The Bricks and Mortar
by Charles R. Swindoll
If a relationship with God is the foundation of a home (Psalm 127:1–2), the children are the bricks and mortar. Wise King Solomon continues his celebration of the strong home with a focus on the value of children.
Children Born within the Home
Behold, children are a gift of 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.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:3–5)
The songwriter grabs our attention with "Behold!" He says, in effect, "Pay attention . . . listen up!" These three verses take us a step further as they address the coming of children into the home, and the parents' proper attitude toward them.
Notice three titles the songwriter gives to children: (1) "gift," (2) "reward," and (3) "arrows." Each one calls for some analysis.
The term "gift" is a translation of the Hebrew word that means "property, possession, that which is shared or assigned." Children are the Lord's possessions. Children belong to Him; He graciously assigns to or shares with parents. Now this third verse doesn't say "some children" or even "most children," but simply "children," implying all children . . . your children! There is no such thing as an "accidental birth" or a "surprise pregnancy" from God's viewpoint. And wise are the parents who acknowledge the fact that their child is a personal gift from God. If you and I truly believe that each child is "assigned" by God, what a difference it can make with the child we may not have planned!
The word "reward" conveys the idea of pleasure, something given as a tangible proof of appreciation. Children are never to be viewed as punishment for God's displeasure—quite the contrary! The fruit of the womb is a token of God's love, His choice reward.
The word "arrow" is equally meaningful. You'll notice that the word picture is that of a warrior with arrows in his hand. Imagine the scene. A warrior in battle doesn't stop to make his arrows, nor does he ignore them. He uses them. He directs them toward a target. A parent is responsible for the direction of his children. A child, like an arrow, is incapable of directing himself. It is the basic responsibility of parents to direct the early lives of their children. This makes a great deal of sense when you consider that a child is born in a state of depravity and inner sinfulness. You must stop here and read Psalm 51:5 along with Psalm 58:3. Both verses verify that children are born in a state of iniquity. Solomon's saying in Proverbs 22:15 underscores this fact: "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him." Children need parental authority.
What happens when a child isn't given direction? Proverbs 29:15 responds, "The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother." On the other hand, look at Proverbs 22:6 for a moment:
Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
God gives us children with a delegated responsibility to care for what He treasures most in the universe: people. Each child, therefore, is to be cherished as a gift, prized as a reward, and directed like an arrow.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.