Last time I discussed that the Bible tells us that God values Human Life.
Today, I would like to explore the fact that children are especially valuable to God and deserve special protection. This principle is found all over scripture, so I will pick a couple of passages that show this vividly.
First off, let's look at a couple of my heroes. You may not have ever heard of them, but I bet you know the little guy whose life they saved. Their names are Shiphrah and Puah. They were midwives in ancient Egypt. Now the Israelites lived in Egypt for 400 years - since the time of Joseph (the guy with the amazing technicolor dreamcoat). The Israelites were fruitful and multiplied - they had lots and lots of babies. The new Pharoah started to get worried because there were so many Israelites, he was afraid they might turn on him and join in on an enemy attack. What's a long-term solution to make sure there is no Israelite army to fight against you? Kill all the boys. So that's where we enter the scripture...
The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, "When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live." The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. Exodus 1:15-17
The midwives feared God. They knew that killing little boys is wrong. They knew that God would not be happy if they used their power to destroy children. They had a legal right to do it. In fact, it was a direct order from the most powerful man on earth...and still, they chose to do the right thing.
And one of the little boys that they let live... his name was Moses.
Later on in Moses life, when he was leading the people out of Egypt, they came to Mount Sinai, got the Ten Commandments, and then God gave them some other instructions. Listen to this...
The LORD said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites: 'Any Israelite or any alien living in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech must be put to death. The people of the community are to stone him. I will set my face against that man and I will cut him off from his people; for by giving his children to Molech, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name. If the people of the community close their eyes when that man gives one of his children to Molech and they fail to put him to death, I will set my face against that man and his family and will cut off from their people both him and all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molech. Leviticus 20:1-5
If you know the scriptures, you know that God does not talk like this often. The overwhelming message of scripture is God's love for people. Is that true here?
This is angry language. This is a finger-pointing, hand-on-hip, set-jaw command. It seems that this is something that makes His blood boil. This must be serious stuff.
So, what is this all about? Who's Molech? And what would make God so angry?
Molech was a Canaanite (pagan) god. Worshipers of Molech constructed a huge idol in a valley. Picture an enormous statue with a head and torso. Imagine large stone arms stretched out as if the statue was going to do arm curls. The belly of the statue is a large furnace.
Worship of Molech was a fertility cult. In other words, you worship Molech, and he will make your life prosperous - fertile. And how do you worship Molech?
You take your child, wrap him up in cloths so he can't crawl off, and place him in Molech's arms. As the child wriggles, he rolls closer and closer to the fire. Finally, he falls into the furnace and where he dies a painful, horrifying death...all in the name of prosperity. Hmm...
No wonder it made God mad.
And notice that not only is the person who sacrificed his child in trouble. The community that lets this happen is just as much responsible in God's eyes. That's because children are especially valuable to God and deserve special protection. The overwhelming love of God is directed at the children who are the innocent victims.
What about Jesus? How did he feel about children?
Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. Matthew 19:13-15
Jesus thought kids were just as important as adults and He had a special place in His heart for the little ones. He placed His hands on them. Mamita's paraphrase says "He loved on them." Children should be loved on, not destroyed. They should be protected by the adults in their lives, as well as by the community at large.
Blessings to you,