Genesis 26:22 | No More Time or Space

Getting married and having children is a very personal and individual choice. There is nothing wrong with having or not having kids or having only a couple vs a bunch. But there is a trend in society that would disagree with me and argues that having a large family or having any kids at all is wrong and immoral.

For the most part this trend is not a trend to have fewer children but it is a trend to not have any children at all. There are many reasons for this but my thought is that the underlying reason for not having children is because these young adults never grew up in the first place. They flock to the city and they want to have fun. Kids are inconvenient and expensive. Cities where all the fun happens are not kid friendly. Also, kids put a damper on trips around the world. How can one travel if there are kids to be cared for? Who wants that?

Of course, not having children would never be admitted to in such terms as I have described above and some reading this are offended at me for stating the choice in those terms. Therefore, we must have a better reason for not having children. The rationalization must be noble and moral sounding so as to provide cover for one’s own rebellion regarding not having children. When I was younger the reason to not have kids was that the world is evil and so it would be wrong to bring kids into a terrible society. This was a rare comment and few agreed. The current generations have a much more sophisticated line of thinking. Here it goes… The world is going to end due to climate change so it would be a terrible idea to bring kids into this world but it would also be immoral since these same kids would add to the death of the planet. If this rationalization sounds preposterous then take a second look at just how mainstream the idea has become as found here in the New York Times or the virtue signal given off by the royal couple Harry and Megan when they announced that they will self-limit to just two children for the climate’s sake.

22 And [Isaac] moved from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it. So he called its name Rehoboth, saying, “For now the Lord has made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land.” Genesis 26:22 ESV

In the Bible we never see such an idea so let me start with Isaac. He had run into an issue. His household and flocks had been blessed by God so much that everyone around him was terrified at the wealth and power that he had accumulated. His neighbors were filling up his watering holes with dirt and were fighting with him over every spot he tried to dig a new well. So, Isaac kept moving until he reached a place that was not claimed by anyone else. He named this spot Rehoboth which means wide spaces and he gave God credit for the location and the blessings of the future growth into this Rehoboth. This is the biblical view of life. God wants for people to grow and expand filling the earth.

When God created Adam and Eve he gave them a command to multiply.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28 ESV

When God released Noah from the Arc to walk on the earth after the flood God gave Noah the same command to multiply.

And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Genesis 9:1 ESV

That command to multiply has not been rescinded and the earth, God’s amazing creation, is not yet at capacity. There are many blessings given by God around having children and growing families. I am not a person with a large family and I am not advocating if one does not have a large family that they have failed at something. However I also agree with the joke/saying “I never met anyone on their death bed that said they wished they had less children.”

Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift? the fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Psalms 127:3-4 MSG

This is the order of things that God has put in place. He made us to multiply and only in our rebellion from him would we embrace an idea to kill babies in the womb or better yet to avoid having them at all. So let me come back to the argument at hand. Should we stop having children because the world going to end because of our presence?

First we can all agree that the world is going to end. This world is temporary. The earth will not last forever and it is in a state of decay. This is because God cursed creation as a result of sin. He did this in order to recreate and restore the heavens and the earth in perfect glory. Second God’s plans and his timing are unknown to us. Our contribution to the end of the planet is only impacted by prayer and waiting on God for his return. God is in control. People having babies or not having babies is not going to leave change God’s timeline.

11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:11-13 ESV

The Family Life of Jesus

Jesus was once a child and the Bible communicates two fundamental truths about his childhood that we as children and parents would do well to carry out in our own families.

First as parents it is our job to raise our children in a home where God is a priority. For Joseph and Mary it is clear that they raised up Jesus in a family that put priority on the religious requirements of their day and time. As first born in their family they dedicated Jesus to God according to the Law that is required for them as Israelites. While this is just one example of a religious ceremony it is assumed that this lifestyle is part of who they are as a family. I expect that they also spent time as a family talking about God, and living a life that God would want from them.

And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Luke 2:22-24 ESV

Second as children it is important that we honor our parents and submit to their authority when we are young. When Jesus was twelve his parents took him to Jerusalem for Passover and then started to return home from the festival without him. Once they realized that he was missing they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. When they found him he was in the Temple learning and amazing others with his knowledge. Yet even in this Jesus kept in mind God’s command to obey parents and submit to the order that God ordained. Jesus returned home to continue to fullfill his role as a child even if he might have been ready to be out on his own. The result is that Jesus in childhood continues to gain wisdom and favor with those in the community. Children that obey parents and respectfully listen to adults are a joy and benefit to the community at large.

And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:51-52 ESV

What are some additional things we can take away from the family that Jesus grew up in? I am sure based on what we know about this family that they would have taken the Law of Moses seriously. When I think of the Law of Moses I think of the 10 commandments. There are two types of commands in the 10 commandments. Commands 1-4 are commands that deal with the relationship between man and God like not using God’s name as a profanity or a curse. The second set of commands 5-10 are commands that deal with the relationship between man and man. Do not steal, or kill are famous examples. However the first command in the set that deals with our relationship with others is this…

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12 ESV

God starts with a command of asking us to Honor our parents and give them respect deserved or not. God also gives a promise with this command that if we do this our days in the land we are living might be long. None of the other commands related to our relationship with other people comes with a promise like this. The family unit, the relationship within the family and the children honoring their parents is foundational to peace and longevity in your life.

Proverbs has wisdom about how to live an earthly life that honors God and those around you. In this wisdom it is common to find advice from adult to child about how to approach life.

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. Proverbs 1:8-10 ESV

There is also wisdom that talks about the foolishness and haste of youth who think they know better than adults that have lived a few more seasons. God’s wisdom and knowledge is here for those that will pause to listen, but youth that did not respect and honor their parents will grow up to be adults that will not respect or honor God their creator. I think about my own youthfulness and my desire to get out in the world to make a name for myself. I was so foolish and let me just put it this way… the me of now thinks the me of 20 years ago was an idiot. Don’t blame God or parents for the stupid things you did in your youth.

Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way. When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord. Proverbs 19:2-3 ESV

So children pause, look, and submit to authorities in your life. There will be a time for you to make your own way. Lord willing you will have learn something valuable from those who have gone before you. Parents, you have a great responsibility and stewardship in the children that God has blessed you with. Here is one final thing that the parents of Jesus would have had on their mind as they raised Jesus and his brothers and sisters…

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV

Parents, are you talking about God as a family at home? Are you talking about God in the car when traveling? Are you talking about God in the morning before rushing off for the day? Moses said to teach them diligently. Are you diligent about the things of God in your family? Moses said to write the words of God on the walls of your house. Do you decorate your home with scripture? In my home office over my desk is a framed picture that has the words of Joshua 24:15 “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord”. Have you made Jesus a central focus of your life and family?