Greetings. I do hope you are enjoying our regular Saturday feature: pSaturday Psalms! Psalm 127 is a short psalm (good for memorizing) and packed with edifying thoughts from God Himself! Here’s the ESV with LORD replaced by Yahweh…
A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.
127 Unless Yahweh builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless Yahweh watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
2 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
3 Behold, children are a heritage from Yahweh,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
5 Blessed 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.
Fruit of the Womb
I’d like to draw your focus to verse 3. God says that children are a heritage from Himself. Put simply, it means that God is the original owner of all children, yet he has given over stewardship of them to man. Secondly, it is written that the fruit of the womb is a reward. God intends that we understand children to be
- A blessing given to us
- Cherished, as a reward.
Note — there is no implication that children are a burden. I understand difficulties with arguments from silence, but I can’t help but point out that children-as-a-burden is a worldly distinctive, rather than one which anyone could derive from the scriptures, especially this one. God loves children more than any of us can imagine. He sees them as His own, even while they are in our care, frankly.
Even the Non-Bio Kids?
Spoiler alert — YES, even the non-Bio kids. That is, even children that are not your own biologically are a heritage from Yahweh and the fruit of the womb. Maybe that child isn’t the fruit of your womb or your wife’s womb, but any child God has entrusted to you is a gift from Him to you. That right, what I’m saying is that Psalm 127:3, “Behold, children are a heritage from Yahweh”, refers to children you have adopted, are fostering, or are otherwise caring for. Yes, those children too are a reward from the womb.
What I am trying to get you to understand, and I don’t feel like I can adequately communicate it, is that those children are actually no different from your biological children. They are not less your children than a child you yourself birthed. It matters not whether your child shares half your DNA or less than 2%. Your child is your child to enjoy and to be responsible for.
Do you need me to prove it from the scripture? Consider your own adoption! Are you any less a son of God because you are not His natural child?
Romans 8:15 ESV
15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
1 John 3:1-2 ESV
1 See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
John 1:12 ESV
12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
We Regard People Spiritually
Let it never be said of us that we are carnal people. When we think of carnality and worldliness we think of things like drinking beer at smoke filled pool halls and having a WWE match at church to attract a crowd. Granted, these ARE worldly, ungodly endeavors. But what is also worldly is regarding people according to the flesh.
2 Corinthians 5:16 ESV
16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.
May God forbid it! Why do you look at your own child whom God has given you as not your own? Why do you see your friend who is fostering or adopting and focus on “biology?” I’d argue that adopting or fostering is laced with difficulties and takes more love and more faith to work at than natural parenting. I say this as an adopted person who has adopted. I say this as a man married to a woman who has step kids. I say this as an adopted child of God. Don’t you dare imply I’m not like my adopted Father, and don’t bother me with any rabble implying my own kid isn’t really mine.
Adopting a child may be one of the top-3 most Christlike covenants a person can make in this world (I’d say marriage and pastoring a flock are two more). Fostering a child may actually be the hardest task anyone ever takes on. You get all the responsibility of parenting without any of the security of actually knowing you get to keep your child. You get all the cares and anxieties of loving a little person, with no real hope you will see them on their next birthday, yet foster parents give away these parts of their hearts over and over.
And our world is better because of it.
Children are NOT a burden, we established that. Children ARE, however, hard work. Loving children requires real sacrifice of ourselves for their sake. Kids vary in difficulty as well. Although they all have a sin nature, the way that is manifested can be a real problem for one parent to live with. Have you ever reared a child who was prone to violent outbursts? How about a child dealing with trauma from sexual abuse or parental neglect? What do you do with a child who just met you and hates you, because they know “you are just like everyone else and will leave them when they’re bad.”
Much grace is needed when rearing children, however they came to you. So my advice is this: enjoy them. Enjoy their cuteness. Enjoy the messes they make. Enjoy when they get hurt and cry and want you to hold them or kiss their booboo. Enjoy when they try to say big person words and flub it. Enjoy when they sin and you are given an opportunity to tell them about God’s law and gospel. Enjoy teaching them to pray, and enjoy when they obliterate all your hopes of a nice family prayer time. There will be enough time for despair or mourning; make use of the times of joy our Sovereign Lord provides.
My dear friend Jason Marianna recently received 3 foster children into his care. He was enjoying his first couple days with them and I could tell he was a bit afraid to enjoy it too much. He knows it won’t always be rosy-fun and giggles, especially with kids in the foster care system. He has moments of sadness because he misses “S”, his last foster child. So I sent him this text, which inspired this blog post.
You should enjoy it. Ps 127:3 applies to THIS too and anyone who would argue with me I’d win. Enjoy it. Do the best you can. Enjoy it. Miss “S”. Fail, repent, repeat. How can you not have joy?! It’s wonderful to imagine being used to help people. All the pain/affliction of not getting Jen pregnant and now THIS!? God had a plan the whole time that you’d be available for THESE EXACT KIDS. And maybe they’ll be Mariannas someday. What an amazing hope! And either way, you’re doing what you know you should do next. God will take care of tomorrow.
This post is an attempt to encourage the faint-hearted and edify those who may be tempted to grow weary in their well-doing. It is also a general admonishment toward those who have not considered these things more seriously, and committed to helping those who help children through foster care and adoption. My hope is not that you would pick apart any hyperbolic statement to justify yourself, but, rather, that you would consider what I communicated with charity and grace and assess yourself honestly to see if you are offending God by your disposition in the areas discussed.