In our previous article, we looked at what child dedication is. In this article, I will be looking at the significance of children in the bible. I will be looking just at a few of them. The theme of childhood, both spiritual and physical runs through the entire bible and it is one that we cannot ignore. Every time a child is born in the bible, our antennas need to prepare to receive a wonder within that story. Isaac, Moses, Samuel, Samson, John – the Baptist, Jesus… Jesus! No mention of a child has gone without its fair share of wins.
Children are a Mark of Divine Favor.
We see how the lack of children brought sorrow to those who did not have and joy to those who had. Having numerous families was regarded as a mark of divine favor. Women spent nights and days in prayer asking God to give them children. It is not an obvious thing to have children. By divine, I mean of God. So favor that comes from God or favor that is of God has the characteristics of God. Children are an obvious guarantee of the propagation of a family line. It is no wonder that anyone who did not have a child felt like they would be the last of their family line and there wouldn’t be any continuation. I mean, after the Lord has said you be fruitful, it would be sad if there was no way to be fruitful. Children are the fruits of your womb they are a gift of the Lord. It brings one great pride to have a child or many for that matter. The word of God says, that the children of your wife will be like olive shoots around your table. (Psalm 128:3)
Behold, children are a gift (Heritage) of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. (NASB)Psalm 127: 3
And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned.(ESV)Genesis 21: 7-8
We also see how much Rachel the wife of Jacob valued having a child when she did not have a child of her own. She was okay with dying if she wouldn’t give Jacob a child. Genesis 30 verse 1 says; When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” (ESV).
Children are Representative of Offspring/ Descendants.
Another significance of Children is, they are a key determinant of offspring. In scriptures, the term child is used to define a tribe or even a nation. This extends also to mean that children are key to identity. For instance, the children of Israel meant the entire Israelite nation, the Children of Moab, Meant the entire Moabite nation, Children of Edom = Edomites. We are the children of God. Yes, you and I are children of God. We are representatives of the nation of believers. We see 3 very popular identifiers used in scriptures. The word of God does not limit to those three, there are more. We read of the children of the world, the children of light, and children of obedience. Where do you think you belong?
Children of the world and the children of light are found in the gospel according to Dr. Luke, “And the lord commended the unjust steward because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light. (KJV)“. The simplest this can get is that the reference that Jesus makes here about the children of the world is those who do not conform to the ways of the kingdom of God. Those are the children we are talking about in this case.
We are children of light. The letter to the church in Thessalonica referred to them as the children of light. also the children of the day. The reference here is in comparison to light and dark, day and night. Here they are representatives. They represent the entire lineage of children who abide by the laws of light.
For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. (ESV)1 Thessalonians 5:5
The nation of the obedient children is also referred to as children of Obedience.
[Live] as children of obedience [to God]; do not conform yourselves to the evil desires [that governed you] in your former ignorance [when you did not know the requirements of the Gospel]. (AMP)1 Peter 1:14
Children are Representative of Simplicity and Humility.
Children are the representatives of simplicity. Children are not complicated. One Significance of children is how their innocence, curiosity, and everything calm just attracts anyone to them. Humility is that attitude that one feels not above or better than the others around them. The greatest in the kingdom of heaven are those who humble themselves like children – Matthew 18:4. Jesus while on a lengthy sermon on Marriage triggered something in the hearts of the parents who were in the congregation and were convicted to bring their children to Him. While it was customary to bring children to the elders on the day of atonement for blessing, this one was special because the parents brought the children to God himself. It is this third significance that brings to us the importance of dedicating children. Child dedication is the point where the parents and/ or guardians bring their children to God. They welcome them to church. Jesus lay hands on them, the standard sign of bestowing blessings upon another.
Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away. (ESV)Matthew 19: 13-15
Children are Representative of Naivety & Immaturity
In scripture, we also see another significance of children as those who do not have experience. I did not use this in my sermon on children’s dedication though, but I find it important to this article. Children are not sophisticated. Immaturity means that something or someone has not grown. The reference to children especially in the letters to the churches by the Apostle Paul refers to those churches and individuals who had just started their walk with God. It makes more sense when we think of this as a stage in our spiritual growth. There were things we used to do earlier in our walk and relationship with God that we don’t do anymore. This is because we know better, we have become better and we have grown in understanding. In the first letter to the church in Corinth, the apostle puts it this way, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. (ESV)“. This means that as a phase of life, we will all outgrow our childhood. There is a season when what we do is not approved of adulthood and it comes to an end. It, therefore, helps us to understand the depth of the childish nature of wickedness. We are called to be childish when it comes to wickedness and mature in our understanding. As our relationship with God grows, we get better and we mature in our knowledge of him.
Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.(ESV)1 Corinthians 14:20
We have seen the significance of children in this article. The four I focused on are just a baseline of what they represent and what they have been representing throughout scripture. We have seen children as a mark of divine favor, children as a representative of offspring or identity, children as a representative of simplicity and humility and we concluded with children as a representation of naivety or immaturity. In the next article we will look at those children who were dedicated and why the dedication of children is important.
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