Protector of the Weak

Reading the Word

Proverbs 23:10–11 (ESV)
10 Do not move an ancient landmark or enter the fields of the fatherless,
11 for their Redeemer is strong; he will plead their cause against you.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The orphan in the ancient world, and even in today’s world, was especially vulnerable. There was no one to take care of or protect the child. A way that someone may try to take advantage of an orphan would be to move property boundary markers. The child would not know, so it would be an easy way to steal extra land. This proverb warns that there is a strong Redeemer who stands ready to plead the case of the orphan. The picture is of God standing in a legal courtroom on behalf of the victim.

Throughout Scripture, God is said to be the one who cares for widows and orphans. God is the defender of the weak and powerless who are oppressed by the rich and powerful. He expects his people to be the same. We must always stand for justice and what is right and we must be ready to defend those who are powerless to defend themselves. And when we are oppressed or taken advantage of, we know that we have a Redeemer who stands with us and who will vindicate us in the end.


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Train Up a Child

Reading the Word

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.(Proverbs 22:6, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

Today’s proverb is one of the most well-known passages in the book. We must remember that proverbs are not promises, but general truths. Parents cannot take these words as a hard fact that if they train their child in the teachings of Christ and the Scriptures that the child will always follow and never turn away. Generally speaking, children continue on the path they start on, but some do not.

There is a translation issue that we must think about too because it sheds some light on the meaning of this text. The phrase translated “the way he should go” could also be something along the lines of “whatever way he will go.” With this in mind, it reinforces the need to train our children in the right way because “whatever way” they are trained in is likely the course for their future.

Parents and those who work with children, understand the great importance to train up young people in the ways of the Lord. For most of us, the foundation for our lives is laid in the early years and we will continue to build on it for the rest of our lives.


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The Need for Discipline

Reading the Word

Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death.(Proverbs 19:18, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

The first half of this psalm tells us to “discipline” our sons (i.e. children). When we hear the word discipline, we may automatically think of punishment, but that is too narrow of an understanding. The Hebrew word carries the meaning of training, directing, correcting, teaching, etc. We are told to do this “for there is hope.” We train our children because there is hope that they will learn and grow to maturity, even if it may not always feel like it!

The second half of the psalm is a warning to parents. We may be tempted to neglect our duty to train our children. This may be because we do not want to spend the time or effort necessary. It could also be that correcting an erring child is no fun and we would rather avoid the confrontation or the hurt feelings or the necessary punishments. However, this is not wise. Such an approach is actually harmful for the development of children.Ultimately, it can lead to their demise.

Children need instruction and training and it starts with parents. We must not neglect our responsibilities in this area because the future welfares of our sons and daughters are at stake.


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Like a Child

Luke 1817 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Luke 18:15–17 (ESV)

15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

People were bringing their children to Jesus “that he might touch them.” Such a touch would have been to bless the children. At first, the disciples sought to stop this from happening. They shared the cultural mindset that thought of children as a burden until they were physically capable of helping the family. Jesus, however, welcomed the children.

Jesus’ words “to such belongs the kingdom of God” should not be misunderstood. Jesus was not addressing the status of children in relation to the kingdom, but using children as an example. The emphasis of Jesus’ words falls on “for to such.” It is those who are like children that belong to the kingdom. Those who have a simple, childlike trust in Jesus and his teaching are those who belong to the kingdom. It becomes more clear in the last verse. There, Jesus tells the disciples that the kingdom of God must be received “like a child.”

We must be careful no to over-complicate the gospel. Jesus does not require us to have extensive knowledge or the answers to every complex question. All we need is childlike faith. If we know we are sinners and trust that Jesus saves us from our sins through his death and resurrection, we belong to him. It then becomes our delight to continue to learn, grow, and mature in our faith.

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Unless the Lord Builds the House

newly make high rise building

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Reading the Word

Psalm 127:1–5 (ESV)

1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD 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 the LORD,
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

Understanding and Applying the Word

What are you counting on for success? If you are counting on your own efforts and abilities, you labor in vain. It is God alone who gives blessing and success. This is a difficult truth for many of us to accept because we want to take credit for the good things in our lives. But a proper understanding of who God is will lead us to praise and thanksgiving for all he has done for us.

The second half of this psalm stresses that even our children are a blessing from the Lord. They are a blessing to parents and they too are in the hands of the sovereign God. This is a great comfort to parents because we can trust the One who is over all as our children grow, mature, and begin to live independently as adults. It is God who builds the house and protects the city. Let us not be anxious while trusting in ourselves, but let us rest in his loving care.

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