David, Goliath and You
The idea of raising our children to be giant-killers may seem too violent a metaphor for some and too far fetched for others. But for me, it is an extremely accurate description of parenting, at least for those who want to raise their children with eternal significance.
The psalmist accurately described this challenge and privilege with these words: “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord . . . like arrows in the hand of a warrior . . .” (Psalm 127:3–4). This passage reveals the two primary parts of being a mom or dad—the joy of receiving the gift of a child from God, and the sobering responsibility of training the child for significance. The parent who values the gift will benefit most from its impact.
In biblical days bows, arrows, swords and spears were the primary tools for warfare. A warrior would much prefer dealing with an enemy at a distance with an arrow to doing hand-to-hand combat with a sword or spear. The point is, the bow and arrow were preferred instruments of war. The warrior had to have a sufficient number of arrows in his possession if he was going to engage the enemy with any measure of confidence. And those arrows had to be tried and true—fully capable of functioning according to their design.
This psalm gives us an unusual insight into the measure of confidence parents have in spiritual warfare when they have raised their children with eternal purpose. A child functioning according to his or her gift and design wreaks havoc on the powers of darkness. This is a side benefit to raising children correctly. Just as wise business leaders know how to make their money work for them even when they sleep, so it is with parenting. Our investment brings a return long after our children are out of our direct influence and focus. Raising children correctly brings spiritual dividends to our whole family line, even after the children are raised and out of the house.
In The Passion Translation, Psalm 127:5 reads this way:
Happy will be the couple who has many of them! A household full of children will not bring shame on your name but victory when you face your enemies, for your offspring will have influence and honor to prevail on your behalf!
Perhaps a word of caution is needed at this point: Children are not tools to be used for personal gain. In a sense, they are not even ours. They are on loan from God, and it is our responsibility to steward correctly God’s treasure in a way that pleases Him. Doing this right brings long-term benefits and influence on our family line for many generations.
Born into Conflict
We were born into a war. Every one of us. Even Adam and Eve were given the assignment to “subdue” the earth (Genesis 1:28), implying that there was disorder outside the Garden of Eden they lived in. They were given the responsibility to manage and expand the boundaries of that Garden until the whole earth mirrored its order and beauty.
Eden was the place of perfect peace and beauty. If the whole earth had become like the Garden, then God would have taken back a place of chaos through those made in His image, who functioned in relationship with Him. Living joyfully under God’s influence, they were the ones who were to rule. As such, they carried His authority as His delegated ones.
Adam and Eve’s sin disrupted the plan for peace and order that God had intended for the entire planet. Instead of subduing the earth, they were subdued by the one they obeyed—the serpent. Then Jesus, the eternal Son of God, became a man to accomplish on our behalf what we could not do for ourselves. As such, He is called the last Adam. The first Adam brought death into the world. The last Adam brought life:
For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17
He defeated sin, the grave and the powers of darkness on our behalf. This is the context into which all are born. We all were born into this war that has already been won. Because of this, we can be confident in our having been positioned for triumph. Jesus was vic- torious on our behalf, which makes our victory possible. And now, although still at war, we fight from victory. Not for it.
Take note of the phrase “reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Because of Jesus, parents and children alike are to reign in life. Reigning in life is not reigning over people. It is not about the power of title or position. Reigning in life means that money does not control me. I manage it for the glory of God. Conflict does not control me. I control my response to problems in a way that represents Jesus accurately. Reigning in life is part of the inheritance for all who follow Him. It is time to become completely absorbed in this mandate!