Children Are Like Arrows

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.” (Psalm 127:4).

 

One day, parents are going to need more support than they can manage on their own. Sometimes children can protect their older parents just like arrows can protect a warrior.

Children are like arrows in a number of ways:

  • They protect. Children can help protect their older parents later in life. They can strengthen them when they are weary, assist them when they are weak, etc.
  • They need to be carefully prepared and shaped. You couldn’t buy arrows at a sporting goods store in the O.T. You must cut them from trees, sharpen them, and shape them. Children are the same. Children need to be nurtured and trained and molded in order to be affective in life. Solomon wrote, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). You don’t shape and direct your kids well and equip them for life by sitting them in front of a TV for 4 hours a day. Children don’t become straight arrows without being shaped.
  • They must be well aimed and directed. Children don’t always know the path to take, just like an arrow. You must guide them and point them in the right direction.
  • They are to be sent with all power. When children leave the home, they need to be sent out with encouragement, support and the ability to survive. What good is an arrow, if he is equipped with everything he needs to survive in life and then told to go live in the basement until he is 30?

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David Wells, On the ‘Unworldiness’ of the Church

See the source image“Churches that want to influence their culture are so often tempted to think that to be effective they must hide their otherworldliness and become slickly this-worldly. They think they must identity with their culture as if there were no impediments to doing that. They imagine that their chief tool, if not their only tool, of influence is friendship with the world. Churches that actually do influence the culture – here is the paradox – are those that distance themselves from it in their internal life. They do not offer what can already be had on secular terms in their culture. They are an alternative to it. They stand outside of its life. They stand over against it in their preoccupations, because their preoccupations are with the God of their salvation who in his holiness and grace is completely unlike anything we find in life. In life we find preoccupations that are thoroughly this-worldly. The preoccupations we should find in the church arise from the knowledge of God in Christ and from his written Word. Because of this, they are necessarily ‘otherworldly.” (David Wells, The Courage to Be Protestant)

Q/A Friday: Is There Profit in Reading and Teaching the Genealogies in the Bible?

The quick and easy answer is that all Scripture – including lists of names – is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness (II Timothy 3:16-17), but I am assuming the reader who posed the question is looking for more than this.

Here are three additional reasons it is profitable to study, read, and preach genealogies

  1. Genealogies show continuity throughout history. They are a record of actual people living in actual time. Genealogies help bolster the historicity of the Bible.
  2. Genealogies can confirm prophecy. For example, we are told numerous times in the O.T. that the Messiah would come from David’s line (Isaiah 11:1), and when we read the genealogies of Jesus in the Gospels (Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38), that connection to David is verified.
  3. Genealogies show God’s love and salvation of all kinds of peoples. Sometimes genealogies are just lists of both Christian and non-Christians, but a geneaology for Jesus will also show that it wasn’t just Jews in his line, but Gentiles that he also chose to save (e.g., Ruth a Moabite, Rahab a prostitute).

If you have a question you would like to submit to our blog to be answered in the future, please email it to charlesheck@cox.net or post your question in the comments section.

Internal Adornment: Part 7

We arrive at Week 7 of our series in the Beatitudes. Below are the previous studies.

  • God’s desire for internal righteousness (Matthew 5:1-4, 20)
  • Spiritual poverty (Matthew 5:3)
  • Mourning (Matthew 5:4)
  • Humility (Matthew 5:5)
  • Holy ambition (Matthew 5:6).
  • Mercy (Matthew 5:7)

Today, we consider this – “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mathew 5:8).

The Greek word for “pure” means “free from any adulterating matter” or “clean.” It is where we get our English word “catharsis.” If something is cathartic, we say it was cleansing in some way. Thus, the idea of being “pure” is to be free from any defilement.

The “pure” Christian is single-minded in his devotion towards God. There is no competitor or no other love or no other god. In Matthew 6:24, Jesus reminds us that we cannot “serve two masters.” To be a friend with the world is be an enemy of God (James 4:4). A “pure” man is not divided between two loves. He doesn’t play on both teams. He doesn’t have his foot in the world’s door and another foot in heaven’s door.

What’s the reward? Seeing God. To see God is to know God. To behold God in any form or fashion is the ultimate human experience. The verb suggests to us that those who are “pure in heart” will continually see God for themselves.

Now, we know that God does not fully reveal Himself to even sinful men like Moses (Exodus 33-34), for men would die. The theophanies in the O.T. where God revealed himself in a symbol (e.g., cloud, pillar of fire, burning bush) were glimpses of a fraction of His glory. The closest full disclosure of God was Jesus Christ, and John tells us that Jesus is the exegesis of the Father; Jesus explains or exposits the Father (John 1:18).

We see God in creation. We see God in suffering (Romans 8:28-29). We see God in providence (Proverbs 21:1; Romans 13:1). We see God in Scripture.

If seeing God is the aim, and purity is the way to reach it, how does one get or remain pure?

First, verify your own salvation. The prophet Ezekiel, in foretelling salvation through Christ, said, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you” (Ezekiel 36:25). Purity begins with salvation when we get a new heart.

Second, wash yourself in God’s Word (Psalm 119:9). Jesus prayed that we would be made holy by His Word (John 17:17). The Word will sanctify you. You cannot expect to grow by casually reading and studying God’s Word. When sin moves in, the Word moves out and when the Bible moves into your heart, sin will have a hard time finding a place to dwell.

Third, walk by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16). The Holy Spirit is the agent of sanctification. To walk by the Holy Spirit is to daily pursue His fruits – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). We know we are walking in the Holy Spirit if the desires to produce these fruits are greater than the desires to be fleshly or carnal.

Fourth, and finally, surround yourself with pure people. A friend of the fools will be hurt and a wise man walks with the wise (Proverbs 13:20). Bad company can pollute one’s good morals (I Corinthians 15:33). Your closest friends should be pure in heart. Your friends say a lot about who you really are.

Where is your heart? Is your heart far from God, like the religious leader? Do you see God all around you? How is your heart postured towards Him?

Images of the Church

 

The Image Scripture References Significance of the Image
Assembly Acts 19 The church is a gathering of believers.
Body Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:18 The church is diverse, but also a unified organism.
Branches John 15 The church is connected to Christ and through Him can produce fruit.
Bride Ephesians 5:22-33; Revelation 21:9 God loves, leads and honors the church. The church submits, respects, and reveres God.
Building Ephesians 2:20 Christ is the cornerstone of the church and it is built through the proper functioning of its parts.
Flock John 10:14-18, 26-27; I Peter 5:1-3 God cares for the church, leads the church, disciplines the church, and nurtures the church.
Household Ephesians 2:19; I Timothy 3:15 The church and God share an intimacy unlike ay other relationship.
Priesthood Hebrews 4:14-16 Each member of the church can approach God directly.
Temple I Peter 2:5 The church is a gathering of worship.

What Fruit Do You Bear?

The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God” (Psalm 92:13-14).

Palm trees and Lebanese trees symbolize strength and permanence, which is in contrast to the weakness of brevity of the wicked. They are trees that stand erect. Now, historically there weren’t really trees in the Temple but the point is that if there were, they would flourish because they are as close to God as they could get.

And because they are strong trees and they stand upright no matter the circumstances, they are bound to flourish.

Anyone who stands in righteousness and is for God will flourish. The closer you are to God, the more this will be the case.

Remember in Psalm 1 that the godly man is like a tree planted by the water and bore fruit (Psalm 1:3). The man of God is “like a tree” who is productive and fruitful. He is “planted,” which refers to a permanent state. The man of God plants himself in water. Why? So that he can grow. He does this in order to be productive.

The man of God is known by the fruit he bears. Charles Spurgeon writes, “The Lord’s trees are all evergreens. No winter’s cold can destroy their verdure; and yet, unlike evergreens in our country, they are all fruit bearers.”

The man of God produces fruit because he puts himself in a place to grow. The man of God plants himself wherever and whenever he can in order to grow. He makes whatever sacrifice in his own personal time to be “planted by the rivers of water” so he can grow.

Why? Because a man of God is known why what fruit he bears.