Theme: Raising Godly Families
In these lessons, we learn to look to God for life’s purpose.
Scripture: Psalm 127:1-5
In today’s study we continue our look at truths that can be recognized in this psalm. These include the truths that 1) the growth of a family is God’s work; 2) God’s blessing on the city begins with his blessing on the family; and 3) the growth of families is slow and unpretentious. Today we conclude with one last point.
4. We cannot raise our families without God. If it is a vain act to build a house without God or watch over a city without depending on God to preserve it, then it is even greater folly to try to raise a family without God. A house is at least an inanimate object that will benefit from sound workmanship, and threats to an ancient city were mostly only from enemies outside the city. But what about ourselves and our children? We carry the seeds of our destruction within us. We are sinful people, with rebellious spirits and an inborn tendency to turn our backs upon God. Like ourselves, our children are also rebellious, obstinate, self-centered and wayward.
What must we do? Obviously, we must seek God’s help and do everything we are told to do in order to raise our children well. We need to pray for our children, teach them the Bible, bring them to church and, above all, set an example by living for God ourselves. If we do this, the work expended on our families will not be worthless or in vain. On the contrary, God will bless us greatly, and our children, too.
Thus far we have been thinking of houses, cities and families literally, as we should, since this is the way the psalmist obviously intends his words to be taken. But these are pilgrim psalms, and we can hardly apply them to ourselves without thinking of our own Christian lives. For us the house that is being built is God’s spiritual temple, composed not of earthly materials but of “living stones” (1 Peter 2:5). The city is not Jerusalem, important as it has been as a symbol of God’s presence in this world, but the heavenly “city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10). The family involved is not our mere physical family, but the whole spiritual family of those who belong to Jesus Christ (John 1:12, 13).
This is the work in which we are engaged as Christian people. We are workers for God and are coworkers with Jesus Christ. We are engaged in important projects. But our effort will be useless if we are not guided and blessed by God. Referring to the images of verse 1, I notice two important works: 1) building a ministry, which often becomes merely a money-making business; and 2) defending the faith against false teaching, which often becomes merely a self-serving and self-promoting crusade. Efforts like these are useless unless it is God who is building our spiritual house and acting to defend the spiritual city.
As for families, well, the engendering and birth of new spiritual children is God’s work, and we must look to him to do it. In our society it is possible, I suppose, to have too many children. But it is never possible to have too many spiritual children. Therefore, blessed is the man or woman—or church or nation—whose quiver is full of them.
What can go wrong in building a Christian ministry? In defending the faith?
What should be done to safeguard these efforts?
Reflection: Think of children in your sphere of spiritual influence. How can you encourage and nurture them?
Key Point: We need to pray for our children, teach them the Bible, bring them to church and, above all, set an example by living for God ourselves.
For Further Study: Download and listen for free to Joel Beeke’s message, “Children in the Church.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)