The Expository Files

The Worth of a Child
Luke 2:21-24

Luke 2:21-24

 “And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

And when the days of her purification according to the Law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;

(As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)

And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

Of all God’s gifts there is none so precious, so valuable, as that of a child. I am astonished to realize that our nation is so confused over such a natural realization. Well after the twenty-fifth anniversary of Roe V. Wade, Americans are deaf to the crying blood of innocent children. Our senses have become numb to the mounting casualties of selfishness and vanity better know as “pro-choice.” It is time that we awaken to realize the value of life. It is time to realize the immutable fact that God has placed within every child an eternal soul.

Children are valuable to God. So precious were they to Jehovah that under Mosaic Law, the first born male of every woman belonged to God. According to the law Exodus 13:2 every firstborn male, was sacred to God. That law was in recognition of the gracious power of God in giving human life. And God intended for parents to recognize the value of the children. There was therefore a ceremony called the Redemption of the Firstborn Numbers 18: 16. It was laid down that for the sum of five shekels parents could, as it were, buy back their son from God. The sum was paid to the priests.

But this was only the beginning of a parent’s responsibility to their gift of a child. Forty to eighty day alter birth, at the end of purification a woman would bring a lamb to the Temple for a burnt offering and a young pigeon for a sin offering (Leviticus 1:2). That was an expensive sacrifice, and so the law laid down, Leviticus 12: 8 that if she could not afford the lamb she might bring another pigeon. The offering of the two pigeons instead of the lamb and the pigeon was called “The Offering of the Poor.” It was this offering which Mary brought but Mary’s obligation to that child did not end there. Indeed much effort would be put into teaching a child the way of God. Above all the teaching, every year there was to be an expensive trip to Jerusalem for the feast days. Raising a child then was just as expensive as it is now! But somehow all of the diaper bills, lunch money, fund-raisers, shopping trips, extra-curricular activities, car insurance etc. etc. etc. are not so painful when you realize the value of even one child. Mary was conscientious concerning her obligations to God as she reared our Lord. What we must do today is no different than what she did so long ago. Namely, to know the value of every child, to own up to our responsibility to raise them and to be thankful that God gave us the opportunity to do so.

The Stoics used to say that a child was not given to a parent but only lent. I agree. As parents, our prime concern should be to return these children to God undamaged. How often do you thank God for your children? How often do you pray for those children and parents who are less fortunate than you? Have you prayed for our law-makers to change their hearts and learn the value of life? If Christians are not fighting the good fight, who will?

By Kenneth R. Peden
 From Expository Files 10.12; December, 2003