Dedicating Your Child to the Lord
The purpose of dedication is threefold. First, to trust God for the salvation of these young souls at the earliest possible time. Secondly, for the parents to be committed in raising their children faithfully in the "nurture and admonition" of the Lord. Lastly, to trust the Lord to watchover and protect these young ones as they grow and mature to become fruitful and successful Christian adults.
And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
The scripture clearly reminds us of the simplicity of the Gospel as God's saving message can be believed and understood by even a young child. We as adults must not over complicate the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ and the simple means of being born again by receiving as our very own Savior and repenting of our sin. We must approach Him with the same trusting childlike faith.
Jesus said, "suffer (allow) the children to come unto me." There are five essential areas where parents need exhortation regarding the spiritual aspects of raising their children in Christ.
It is not my intent to address the issue of the age age of accountability in this article. I do however think that there is an age in which most children can understand the Gospel and truly repent and trust Christ as their Savior. Although the age differs it is generally thought to be between 4-6 years old. Paul reminded Timothy how his mother and Grand mother raised him according to the scriptures.
When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. II Tim 1:5
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. II Tim 3:14&15
Most all young parents are specifically concerned about the physical growth and development of their children. Yet, not all Christian parents are greatly concerned about their child's spiritual maturity. Getting them up before school to pray, family devotions and church attendance is vital during these early years. Teaching our children living faith is also an important aspect of their spiritual development.
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. I Peter 2:2
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. II Peter 3:18
John the Baptist showed great spiritual growth as a child and our Lord Jesus was in the Temple discussing spiritual things with the experts of that day while his parents had already made a days journey back home.
And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.
And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? 50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. 51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. Luke 2:49-52
Children are a godly heritage as well as a gift from God. When brought up correctly, they will be an incredible blessing. When not properly parented, they will undoubtedly "suck the life right out of you!"
Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5
Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you. 2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. 3 Your eyes have seen what the LORD did because of Baalpeor: for all the men that followed Baalpeor, the LORD thy God hath destroyed them from among you. 4 But ye that did cleave unto the LORD your God are alive every one of you this day. 5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. 6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. 7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? 8 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? 9 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. Duet 4:1-9
Children need to be taught worship at home and in the house of God. It is important to provide a disciplined environment for them to learn. Today we even provide special services such as Sunday School and children's' Church so that they can be ministered to on their level. Family devotions should be geared to their age group and ability as well.
Then Joshua built an altar unto the LORD God of Israel in mount Ebal, 31 As Moses the servant of the LORD commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the LORD, and sacrificed peace offerings. 32 And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel. 33 And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel. 34 And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them. Joshua 8:30-35
Notice how the Bible clearly infers the need for the "little ones" to be present and participating in Worship.
And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. II Chron 20:13
We should also do our best to teach our young children to serve. Whether it is being a witness and testimony of the Gospel of our lord Jesus Christ or doing something particular for Jesus at church, the little ones should always endeavor to pleas Him. Even as a little boy, Samuel was a faithful servant at the Temple. The little maid in II Kings chapter five earnestly bade her master to to seek the man of God
But Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod. 19 Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The LORD give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD. And they went unto their own home. I Sam 2:18-20
Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper. 2 And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife. 3 And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy. II Kings 5:1-3
Children are a gift and a blessing from God. We as parents need to be sincere about raising them for Christ. Dedicating our children is a tradition that can only strengthen families and churches.
Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers. prov 17:6