they see those children as a gift from heaven. They need to remember that in a world where abortion is legal, where we actually murder our own. Motherhood and stay-at-home moms are degraded. Watch movies, read magazines. Why in the world would any capable, gifted woman give her life away to the raising of her bairns and her little ones? She's better and bigger than that. That's what you hear. I would say any women is capable of doing more than that, but the Bible would say there's nothing greater than that. But that's the world we're in.
Singleness is idealized, so don't worry about not getting married til you're in your mid-30s. You want to travel, don't you? You want to enjoy a nice lifestyle, don't you? The Bible talks about the benefits of singleness, but not in that sense. Singleness is good if you're going to take that time where you don't have responsibilities to a wife, or children, or home to give that to the Lord, not to go skiing or buy yourself a sports car. Nope, that's the world we live in.
Contraception, which separates the pleasure of sex from procreation, is readily available. I'm not condemning contraception. I don't take a position that it doesn't have its place in the providence of God, but we've got to be very careful because we've got to remember that it separates the act of sex from procreation, and that's dangerous and that's unhelpful.
If you listen to the left and those who want to reconstruct our society, the next mantra is what? Daycare is the next human right, because now women have abandoned the home, so daycare is the next human right. I could go on. That's the world. If you put it all together, it works against the biblical idea of marriage, child bearing, and the role of the woman as the primary homemaker.
"Behold! Look aknew. Come with fresh eyes. Children are a responsibility. Children are a reward." I want to go in a direction with this for a few moments. Bear with me. I can't but take from this text, because I don't think there's anything but to take from this text, this idea that having several children within your marriage is the happy pursuit of mom and dad as Christians. The Christian understands in most cases adulthood means marriage. Marriage means children.
To the young people, you're in your late teens and early 20s. You should be thinking about marriage. When you get married, you'll be thinking about children. That should excite you. That should be a prayer and a passion, but in some cases it's not. Now, I know many young people, especially girls, are dying to get married, but I'm talking about those who seem to be wanting to delay it. I want to know the reason why. If it's a good reason, a kingdom reason, I'm up for that. But if it's you just taking care of yourself, running from responsibility, you're running from a biblical mandate to raise a generation for gospel purposes. You should marry and you should have children.
Genesis 1 verse 28, "Go and multiply and subdue the earth." Children are God's reward. The womb of a woman has been given to bear fruit for the gospel and for God's purposes. The Bible promotes procreation. The home is incomplete without children. That's how the Bible seems to present it. Barrenness was mourned over. God's purpose was for married couples to have children, because children have a God given purpose.
When I talk about procreation, I don't want you to get the idea I'm just advocating for adding a bunch of human units to the multiplication of mankind. No, procreation's far bigger than that. Procreation is the idea that a child is born with the image of God, and like the parents who's God's ambassadors and representatives, that child would be brought up to love the creator, know the creator, and reflect the creator, work alongside the creator in the subduing of the earth and the bringing of his kingdom and rule. That child will grow up to love the Lord Jesus Christ and be his ambassador to the world.
Why have children? So that the image of God, and the rule of God, and the gospel can be spread across the world. That's your responsibility. That's the beauty of what we're talking about. Adulthood is for marriage, and marriage for children.
Look. Circumstances, physical limitations, perhaps age. If you marry at 75 or remarry at 75, I understand unless your name's Abraham, it's probably not going to happen. Okay, I get that, but circumstances, perhaps a period of singleness in your life, age, all of those qualifications set aside, to deliberately choose not to have children is to choose against God's will. There's a growing childlessness in the church, expanded singleness that's apart from kingdom purposes. The Bible would say that's wrong. We're joining the world in rebellion against God's design for the family.
This is pretty provocative, but I want to read it because it shocked me but I thought it was good and challenging. Voddie Baucham said this, "Somehow we've come to believe that children are a burden instead of a blessing. If our churches are going to stem the tide of cultural and moral decay, we must change our disposition towards children. We decry the work of the abortionists but seldom say a word to the intentional childless couple who slay even the possibility of life in the womb." It's a good word.
Now again, yeah, you can say, "What about fostering and adoption?" I say amen, hurrah, do it. That was going on by the way in that culture too, but where possible fruit comes from your womb and children are from the Lord between you and your husband and wife. It's all of that and above. We mustn't run from that mandate.
I've told you before of the little fellow who went to therapy and said, "You know what? I'm worried, because my dad slaves away at his job night and day. I lack for nothing. He's setting aside a college fund so that I can pick whatever school I want. My mom, she works every day washing, ironing, cleaning up after me and my dad. She takes care of me when I'm sick." The therapist looked at her and said, "Well, you know what? What are you worried about?" To which he replied, "I'm worried they might try and escape." Let's not escape the biblical mandate, the creation mandate, the Great Commission implication of bearing children for God's glory. They're His reward and they're a blessing.
Here's the last thought. I've got enough looks. I want to move on. The responsibility of children, the reward of children, the refuge of children. This is an interesting thought, verses 4 and 5. The image here is a little foreign to us, "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." Having talked about the blessing of the home and the reward of children, Solomon immediately makes it concrete.
Now, we have emphasized what parents do for children. Solomon now is turning that and he's talking about what children do for parents, which is an interesting study in itself. I was reading Roy Zook this week in his helpful book Precious in His Sight. He says, "Children ought to honor and respect their parents all their days, obey them when they're under their roof, accept their discipline, hear their instruction, imitate their ways, defend them, and care for them in later life." If you need verses for that, I'll get you them.
That's what we're dealing with here. Having talked about the parents' responsibility, Solomon's saying after all that hard work and all that investment, you can draw on that investment, because children become a parent's refuge.
Here's the picture. It's the image of a warrior. By all implication, Solomon's really addressing fathers and sons, although it has certainly implication for mothers and daughters, but it's a picture of a warrior with his quiver, his pouch on his shoulder, with his five, six, seven arrows, arrows which he has picked and shaped, arrows that he will aim accurately at the enemy, arrows that he will release to go where he cannot go. That's all in that. It's a beautiful picture.
Solomon is saying our children's like that. They protect us. They come to our defense in the face of war, litigation, and a sense of mortality. I like what Walter Kaiser, the great Old Testament scholar, says on this very verse. "Children are the best investment program going, for they are living assets. No one will put us to shame in the city gate when we have many children to come to our defense. Children are God's inheritance and his reward."
In some sense, several children to a mom and dad, they're pictured as a little mini army that will rise up and honor the parents that honored them. It's a beautiful picture. It's life coming full circle. It's what we all want. We want to help our children get up. We want to release them out into life. But if we've done our job right, and the Lord has built alongside us, and we've built a home for his glory, those children will be there for us til our dying day, loving on us, respecting us, and where necessary defending us and protecting us. That's the image. It's a great image.
Verse 5, "They shall not be ashamed at the gate with the enemies." The city gate was the place where the elders met. It was like the city courtroom. It's where commerce took place. The image is this. The real application would be that mom and dad is being accused of something or dad is being accused of something, and you know what? If there's an injustice going on or whatever, the sons arrive, swords in hand, spears in hand, and they're going to defend their father. They will speak against the enemies at the gate.
See, you've got this beautiful picture of children rising up to look after their parents. It's beautiful. Because you know what? When you get to it, life begins with our children living in dependence upon us, and old age will bring us as parents to a place where we are dependent on them. It's a beautiful picture. Children are a responsibility, they are a reward, and they are arefuge.
You know what? Duane Litfin takes this in a slightly different direction as we close. Those are physical accusers, but there's an accuser of the brethren, right? That's Satan. Here's what he says, "In our old age, when the accuser of the brethren stands to challenge us at the gate of death, charging us with a wasted life, godly children will constitute our greatest refutation." You see what he's saying? That time will come, you'll look back on your life. We've all got blotches on our copy book. We're all got days we've wasted. We've all got regrets that hurt us. The enemy will stand over us and try and make our death miserable. We'll take refuge in the gospel and the blood of Jesus, but we'll take refuge in the fact that in God's providence around our table will be our sons and our daughters who love Jesus Christ and who are there as a refutation against the wasted life. Happy is the man that has children like that.
My own father just shared that with me recently. He's 85, still in pretty good health. He's been looking over his life. Like any man, he's got his regrets. I says, "Dad, your two sons and your daughter love the Lord." He shared that Angela had just called him, our oldest, that week and told him how much she loved him and how his life had impacted hers. It made him feel good, kind of assuaged some of the sorrow and introspection that was going on. That's the way it should be. Children are a heritage. They're a reward. Like the arrows in the hand of a warrior, they will come to the comfort and the defense of their parents.
Lord, we thank you for this beautiful, beautiful picture of family life. It stands in dramatic contrast to our culture where the family is being decimated, where marriage is being redefined, where children are being murdered. We can't even bring ourselves to see the grotesqueness of late term abortion and born alive issues of those who've got disability. Forgive us. Be merciful. May we as the church be something different.
Lord, help us to rest, to realize we are ambassadors, not owners. Help us to do something for our children by doing something for ourselves by falling back into the arms of a sovereign, omnipotent, wonderful God who watches over the city and builds the family. Help us to take our responsibility seriously.
I pray for the young people, that they would not be selfish, that they would block their ears to the culture. We pray for growing marriages in our church that begin in Christ, for families that have children. We pray for our children. Thank you for them. We pray that they would not get drawn into a culture where we read about those who are disobedient to parents, but they would give themselves to loving their parents all their days and honoring them all their life so that they might live long in the land which the Lord their God has given them. Lord, we just commend ourselves to you afresh in Jesus' name, amen.
More in Heaven Help The Home
February 24, 2019Heaven Help the Home - Pt. 1