who care for one another and bring God’s love into a broken world”
Throughout the Bible we learn that children are of extreme importance to the Lord. E.g. Ps. 127:3 says: Children are a heritage from the Lord, a reward from Him. Children are a blessing, not a guarantee! This is e.g. what we acknowledge when we dedicate our children to the Lord – giving back of what we have received from Him.
An OT example of dedication is seen in the story of Hannah. She was barren for many years, but prayed that if God would give her a child then she would give him back to the Lord.
“I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” [1 Samuel 1:27-28].
This dedication was a literal dedication as Samuel, which was the name of Hannah’s child, was raised by Eli, the high priest in the tabernacle at Shilo.
A NT example of dedication is seen in the story of the little children brought to Jesus, as to receive his prayer and blessing over their future lives [e.g. Math. 19:13-16]. It was a common practice for Jewish believers to bring their before the elders and rabbis of the synagogues as to receive their prayer and blessing over their lives. In this story they brought their children to Jesus.
The bible calls us to pass on our heritage of faith to the following generations. As parents we are to talk of God’s works “to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.” [Joel 1:3]
God spoke the following words through Moses to Israel: “These commands I give you, impress them upon your children. Talk about it when you sit at home, walk along the road, lie down, get up. Tie them on your hands, bind them on your foreheads, write them on the doorframes of your house.” [Deuteronomy 6:6-9]
The very heart of these commandments was the commandment of love: Israel is told to Love the Lord with all their heart, soul and strength. We as parents are called to learn our children to love God with their whole being.
We recognize that the parents are acknowledging the following commitments:
- To give back to God this child that has been entrusted to them
- To acknowledge their dependence on God for wisdom, strength, patience, and love, among much more
- To promise to raise their children up in the fear and knowledge of the Lord
- To raise them up in the Lord’s instruction and discipline but with an attitude of grace
- To promise to be Christ-like examples for their child
As a larger body of family, friends, and as a church we are also making the commitments to as much as we are able:
- To encourage you as parents to grow in your love for God and to be faithful to Him as you strive to walk with Jesus each day
- To encourage you to love each other as husband and wife and be faithful in your marriage
- To assist you in raising your child to be a follower of Jesus
WOW! Heavy stuff!
Good news: You don’t have to do it on your own, that is also what dedicating children is about – a realization that you cannot do it on your own but that you need God’s help, guidance, and leadership.