Wednesday, October 21, 2009

God in our children

But the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses were angry when they saw his miracles and heard the children shouting praises to the Son of David. (16) The men said to Jesus, "Don't you hear what those children are saying?" "Yes, I do!" Jesus answered. "Don't you know that the Scriptures say, 'Children and infants will sing praises'?" (Matthew 21:15-16 CEV)

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: (Acts 2:17)
God has promised to speak, not just to our children, but through our children. I think, however, that we, as adults, do not expect it. Instead, we have adopted the old adage, "Children should be seen and not heard." We need to raise our standards.

The Bible is full of examples. In the Gospels, we see Jesus using the bread of a young boy to feed thousands of people. (John 16:9) In the Old Testament, there is David, who was chosen above his older brothers, Samson, who was blessed with amazing strength, and Samuel, who God called out to instead of the priest Eli. (1 Samuel 16:11-13; Judges 13:24; 1 Samuel 3:4)

One of my favorite examples is found in the life of Daniel and his three friends. In Daniel, chapter 1, we find the people of Judah taken captive by the king of Babylon. The temple's goods are removed and the inhabitants have been uprooted and taken into bondage. Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, then sends out a proclamation for certain of Judah's children.

Let's read the description.

Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. (verse 4)
That's quite an expectation for a child! Think of it. These children, which I'm sure were far more in number than just Daniel and his three friends, must become the smartest and the best for a king who was not their own and didn't believe as they did. And remember, he was a king. He was not someone you could argue with and he'd change his mind. This is made plain in verse 10 where the prince of eunuchs feared for his life.

But God...God had big plans for the lives of these four children.
But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. (9) Now God had brought Daniel into favour... (verse 8-9)
God provided for Daniel and his friends physically, mentally, and spiritually. But it began when Daniel decided he would not defile himself. He took a stand for what he believed, in absence of any adult there to tell him to do so. God then gave him favor with the prince of eunuchs so that he and his friends could eat pulse instead of the king's meat. He gave them better health than all of the other children (verse 15) and great wisdom when they spoke to the king, so much so that the king himself said they were better than all his own magicians and astrologers! (verses 19-20)

But the story doesn't stop there. Notice what happens in chapter 2.
And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him. (2) Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. (Daniel 2:1-2)
Here is the king disturbed by a terrible dream to which he calls all the men of the land to interpret, and he follows this call with a threat. (verse 5) There is now a lot at stake! To make matters a lot worse (verse 10) the Chaldeans open their mouths and let the king know his request is impossible and no man can possibly follow through. Furiously the king commands all involved, including Daniel and his friends, to be slain.

At this point, you'd think it is over and all had come to nought. Except for Daniel - Daniel asks the king to stay his hand and requests time to pray. This is Daniel, the youth, the same child whom God had given favor with man, health and great wisdom. The lives of all the magicians and astrologers now sit on the shoulders of a young man.

Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; (28) But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these... (Daniel 2:27-28)
Wow! We need to expect our children to hear from heaven the way Daniel did. That they will stand for Christ, and pray, and speak His word is as much a promise of God as is salvation or healing or prosperity.

But this thought becomes even greater when we remember what Jesus said in Matthew 18:4. "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Instead of waiting for the child to grow up to be an adult before God moves, we, the adult, are to become like the child and then God will move!

Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. (14) But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. (15) And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence. (Matthew 19:13-15)

Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

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