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Captivity or Prosperity for our Children?

by randy on June 23rd, 2010

The loss or captivity of our children is in fact often a sign of a cultural curse. The Lord promises “it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God” (Deut. 28:15), then “you shall beget sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours; for they shall go into captivity” (Deut 28:41), and “your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, and your eyes shall look and fail with longing for them all day long; and there shall be no strength in your hand” (Deut 28:32). No strength in our hand–what a telling expression. Though our children have avoided the relatively easy captivity of Assyria or Babylon, where one’s loyalties tend to become very clear, they have fallen headlong into the far subtler captivity of modernity–individualism, egalitarianism, rationalism, sentimentalism. And our eyes “look and fail with longing for them all day long.” Notice, though, the promise for faithfulness and imagine its cultural consequences: “He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live” (Deut. 30:5-6).
(Douglas Jones, Revitalizing Reformed Culture)

When we look to the promises concerning our children, we must remember that this really means looking to Christ, the one in whom all the promises of God are “yea” and “Amen.” the promises are not understood rightly if we understand them in separation from the person of Christ. We look to Christ because the Scripture tells us that in Him “all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (2 Cor. 1:20). The importance of this should become obvious when we consider the details of covenant nurture below. But for the present, if we treat our covenant relationship with the person of Christ as impersonal, this will necessarily corrupt our application of the covenant relationship we have with our children. This is how covenant nurture deteriorates from following Christ into following the instructions on child-rearing paint-by-numbers kit. Simply “following the procedures” is not covenantal faithfulness.

So we look to Christ in the promises. But what is the content of these promises of God with regard to our children? God’s promises to parents are ably discussed elsewhere in this volume, and so I will limit my references to them to just this paragraph. God promises that the children of his servants will continue (Ps. 102:28). He says he will show mercy to thousands of generations of those who fear Him (Deut 5:9-10). Our God keeps covenanted mercy over the course of thousands of generations (Deut. 7:9). God promised that in the days of Messiah He would bless us, our children, and our grandchildren forever (Ezek. 37:24-26). According to Isaiah, we will no longer bring forth children for trouble (Is. 65:23). And our Lord’s mother knew that the Son she bore was not to be the one in whom all generational blessings cease, but rather the one in whom all generational promises are fulfilled (Lk. 1:48-50). These promises are important to mention here because we face the constant temptation to have faith in our faith instead of having faith in God who promises Christ to us and to our children.
(Douglas Wilson, Covenant Nurture: Faith at Work through Godly Parenting)

Both quotes from their respective essays in Benjamin K. Wikner’s, “To You and Your Children.”

From → Application

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