Revive Our Hearts Radio

Why Are Children a Blessing?

Leslie Basham: Decades ago, most people had small homes and big families. Now most have large homes and small families. What does this say about us? Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: It shows what we value. We think of a big house as a blessing—until you have one and you have to take care of it. Do we think of a big family as a blessing? Now both big houses and big families require care, upkeep, maintenance, investment, time, and effort, but one of those is an investment that will last for generations. You cannot compare the two. Raising godly offspring is at the heart of God’s purpose for marriage, and it is His plan for passing the baton of faith on to the next generation.

Leslie: You’re listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Adorned. It’s Wednesday, July 11, 2018.

We’ve been in several series this year on the True Woman Manifesto. Nancy continues teaching through this valuable document. She’ll begin in Genesis 11.

Nancy: Look at the first and last paragraphs of that chapter. You see something interesting. Those paragraphs, the beginning of Genesis 11 and the end, show a contrast between man’s ways and man’s kingdom and God’s ways and God’s kingdom.

In the first paragraph of Genesis 11, you read the account of the Tower of Babel. You remember the story of how man was intent on building his own kingdom. It was big, visible, magnificent, splendid. It was for the purpose of human glory, and how did it end? In disaster, right?

Then, if you go to the last paragraph of Genesis chapter 11, you see an account you may not be as familiar with. In that passage we find an obscure man named Terah, and God gives this man three sons. The firstborn son is named Abram, and at age 100, Abram has a son named Isaac. Isaac has two sons named Jacob and Esau. Jacob has twelve sons and a daughter, and one of those sons was named Judah.

Now, Judah’s family—we won’t go into it here, but they had some incredible, major failures, and mess-ups, as did virtually every generation before and after him. But through that family line, thousands of years later, a virgin supernaturally conceives and gives birth to another Son and names Him Jesus. As a result of that progression, blessings are still flowing to the world today.

So we see man’s kingdom, man’s way of doing things, which is fast; it’s visible; it’s spectacular; it’s immediate, but it ends up in disaster. You see the way that God builds His kingdom and that He brings His blessings to flow in this world is through an obscure—initially—an obscure family line that leads and points to Christ, by one generation after another doing what? Having children for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom.

That brings me to the next point in the True Woman Manifesto where it says,

We will receive children as a blessing from the Lord, seeking to train them to love and follow Christ and to consecrate their lives for the sake of His Gospel and kingdom.

Now, if you have your Bibles, I want to ask you to turn to this next passage. I want to look today at portions from a pair of psalms: Psalm 127 and 128. These psalms are familiar, at least 127 is, to perhaps many who are listening. I’m going to jump in—I don’t like to do this normally—but in the middle of Psalm 127, starting at verse 3, and just kind of talk our way through the rest of Psalm 127 and then its twin, its pair, Psalm 128.

You’ll find that the words blessed or bless are found five times in six verses if you start at chapter 127, verse 5 and continue through the next psalm. There’s the word, blessed or bless-ed and bless. We want to see what causes someone to be blessed.

Starting in Psalm 127, verse 3, “Behold, children are a heritage,” my translation says. Your translation may say, “a gift.”

Children are a [gift or a] heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed [or bless-ed] is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate (vv. 3–5).

So in these verses—let me just stop there, and we’ll move into the next passage in just a moment—but we see the blessings and the benefits of population growth, having children for the glory of God. Just a reminder that when the pregnancy test comes back positive, no matter what the circumstances may have been, no matter how unexpected that may be, it is not an accident. It is an act of God. Children are a gift from the Lord. The fruit of the womb is a reward. They are a blessing.

I was reading one commentator on the Psalms, Derek Kidner, and he has a paragraph at this point that I put a smiley face next to. He said,

It is not untypical of God’s gifts that first they are liabilities, or at least responsibilities before they become obvious assets. The greater their promise, the more likely that these sons will be a handful before they are a quiver full. (laughter)

And all you mothers said, “Amen!” But the question is, do you see children—and I’m talking here to married women, and I’m talking to single women, younger and older, women who have a brood of children (is that okay to say that? I’ll probably get a letter on that one) a lot of them, women who are not able to have children, women who are single, have not married, and are past childbearing age, but do you see children—regardless of your season of life—as a gift, a reward, a blessing, an asset, desirable? That’s the feeling you get from this psalm.

Children are considered by so many today to be an inconvenience, a bother. In fact, they do interfere with a selfish lifestyle. They are interruptions, in a sense. They infringe on certain kinds of freedom.

That’s why we have declining birth rates in the Western world, so much so that in some countries in the West, we are not meeting the replacement rate. We’re not having enough babies to even replace ourselves, and so we end up, in many Western countries, with a diminished pension or retirement fund, with other economic issues, and many different geo-political consequences because children are not considered by our culture to be a blessing.

Now, you can look at children and say, “Oh, aren’t they cute, but me have them? It’s okay for you to have them.” Then you have some people who even think for you to have them is a bother to me. (laughter)

So a mindset that I saw expressed in an email I got just several days ago from one of our listeners who said,

I want to send you a comment I heard on the morning news. There were two local, women anchors on in the morning. They are pleasant, but this morning one of them said, "More women are choosing not to become mothers. Isn’t that wonderful?" The other one said, "How selfless!" And they both smiled broadly like they were proud of these women.

As I read that, I think, “selfless or selfish?” People used to have small houses and big families. Some of you can remember that. Now they have big houses and small families. It shows what we value. We think of a big house as a blessing—until you have one and you have to take care of it. Do we think of a big family as a blessing?

Now both big houses and big families require care, upkeep, maintenance, investment, time, and effort, but one of those is an investment that will last for generations. You cannot compare the two. Raising godly offspring is at the heart of God’s purpose for marriage, and it is His plan for passing the baton of faith on to the next generation.

Jesus said in Mark chapter 10 when the disciples wanted to push the children away thinking they were less important—Jesus said,

Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them (vv 14 & 16).

Now let me say, I’m not talking about what size of family you have. Some people listen to me talk about this subject or others like me, and they think, She’s saying you should have as many children as you possibly can. I’m not telling you how many children you should or should not have. I am saying that a true woman receives children as a blessing from the Lord.

She seeks the Lord regarding this matter of children, her own or others’, whether she should have them, when she should have them, and if she cannot have them, as even many married women cannot have children. How is she to demonstrate the heart of Christ toward children—single women, childless women?

We need to remember that we are part of a bigger family. I know that talking about children makes some of your hearts ache because you think you would love to have children, and it has not been in God’s plan. Or you’d love to have more children, and God has not enabled that.

But let me remind you that we are part of a larger family, and we have all been given an opportunity to invest in children, our own or others’. That’s been a great joy in my own life to have that kind of investment in the children of others.

Now, how are children a blessing? There are a lot of things we could say, but I think we just need to remind ourselves occasionally that they are a blessing and how they are a blessing.

First of all, they make you more dependent on the Lord. Am I right?  You know what kind of women know how to pray? It’s mothers—because they don’t know what else to do so much of the time. (laughter) It makes you more dependent on the Lord—for their physical provision.

I hadn’t recalled this if I did know it, but I saw it recently that Martin Luther had six children of his own as well as several orphaned nieces and nephews. He was once criticized for bringing another mouth to feed into the world. His response was, “The Lord God who gave them life will also provide them with bread.” Amen!

But not only are you dependent on the Lord for their physical provision, you have to trust God—and sometimes this is even harder—for the grace and the strength and the wisdom to parent those children once you have them—makes you more dependent on the Lord. That’s a blessing!

We say often around this ministry, “Anything that makes us need God is a blessing.” Do your children make you need God? And it’s not just when they’re infants, is it? It’s not just when they’re toddlers. It’s not just when they’re school-aged, not just when they’re teenagers. Some of you have young adult children, and you find yourself needing God as much as ever for the hearts of those children—makes you more dependent on the Lord. That’s a blessing.

It forces you to die to self, to sacrifice, and to become less selfish, and that’s a blessing because it helps you become more like Jesus, being around children. Again, let me hearken back to Martin Luther’s day. There were cultural pressures in his day against having children that are not unlike the pressures we experience today, but Luther rebuked those who, quote, “Seem to detest giving birth, lest the bearing and rearing of children disturb their leisure.” 1

He realized that having children does disturb your leisure, but he still believed that they were a gift to be embraced from God, a blessing. Another blessing of children is that they provide an avenue or an opportunity, a means to impact the world, to evangelize.

Listen, having children is not about surviving another day of changing diapers, cleaning up messes, refereeing sibling rivalries. It’s all about having another day to point your children to Christ, to train them to take their place on the front lines of the battle for God, and that’s what we see in Psalm 127. Blessed is the man who has his quiver full of these arrows that he can send forth to accomplish God’s purposes in the world.

Now, let me just read over into Psalm 128 because we consider this theme of being blessed.

Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you (vv. 1–2).

Now, let me stop there. How will this person be blessed? The emphasis in this passage is not on material wealth or fame or position, but on the blessings of a fruitful, God-fearing family, so he says, “You’ll be blessed.”

Verse 3, “Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house,” or as the New English Bible says there, “in the heart of your home.” Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within the heart of your home. A vine is a symbol of fruitfulness. She will be fruitful, spiritually fruitful, and look at this, “your children will be like olive shoots around your table.”

One commentator says, “This speaks of the hope and promise of the future.” Not only do you give life, but you’re raising up children who can give physical life to others and pass on the legacy of faith and godliness to the next generation. So verse 4 says, “Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.”

Then, as we come to verses 5 and 6, we see that there’s an expanding circle of concern and influence here, that our faith is not just to be about us. It’s not just individualistic—me and my family and my children. It’s not a self-contained faith, but this blessing of children is ultimately for the whole people of God. Look at verse 5.

The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life! May you see your children’s children! Peace be upon Israel!

You see this widening circle of influence? The Jews were concerned, not only about themselves and their own immediate families, but about the blessing that their families could have on the rest of the Jewish nation and ultimately upon the world. That’s why God gave families, so that the blessing of godliness, of God’s covenant, could go from one family to the next and ultimately to the world.

There’s one other verse in the Psalms that I love as it relates to this matter of children. It’s found in Psalm 144, and it’s a prayer for our children, Psalm 144, verse 12. It says, “Let our sons in their youth be as grown-up plants.”

Grown-up plants—that pictures growth, maturity, faithfulness, “And [let] our daughters [be] as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace.” Those pillars are for beauty, for support. “Let our sons in their youth be as grown-up plants, and our daughters as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace” (NASB).

Now, it’s very nice and sweet to have all these beautiful prayers for our children and to say, “Blessed is the man or the woman who have your quiver full of these children.” It brings blessing, but some of you are engaged in a battle for your children.

I have a very close friend who has just had her fourth child, and her oldest is five. Her hands are very full these days, and there’s hardly a moment for herself or her own interests. She has to remind herself regularly that these children are a blessing.

Now, she receives them as a blessing, but there are days when children seem like anything but a blessing. Some of you are dealing with teenage or young adult children who are not following Christ, and your heart is heavy. You are burdened and concerned because your children are not walking with the Lord.

Let me say this:

  • You cannot give your children a heart for the Lord.
  • You cannot make them love Him.
  • You cannot make them Christians.
  • You cannot make them followers of Christ.

That is the work of the Spirit and of God’s grace in their lives, but you can pray.

  • You can stay engaged in the battle for the souls of those children.
  • You can claim the hearts of those children for the Lord and for His kingdom.
  • You can engage others with you to pray for them.

I have some friends—three young moms—they have—I don’t know—several children between them, but they’re in that very early season of childrearing. These moms meet once a week for an hour just to pray for their children, and as they are praying for their children, they’re praying for themselves because they want to be the moms those children need. They want to have the kind of marriage that those children need. They’re meeting to pray for their children.

You may consider, if you’re a younger woman in the childbearing season of life, and your hands are full, and you find that you’re not getting a full night’s sleep—you may want to find an older woman in your church and say, “Could we just pray on the phone once a week? Would you pray for me? Would you pray for my children?” Realize that raising children for God is a battle.

The enemy does not want your children to follow Christ, but you cannot just throw up your hands and say, “Oh, they’re going to do what they’re going to do.” You need to stay engaged in the battle and believe God to win their hearts, to conquer their hearts, to bring His grace into their lives.

I am so thankful, myself, to have had a mother and a dad who received children as a blessing from the Lord, seeking to train them to love and follow Christ and to consecrate their lives for the sake of His Gospel and Kingdom.

When my parents got married, my mom was nineteen. My dad was thirty-two. They decided for a number of reasons that for the first five years of their marriage, they would not have any children. Within the first five years of their marriage, they had six children. (laughter)

By the time my mother was twenty-four, she had six children, ages, I think, five and under, if I’m not mistaken. They had their hands full in those days, but they embraced children as a gift from the Lord. I’m so thankful, not only that they had children, but that they were committed to train us to love and follow Christ and that they consecrated our lives for the sake of Christ’s Gospel and His Kingdom.

I love hearing from listeners who have this heart, the heart of a true woman, and who honor their mothers who had this heart. Let me read to you a couple of those testimonies. One woman wrote and said,

I am one of seven children my mom had in a nine-year period. Two of my siblings had Down Syndrome, and I’ve always wondered through the years (I’m much older now) how on earth my mom did it with so little to work with.

She was one of the most self-sacrificing women I think I have ever known. The testimony of her life is that all of her children, the five of us still living, have grown up to love and honor the Lord and are also living out our lives for others to His honor and glory. Much of it is due to her example in our lives.

Then this one I found touching. This lady said,

My mom is in the hospital dying today. She has a great reward waiting for her in heaven. She raised twelve children, the last six basically on her own as her husband became disabled.

Neither my dad or my mom ever made a lot of money. They had some very rough times, but they truly, sincerely kept the faith. I am so grateful for them. She is dying a rich woman. She has so much more than an executive, actress, or model.

She is leaving much more as well. Her heritage will outlast any amount of money she could have earned. Souls saved will thank her in eternity for being, "just a mom," and a woman who chose to trust God with her life. I will be one of them.

What’s the legacy you’re going to leave behind? Your children? Others’ children? Let me say what a joy it has been for me over the years to embrace other people’s children, to bring them into my life in different ways, to invest in their lives.

  • Whether they’re your own, biological children or other children that God brings into your sphere of influence, will you receive them as a blessing from the Lord?
  • Will you seek to train them to love and follow Christ?
  • Will you ask God that those children’s lives will be consecrated to Him for the sake of His Kingdom and His Gospel? Amen.

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemtuh has been speaking on one point in the True Woman Manifesto. You can read the entire document at ReviveOurHearts.com. You can also add your name to the women who have signed the manifesto from over eighty countries.

We’re able to bring you Revive Our Hearts each weekday thanks to listeners in your area who donate to the ministry.

Nancy, can you tell our listeners why now is a crucial time for them to invest in the ministry?

Nancy: Sure, Leslie. Well, the summer is typically a time when life slows down and all sense of routine goes out the window. As a result, we often see a slow down in donations during the summer. Without the support of listeners like you, we couldn't produce this program with biblical teaching like what you've heard in today's program. When you connect with us by sending a gift, you’re making a statement that you appreciate this kind of programming and you want to be able to keep hearing it.

Today when you make a donation of any amount, we’ll send you a booklet by my close friend, Holly Elliff. It’s called, Turning the Tide: Having More Children Who Follow Christ. Holly and her husband, Bill, have eight children of their own. I've know them since the first four of those children were young. I've watched them grow to a family of eight and now to have eight adult children and something like 108 grandchildren, I think (well, not quite that many, but it's a lot). It's a joy to see the impact that family is making now on the next generation.

In this booklet Bill and Holly share some biblical principles that they have found helpful in their own parenting and some insights that will help you cultivate an environment that will encourage spiritual growth in your children.

Just ask for the booklet, Turning the Tide, when you call us at 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com and ask for Turning the Tide. Thank you so much for your support at this time so we can keep declaring the faithfulness and the goodness and the grace of Christ, not only to women where you live, but all around the world.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy. Well, on tomorrow’s program, learn the value of modeling and training the next generation of women. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants you to view children as a gift from the Lord. The program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

1 Journal of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Winter 1998. (http://www.cbmw.org; http://www.cbmw.org/images/jbmw_pdf/3_4/3-4.pdf

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