“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” (Psalms 127:3)
A family member recently gave birth to her first child. Amid the rush of a delivery room, the endless wait and pacing of the waiting room, and last-minute calls to soon-to-be grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts and uncles – one little voice lifted itself to pierce the cacophony of sound and declare its arrival. The scene is one of intense stress and anticipation until the moment that time stands still and all hearts melt for the newborn child.
Even if we have no children of our own, we can understand parental love. We have all seen a child’s excitement when receiving a gift. The enjoyment is mutual, since Scripture tells of a parent’s delight in giving their child gifts (Luke 11:11-13). Although our heart is soft for a crying child, chastisement in its proper perspective is an expression of parental love (Proverbs 13:24). Though children may at times disdain and spurn their parents, love welcomes the child home. This could not be seen more clearly than in the story of the Prodigal Son, whose father saw him returning “a great way off” (Luke 15:20) as though he’d been anticipating his son’s return. Such are the parameters of parental love.
Indeed, children are a delight. “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them…” (Psalms 127:5). With this delight comes responsibility. Our text points out that children are a gift from God. It is His alone to give or to withhold conception (Genesis 30:2). When speaking of His divine ownership, the Lord proclaims, “Behold, all souls are mine…” (Ezekiel 18:4). We must then see the responsibility of parents as being stewards of the children given to them by God. “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).
What is the purpose of this stewardship? A child is an opportunity to experience the love of a parent for that child. God the Father loves His children and desires this parental love to be experienced in typology. It is easier to realize the love of God toward His children when we contemplate our own love for our children.
I was not an easy child to raise. Knowing the stress I caused my physical parents, I can understand the stress that spiritual children bring our Heavenly Father. Nevertheless, the Lord “…is longsuffering to us-ward…” (2 Peter 3:9). Parents need to experience this same long-suffering for their children. Maybe that is why the psalmist said, “…the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalms 127:3b). Think of it as a little pay-back, a just reward.
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