Wednesday, June 19, 2013

And What Does the One God Seek? Godly Offspring

"...And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring."                                                                                     Malachi 2:15

Back in the 1980s when my husband and I got married we talked about how to plan out the perfect family.  I did a little informal research asking people how many had been in their family, how they were spaced and how they felt about it growing up.  I watched people and tried to decipher what made for the perfect family.  One friend came from a large family and had loved it.  Her husband also came from a large family and insisted that they have only two children because he had hated it.  No matter how hard I looked there didn't seem to be a discernable ideal number of children and spacing.  As we began our family we waited a couple years until my husband was almost done with school to start having children, so that I could work and make an income.  I found it a hard wait - I was really looking forward to having children of our own.  Our first two naturally spaced about two years apart with nursing.  Sometime around that time I had a spiritual renewal.  I had "asked Jesus into my heart" and sought to follow Him since I was a child of five but reading the book of Luke, I felt the LORD calling me to an intimate daily walk of obedience, of taking up my cross and following Him. Some months later as I was reading through the Old Testament story of Jacob I was struck by the wording in the story of the births of his twelve sons.  Genesis 29:31 says, " And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren." and chapter 30 uses the words,  "and God opened her womb".  At one point Jacob points out that our fertility is in God's hands, (Genesis 30:2 KJV)  "And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?"  This was a completely new concept to me.  I asked my husband what he thought and we started searching the Bible looking up words in a concordance like woman, women, child, children and womb.  It was a fascinating study and in the end we were convinced that we could trust God to plan our family.  It really was a matter of trust.  We didn't have much money (still don't) and some raised the question of how we would provide for all the children they assumed we'd have.  Interestingly, by God's sometimes miraculous provision, we now own our own home and live debt free with those many wonderful children.  He has proven himself faithful through the years, though we have sometimes had to alter our American ideas of the difference between needs and wants.  Finding physical and emotional energy to do a good job of raising a large family (since that is what God chose for us - we have a friends who trusted God with their fertility and were given two children) has stretched us and  we didn't always do it perfectly.  One thing I have come to believe is that there are no perfect parents.  Only God is perfect and worthy of worship.  Children are amazingly resilient and in a big family there are many relationships ministering to children.  It is wonderful gift to have older children who serve and love their younger siblings.  Raising children in a large family is certainly a group effort.  The comraderie of working together in this way is a blessing.  Now that I am no longer bearing children I sometimes seek out "opportunities" for my younger children because they don't have as many natural opportunities to serve others.  It helps now that Grandchildren are coming and we also seek out ways to serve other families in our home.  
Some years ago several of our children began to rebel against God and live in sin.  The feelings of failure were overwhelming and I began to wonder if we had somehow missed God's will in having all these children and if we had been wrong in trusting God with our family planning.  Would it have "turned out" better if we had had fewer children?  This week I remembered that my parents were wonderful parents and had a small family and yet my sister was partying and pregnant in her late teens.  She walks with the Lord and is in full-time Christian ministry now, but for a few years things didn't look too good.  We idolized my dad!  Her waywardness wasn't because of imperfect parenting.  There are no perfect parents and our parents were some of the best!  Even in a small family children sometimes rebel and reject the LORD.

Consider God's heart for a fruitful marriage as explained in Malachi 2:13-15. (NLT) 

13 Another thing you do: You flood the Lord’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14 You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. 15 Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring.[a] So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.

The stated reason that God hates divorce is because it interferes with His plan for Godly offspring.  What will we in America answer when we stand before him and answer for all the Godly offspring we don't have because of our own selfishness and sin, because of our rampant divorce rates?!  But then what about all those who  stay married but have lost out on the opportunity to have Godly offspring because of the children they decided NOT to have?  I realize that just having children doesn't guarantee that they will be godly, but if we don't have them there is NOT even the CHANCE for them to be godly.  I think we disappoint the heart of God when we refuse to be fruitful.
Recently I have been pondering the parable of the ten talents as it applies to the issue of family planning.  
Luke 19:12-27KJV  follows:  (If you prefer an easier translation use this link:  Luke 19:12-27 NLT)
12 He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.
19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
21 For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
22 And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
25 (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)
26 For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.
27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
I've often asked myself what are my "talents"?  What is it that I have to invest in the kingdom of God?  And I believe that bearing and raising children is a major contribution I as a woman can make to the Kingdom of God. 


  1. Cautionary Preface: Please no one judge me by this comment because it's mostly confused ramblings to try to hear someone else's much more Biblically sound answer. If I could post anonymously I probably would... And although it may sound argumentative or angry, it's more because it's late at night and I'm confused! ;-D

    So, what about all the kids I won't have if I don't get married? How does that fit with 1 Cor 7? Because your arguments sound *almost* like if I don't have kids I'm not trusting God, and verses like "and she shall be saved through childbirth" (1 Tim 2:15) say the same. But 1 Cor 7 says that it's okay for a virgin to not get married; she hasn't sinned in that. The first obvious conclusion to me (please, please don't think I actually believe this!!!) is that since a woman has to have kids to be saved and that it's okay to not get married, then every woman that doesn't get married must have a child out of wedlock in order to be saved... But since that can't be true (I can't cite a reference at the moment, it's probably buried in Leviticus somewhere, but everyone says it's so...) then one of the two axioms must be wrong. Of course, when I bring up verses like 1 Timothy 2:15, people automatically say that we aren't saved through childbirth, we're saved through Jesus Christ!!! (Duh.) So, why does this passage say such a contradictory thing? What does it REALLY mean? I really hope to not get duped into getting married, (I see what happened with my parents, and never want to go through this pain again!!!) and 1 Cor 7 says it's just fine to not get married. But your article seems so sound, so which is it? How do these two concepts fit? Am I disappointing God by not getting married and giving Him a chance to produce a zillion more kids through me? Or did the emphasis of childbearing switch to evangelism in the NT? Or what?
    Thanks! Hope this made at least a smidgin of sense...

  2. Whoa, looks like it's anonymous anyway, my public account name is different from what I thought it was...
    Mrs. Lofgren, if you want to address this issue and actually have time in the middle of everything else that's going on and would rather talk or email than publicly post, Rachael will recognize my signature and be able to connect it with my real name if you don't already know who I am lol!
    -Chelse Brun :O)