I had the privilege of guest-posting for my friend, Sarah Demott, while she’s on maternity leave from her blog. I hope that what I shared with her audience encourages you, as well!
Many of us are familiar with the beautiful description of children found in Psalm 127:4-5:
“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.”
I got to thinking one day, however, that I most likely did not grasp the full implications of this comparison of children to arrows. I started wondering what folks in Ancient Israel would have pictured in their mind’s eye when hearing this Psalm. So, I did a bit of digging! Here is what I discovered.
What it Means to be an Arrow
The implication is that children are to be the defenders (arrows) of their parents.
As any archer knows, arrows are used as weapons, in self-defense and war-time situations. To describe children as being their parents’ arrows is to imply that they are to defend, support, and protect their parents, acting in their best interests, particularly when with their enemies (vs. 5). So often, we view ourselves as the defenders of our children and while indeed we are, there comes a point as they grow where the tables are turned just a bit and they take on the role of being our defenders. What was sobering as I thought on this, however, was that, in order for a child to want to assume this responsibility, there has to first be a good relationship of love and closeness between parent and child. No child is going to want to defend (or even feel able to defend) a parent who is abusive, harsh, and unkind or standoffish and unfeeling. If we want to help our children assume their role one day as our defenders, we need to be, from an early age, cultivating a feeling of closeness, love, kindness and compassion with them, as well as an interest in them and their hearts.
As arrows, children are to be “endued with strength and virtues from God”.
Arrows provide a warrior with strength and protection in times of intense battle. In order for the arrows to do their job, however, the archer has to first prepare the arrows, drawing them close and positioning them just so before finally releasing them out into the world. Likewise, our children are to be as strong arrows in this time of spiritual battle we find ourselves in, competently interacting with the Enemy wherever they find him. In order for this to be the case, however, our children must first be prepared for such a war. We have to pull them close, training them day in and day out, under our care, to be ready, willing, and able to engage in spiritual battle, and then, when they are ready, release them to meet their target. In a lot of ways, this description of children being as arrows really speaks more to our responsibility as parents than it does to our childrens’ job as arrows – an arrow can do nothing of its own accord, but must instead be properly prepared and then launched.
To read the rest, head on over to Sarah’s blog!