Author: Ron Graham
—Exploited and mistreated or valued and nurtured?
The Bible greatly values children and condemns the mistreatment of them that is so prevalent in the world today.
One hundred million children of primary school age have no school to go to. A similar number of children are forced to work as slaves in wretched and hazardous conditions. In one hour while we are worshipping in church, more that one thousand five hundred children, under the age of five, will die. This is disgusting.
We are going to think about the way in which the Bible values children, something sorely lacking in many parts of the world. Children are even exploited and badly treated sometimes in our own nation.
1 How Hannah Valued Her Child
We will read the story of Hannah in 1st Samuel chapter one. This story speaks for itself. Samuel's success as a prophet of God was largely due to the manner in which his mother valued him as precious in God's sight.
2 How Paul Valued Children
Paul believed that women are "saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with sobriety" (1Timothy 2:15). Bearing and raising children is seen here as a very valuable work which brings honor to women. It is a commitment to be carried on with faith, love, holiness, and sobriety, because children are precious.
3 How Jesus Valued Children
There was an incident where children in the temple were calling out to Jesus, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" The people in charge of the temple were indignant.
Jesus quoted the scripture to these leaders: "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings you, O Lord, have perfected praise" (Matthew 21:14-16, Psalms 8:2). Children are precious to God because of their praise.
In another incident, it was the disciples who were at fault, because they were stopping people from bringing their children to Jesus. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 19:14). Children are precious to God because of their innate righteousness.
Jesus spoke of the humility of a child as something to be emulated. (Matthew 18:2-7,10). Children are precious to God because of their humility.
Also in that last passage, Jesus warns everyone never to mistreat a child, despise a child, or lead a child astray. They are precious to God. They have their angels in heaven. Nobody will ever mistreat a child without God knowing and condemning (Matthew 18:5-7,10).