The joy found in the hearts of godly parents when covenant seed is brought forth!
The Psalmist in all his wisdom and as prompted by the Holy Spirit sang these words: “Lo children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. . . Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them” (Psalm 127:3-5).
Why does the Psalmist speak in such glowing terms of bearing children—”an heritage,” “a reward,” “happy”? He is mindful of the same wonderful truth that we are mindful of today—God’s covenant. Every child of God believes that the Son of God gathers, out of the whole human race, from the beginning to the end of the world a Church chosen to eternal life (see the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 21). And he believes too that God does this in the line of generations, that is to say, that God “hath commanded that what He hath done be passed in tradition from father to son.” All godly parents, therefore, are convinced in their hearts that the Lord chooses to gather His Church by means of the fruit of their womb. They are of the firm conviction that the promises of the forgiveness of sin, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting are not only for them but for their children too. That gives to those covenant parents joy unspeakable. And in that joy they feel compelled in all gladness to propagate that covenant line. It is not a matter of being forced to do something they really care not to do. But it is a matter of their love for God and for His covenant. Because they realize that God gathers His Church in their generations, a man and his wife out of all joy feel the urge to bring forth children. Thus the words of the Psalmist: “Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them!”
Perhaps a prime example of this sincere desire to bring forth covenant seed is the action of Tamar, Judah’s daughter-in-law. In the events recorded for us in Genesis 38 we are at first apt to condemn her as a wicked, immoral, and perverted heathen. But we must not misconstrue her strong desire for seed by Judah’s family. Surely her actions can never be condoned. They were very, very wicked. Yet it was her sincere desire and longing to bring forth covenant seed: She used the wrong means to fulfill that longing; nevertheless, the longing itself was righteous. In fact it was because of that desire that she is specifically mentioned in Matthew 1:3 as a mother of Christ. But the point in this example is that this is exactly the longing which every godly man and his wife experiences. They are filled with joy and gladness before God in their duty of bringing forth covenant seed. And we might add, they are extremely saddened when they find this impossible (e.g., Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth).
Such a joy and longing on the part of God’s children, however, enrages Satan and his host. He hates to see the continued gathering of God’s Church. He hates it when godly parents bring forth covenant seed. How can he destroy Christ’s Church and ruin God’s eternal plan if parents in that Church of Christ continue to supply the ranks with young Christian Soldiers? He must stop this if he is at all to succeed! So he tries too!
In Revelation 12 we find that the great red dragon which, according to verse 9, is “that old serpent called the Devil and Satan,” was cast out of heaven and into the earth. Satan had failed to destroy the cause of Christ in this world by devouring the Christ-child Who was brought forth out of the loins of the Old Dispensational Church. That failure of Satan to destroy Christ took place when on the cross Christ achieved the victory over sin and death. At that time that “great red dragon” was cast out of heaven and into the earth. No longer could he stand before God accusing the brethren; now he could dwell only on the earth. Being cast out into the earth Satan in all of his fury turned once again on the Church of Christ—the woman, but this time as she became manifest in the New Dispensational Church. In the fury we are told that, “he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.” So angry was Satan over his defeat that he turned in all his fury upon the Church of Christ and began to persecute her. In verses 14-16 of Revelation 12 we are told how that the Lord not only gathers but also defends and preserves His Church.
Now, however, Satan’s fury has cooled somewhat. He is still wroth with the Church of Christ, but he realizes that persecution really only serves to strengthen and purify the church. His tactics are different now. We are told that “the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” This war with the remnant is not the same warfare as persecution. Instead it becomes a spiritual warfare, a warfare whereby he uses many sly and deceiving ways to destroy the covenant seed which yet remains in this world.
If only Satan could annihilate completely the remnant of the seed, then Christ’s return to this world would be needless. If only Satan could stem the continued growth of God’s Church, then God’s plan to glorify His name would fail and he, Satan, could rule the world. But how?
Ah, yes, destroy the joy and the longing in the child of God’s heart to bring forth the covenant seed! That is how! So Satan sets about his task.
In the first place he works in the hearts of men and women within the church of Christ a desire for freedom. They enjoy being able to pick up and go whenever and wherever they please. Then, of course, in connection with this, Satan provides so many pleasurable places to go—you name your desire and he will see to it that there will be a place provided to accommodate you. But then there are the children. How they seem to get in the way! Either one has to drag them along or he has to pay through the nose for a baby-sitter. Maybe one or two children do not seem to steal away so much of that freedom but any more becomes cumbersome.
Then naturally there is the financial burden which they cause. If we take them along with us in our pleasure escapades then our wallets are empty by the end of the night. But if we were instead to leave them home, then the baby-sitter walks away with a broad smile as she tucks five or ten dollars into her purse. Then, too, there is the cost of covenant education. I make enough money on the job to send one or possibly two through school but I could never afford a third. Strange, but we never think of using the money which we spend on pleasure as being a means to send another through school—but then, that is the way Satan works.
Of course, the women’s liberation movement seems so distant from us. It’s never a drag to sit home with the kids every day. We never say to our husbands, “Why don’t you take care of them? They’re your kids too!” Or do we? How those children can be a burden and a sorrow!
Hello, Tamar? Where are you? Where is your joy and your longing to bring forth covenant seed? Where is your desire to propagate the cause of Christ in this world by bringing forth recruits? All gone? God forbid!
How easy Satan makes it with all the modern technology of this world at our disposal. All kinds of contraceptives are available. All we have to do is take our pick. And that wicked world makes it sound so noble too—family planning is for the good of society, they say. Or how about abortion? We are alarmed and stunned with the murders taking place in Atlanta at present. Are we alarmed and awestruck by the fact that thousands of unborn babies are murdered each year? Maybe that has become so common place already that in a generation or two it too will be accepted among the people of God. If Satan has his way it will!
The day and age in which we live is evil. As we are made aware of these attempts of Satan to destroy the remnant of the seed we resist. We do not give in to the tactics of Satan, as shrewd as they may be. We see in those tactics the swift return of Christ. And as we look forward to that return our attitude will be one of joy and gladness in bringing forth covenant children. We hear Peter’s warning in II Peter 3:17, “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led astray with the error of the wicked, fall from your stedfastness.” We hear that warning and take heed. And as we obey it we are comforted by the fact that the Son of God gathers but also preserves His Church, and that, from the beginning all the way to the end of the world. The cause of Christ will prevail and His Church shall endure unto all eternity