Special thanks to Brad Harrub, Ph.D. of Focus Press for this phenomenal article. Brother Harrub is an outstanding author, speaker, scientist, and defender of biblical truth.
…continued from last week…
We Are God’s Archers—Our Children Are His Arrows
The inspired writer of Psalm 127 made this observation in verse 4— “Children are like arrows in the hand of a mighty man.” Why do you think the writer chose this particular analogy? Do you think the inspired writer’s choice of words happened merely by chance? Or do you think that the writer realized what you and I know today—that long before the archer ever places an arrow between his fingers, and long before he ever pulls that bowstring taut, he already has sighted his target. He knows long before he ever releases that arrow where he wants it to go. There is forethought and planning involved in launching that arrow. It doesn’t occur haphazardly. We are God’s archers! Our children are God’s arrows! We must remember the goal on which we have our sights targeted, and then launch our children on their way with much forethought and planning toward that goal. Each step that we take in guiding and directing our children should be done with that target in mind—that big, red bulls-eye that we know as heaven.
The problem lies in the fact that many parents today lack the proper biblical knowledge and understanding to firmly send their children toward a heavenly goal. Sure, we know the steps of salvation, but what happens when our children ask us questions outside the realm of “hear, believe, repent, confess, and be baptized?” How can we accurately and firmly launch our children toward the goal of heaven if we ourselves are deficient in knowledge? When our children come to us with questions (and they will!) about the age of the Earth or about the dinosaurs, they expect answers. And rightly so! It is up to us to educate ourselves in such a way that those questions get answered.
The answers (and evidence) that we give our children and grandchildren should only further propel them toward that heavenly target. We must realize that if we don’t have an answer for our child or grandchild, someone out there does. And sooner or later, that person is going to teach our child “their” version of how the Universe came about or how humans evolved from ape-like creatures. Then they will show beautifully illustrated pictures printed on glossy paper to impress our child. And before we know it, our child has lost his or her soul, and we have lost our child. Thanks to the unbelievers who were willing to answer his question, “little Johnny” no longer holds the Bible as being the inspired Word of God. It has become just an antiquated history book—one not deserving his commitment and loyalty.
And then Johnny joins the workforce and does what he’s watched his parents do for years and years—strive for prosperity. But in doing so, he forgets about God. Recall what Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 4: “And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons; Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children” (8-10).
We are God’s archers! Our children are God’s arrows. We must take our responsibility seriously and stop allowing other people to launch our children in any direction that they please. Our children should be sent on their way with such force and such strength that by the time they turn 17 or leave home, they possess strong convictions about their religious beliefs. Otherwise, the “church of tomorrow,” as so many like to call it, will continue walking out the doors of our church buildings, never to darken those doors again. But be forewarned: this kind of direction and guidance requires quantity (as well as quality) time and a Christian example.
Strengthening Our Children’s Faith
Oftentimes, we watch little children sing the song about the wise and the foolish builders. But sadly, some of those very children will one day find their own belief systems built on a sandy foundation. If we are going to protect our children’s faith when it is threatened, we must be ready to strengthen it through study. We are commanded to “contend earnestly for the faith, once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). With an increasing number of people doubting God’s existence, Jesus’ deity, and the inspiration of the Bible, Christian parents will find an increased demand upon them to be able to defend these things. Paul stressed that we should “prove all things,” and then having done so, “hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21). It was Paul’s custom to teach the Gospel by presenting the evidences documenting the truthfulness of Christianity (see Acts 17:2-3; 19:8). That is, in fact, how Peter preached the first Gospel sermon—by presenting the evidence in a defense of Christ’s resurrection (Acts 2). We, too, can use evidences to strengthen our children’s faith.
Through a study of the evidences upon which Christianity is based, our children can come to see that Christianity is not a “pie in the sky” or an “I hope so by and by” kind of religion. On the contrary, Christianity is grounded in historical fact. Its roots are deep, and its precepts are provable. We must teach our young people that they can: (a) know God exists, (b) know Jesus is God’s Son; and (c) know the Bible is God’s inspired, inerrant, authoritative Word. In so doing, we can give young people a clear view of their God, His Son, His church, and their future home of heaven.
Additionally, a study of the many evidences upon which Christianity is based demonstrates the validity of the Christian system. Truth does not shrink from exhaustive examination, for it has nothing to fear. Rather, truth welcomes the searchlight of the severest scrutiny—unfailingly confident that it cannot be disproved. A religion that discourages logical examination of its claims is tacitly admitting the doubtfulness of its position. Christianity has no fear of submitting its beliefs to the critical examination of skeptics. Nor does Christianity fear to have its proponents study the claims of other religions (or no religion at all). Truth will not bend or break beneath the onslaught. A faith that cannot withstand a terse, critical examination is a faith not worth having in the first place. As young people are shown the manifold evidences that prove God’s existence, Jesus’ Sonship, and the Bible’s inspiration—and as they examine other claims (atheism, agnosticism, skepticism, denominationalism, etc.) under the dissecting microscope of God’s Word—eventually they will come to accept, and be able to defend, the one true religion of the one true God.
Likewise, we must prepare our children and grandchildren so that they can properly defend Christianity against the attacks made upon it by its enemies. From the philosopher who claims it is impossible to know anything at all, to the scientist who claims that we are little more than “naked apes,” attacks upon Christianity are never-ending. The atheist says he knows God doesn’t exist, the agnostic says neither he nor anyone else can know God exists, the skeptic says he doubts that God exists, the infidel says that if God exists, it is not the God of the Bible, and so on. Various forms of these false philosophies have crept into the church in some places, and have caused the untaught and the unstable to fall away. Children are especially vulnerable to such false teachings, as often they are required to study under teachers or professors who openly are antagonistic to Christianity. A young person’s plastic, impressionable mind is a prime target for the devil’s ungodly schemes. It is our responsibility to fill the minds of our children with truth (and evidence for that truth) so they will be able to withstand the “fiery darts of the evil one” (Eph. 6:16). It has been said that a child’s mind is like Jell-O®—and that our job is to fill with all the “good stuff” before it “sets.” A study of the evidences supporting Christianity is a fine step in the right direction toward protecting both our children and the future of the church.
One thing is certain: we cannot teach what we do not know (Heb. 5:12). Our goal is heaven (Heb. 11:13-16). Our mission is not only to get there ourselves, but to take others with us as well (Matt. 28:18-20). It is our task to learn God’s Word (Psalm 119:11), and then to convey that Word to others for their ultimate salvation (Mark 16:15-16; John 3:16). Our society today is a questioning one. Rightly so! Religion cannot and must not rest on presumptive grounds or traditional heritage. People must investigate the claims of Christianity, and then see for themselves that those claims are both legitimate, factual, and above all, true.
Lastly, we must teach our children and grandchildren that God’s Word is more than just a “good book.” All too often, Christians relegate the early books of the Bible (i.e., Genesis) as mythological rather than historical. But consider what that is telling our children. We need to provide them with evidence that completely demonstrates the authority of the Bible as the only inspired book. This can be accomplished by studying the scientific foreknowledge found in Scripture, the prophetic accuracy of the Bible, the factual accuracy and overall unity of the Bible, etc. Such a study will impress on youngsters the importance and special nature of God’s Word.
All of this it must start at home—in homes like yours and mine. Every book that enters our homes should be examined for evolutionary falsehoods. We do not allow pornography into our homes, so why would we allow scientific foolishness that teaches our children to believe there is no God. Every television show that mentions those “million-year-old-fossils” should immediately be discussed with our children. If we don’t have the answers to their questions, then we must, as God’s archers, seek diligently to find the answers. It is our responsibility—not the preacher’s, not the elders’, and not the Sunday school teacher’s. We must seize every opportunity to guide, train, direct, strengthen, and lead our children (and grandchildren) so that once those arrows leave our hands, we have absolutely no doubt as to where they will land.