Arrows in the Hands of a Warrior
“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.” Psalm 127:3-4 NIV
There is a quote from the ad campaign of a Swiss master watchmaker that you may be familiar with. It says that you never actually own the watch. You merely look after it for the next generation. It alludes to the idea that if you own a good quality watch with a timeless value, you would want to take care of it and pass it on to your children. If your children are also taught its value, they will do likewise with the precious gift to their own children. The watch then becomes a heritage in the family through the generations.
If you are a father, you have already received a precious reward, a heritage from God. But how do you pass on this “heritage”? The clue lies in the next verse - “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children born in one’s youth”. Arrows are only useful and effective if they can be directed accurately by a skillful archer, otherwise they are limited in value. It is true that the environment will affect the flight of the arrow, but the skillful archer will set it in the right course, taking into account the external influences.
In today’s world, there are certainly many external influences that our children have to contend with. They live in a noisy world fraught with many tempting persuasions that can be confusing. How do we help them keep to the true and straight path that God desires? Fathers have an obligation to take care of their children as a consequence of receiving them as a heritage from God, and God has modeled the behavior for fathers right from the beginning in the book of Genesis.
He Provided Holistically
“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.” Genesis 1:31 NIV
Before God created man, He prepared for his arrival. He created the heavens and the earth, and filled them before He created man and woman on the sixth day. Man was God’s crowning glory of creation because he was created in His image. God saw to man’s physical, intellectual, social and emotional, and spiritual needs because God created man as a complete being with a purpose in life. In similar fashion, fathers need to provide for their children holistically by creating a nurturing environment that can help them grow to fulfill God’s plan for their lives.
He Set Boundaries
“And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”” Genesis 2:16-17 NIV
God knew what dangers lay out there, even in paradise, for man. Man has a free will and will eventually have to come to a time when he has to make a decision on his own. God will not intervene in that decision, but He set clear boundaries to help guide him. As children grow and mature, they too will have to make their own decisions in life at some point in time. When they come to that crossroad, will they fumble in uncertainty or remember their father’s advice? Fathers, you can influence your children even from afar in time and space, and the best way to do that is to help them to abide in God’s Word.
He Spent Time With Man
“Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.” Genesis 2:19 NIV
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, ...” Genesis 3:8 NIV
God provided man with everything that he needed, but the most valuable thing God gave man was His time. It was through time spent with man that God taught him about His wonderful creation and involved man in naming and taking an interest over the animals that he was given to rule over. God was always accessible and even knew the the best time of the day to engage man. We may not all have the same resources and abilities, but we all have the same amount of time that we are responsible for. How much of it, fathers, will you give to your children to know them, and to teach and guide them?
He Was Compassionate
“The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21 NIV
When man sinned, he was afraid and ashamed. He was not spared the consequences of his sin and was banished from the Garden of Eden. Yet God had compassion on man. He not only took care of their present shame, but also provided a seed of future hope that will right all the wrongs that man had done to bring him back again to communion with God. While man was still dwelling in his current misery, God looked ahead to the restoration that was to come through His Son Jesus. Several times throughout history, God was saddenedand deeply troubled by man’s continued disobedience and sins, but He always looked for and found someone who found favor with Him to fill the gap. Just as our Father in Heaven is compassionate with us in our failings, fathers be compassionate with your children. Help them learn the ways of the Lord and see the hope of a new creation they have in Christ. “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4 NIV)
Dear fathers, when God gave you children, He made you a warrior to guide and direct them in His ways. Your faithfulness in this will ensure that your children will have a heritage they can pass on to their own.
God bless you!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the precious gift of children in our lives. We pray that You will guide and help us to be faithful stewards of the heritage You have given us. Equip us this day with Your wisdom, strength and love to build our house for Your glory and praise. Amen!