“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.
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.