Faith of a Father

"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised; – Hebrews 10:23


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Launching Faithful Arrows into the World

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Psalm 127:3-5

 “Children are compared to “arrows”. Now, we know that sticks are not by nature arrows; they do not grow so, but they are made so; by nature they are knotty and rugged, but by art they are made smooth and handsome. So children by nature are rugged and untoward, but by education are refined and reformed, made pliable to the divine will and pleasure.” –George Swinnock, 1627-1673, nonconformist, puritan, pastor

As I have read a number of commentaries on these verses, I have found that most writers (such as Matthew Henry and Charles Spurgeon – The Treasury of David), discussed that the arrows (children) are for the defense of the family and protection for the parents in their old age.  Although I would not disagree with these godly men, I believe that there is much more to the analogy of our children being arrows then just for defense and protection.  I believe there is another aspect that I would like to discuss here.

Unlike swords, clubs, lances or knives, arrows are not used for close combat.  Archers were able to reach great distances with their arrows, and with skill used these arrows to hit targets that they themselves could not physically reach.

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In 1983, Harry Drake held the “foot held” flight record of 1 mile 268 yards.

The Bible is clear that our Christian life is a battle (Ephesians 6) and that we “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  Like arrows sent to hit targets the archer cannot reach, our children, when prepared, are to be sent out to do great damage to Satan’s kingdom that we as parents will never reach.  The ultimate goal of any Christian should be to glorify God.  This is why I believe that it is important that we take the saplings we are given and instruct them in the ways of the Lord, to mold them into the SHAPE that God has for them (not how we want them to be).  So that one day, when we shoot them from our homes and into the future, into a time and place where we will never go, that they will be ready to take flight, fly true and hit the mark that God has intended for them.

Each of our children is a miracle, given to us by God for a purpose, to glorify God in a way that we cannot.  As the arrow is not designed to sit in a quiver and never be used but is to be shaped and prepared for a purposed launch, so must our children be shaped into a mighty weapon of faith to be launched into the next generation that the enemy mentioned in Ephesians chapter six might be damaged, and God glorified.

Parents, how are your arrows being shaped?  Are we preparing our children to walk in the ways of God, so that in His timing,  they might be launched, and might fly straight, true to God’s Word and be a mighty weapon for God?  What are you doing today, what am I doing that might enable our children to be prepared for their launching into the next generation?

 “Well doth David call children “arrows”; for if they be well bred, they shoot at their parents’ enemies; and if they be evil bred, they shoot at their parents.” –Henry Smith. 1560-1591,regarded as the most popular puritan preacher of the Elizabethan London.

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Directing your Arrows

As we continue in our series of Psalm 127:3-5, I want to comment on two more parts of the arrow before we move on to the next topic of discussion for these verses.

The use of feathers or other materials on an arrow is for aerodynamic stability and is call fletching.  Without this stability, the arrow’s path will be less directed and therefore less likely to hit the intended target.  Each feather is referred to as a fletch.   Like the shaft, historically each fletch is made of natural products, in this case feathers, although now days synthetic feathers are often used.  Each feather or fletch can be attached with either a silk thread or some form of glue.  At the fletcher’s choosing, they may decide to put each fletch on the arrow at an angle to create a spin to assist in accuracy when shot.

Continuing with the analogy of our children as arrows, as the fletching helps to provide stability in flight and accuracy, so Biblical laws and principles provide to our children stability and accuracy in their lives.  An arrow can be shot without fletching or with one feather attached, but it’s accuracy is then forced.  And so it is with children, rules without principles bring forced obedience and likely rebellion.

I have seen over my many years how Christian parents often claim to understand the importance of God’s Word in the lives of their children and begin to set all kinds of rules for them to follow.  These parents often fail to understand the difference between two small prepositions, on and in and how this works out in the lives of their children.  Putting God’s Word onto someone’s life typically demands their compliance and is often viewed as a burden and rebellion will usually ensue.  But learning your child’s heart and then teaching and instilling God’s Word into their life encourages them to accept God’s Word for themselves and then it becomes their own values and own beliefs.  Learning the whys (principles) brings the arrow (child) balance.  Ephesians 6:1 talks about children obeying their parents, but verse 2 discusses honor.  The two must go together.  I believe that while compliance to rules can be forced, honor has to come from a belief in the heart.

Do you remember the story of the little boy that was told by the teacher to sit down?  As he was sitting he said to his teacher, “I’m sitting down on the outside but I’m still standing up on the inside.” He complied but his attitude was still sinful.  I’m reminded of a saying we have used in our home.  “Obedience without honor is disobedience.”

We have all heard the comment that character based on principles are who you are when no one else is watching.  Here’s my take on the difference between rules (laws) and principles:  “Rules (laws) are made to be obeyed, Principles are made to be lived by.”

How does all this relate to feathers on an arrow?  Like feathers being used to bring stability and accuracy to an arrow, the rules and principles that we as parents instill into our children very well may direct them the rest of their lives.  If we are not teaching our children God’s laws and His principles and only teach the law (rules), our children will not understand the whys and will take direction from the world in an attempt to provide stability to their life, therefore our children need to be grounded in the fully Truth of the Word of God.

Joshua 1:8  “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

Psalm 119:105 , “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

2 Timothy 3:16,17  “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God might be throughly furnished unto all good works.”

 So how are we doing?  Are we providing Godly direction to our children’s lives?  Are we forcing obedience (law) without honor (principle)?  Are we giving them one feather and expecting them to follow rules without principles?  What can you and I do this week to improve our influence in the direction of our children’s lives?

I hope these posts have been a blessing to you, even in a small way.  Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts.