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Sabbath School Lessons on Families in the Family of God
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 37 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 4: Living With Lambs *
Introduction: How do we view children? Do we look upon them as
blessings or an expensive nuisance? Before my wife and I had any
children, she jokingly told some young parents we were going to have
a baby. The reaction of the other couple was most interesting. They
seemed to take glee in the fact that we now were entering the same
swamp as they were in - we were going to have to face the challenges
of raising children! Their reaction did not encourage us to become
parents. Let's plunge into our study and see what the Bible says
about the blessings and challenges of having children!
- The Blessing
- Read Psalms 127:3. How does the Bible view the gift of
children? Are they a blessing or a curse? (They are a
reward. This reminds me of a wife who complained that she
was just a "trophy wife" -- to which the husband
responded, "What contest in hades did I win?" Unlike the
joke about the trophy wife, God tells us that we "win" a
wonderful reward in life when we have children.)
- When the Bible says that children are a "heritage"
from the Lord, what does that mean? (The Hebrew word
means "an inheritance," or an "heirloom." They are
"from the Lord" in that God's original plan in Eden
was that Adam and Eve would bear children. See
Genesis 1:28 and Genesis 2:24.)
- How are children like an heirloom we inherit?
(Heirlooms remind us of the past. Our children
remind us of ourselves and our parents.)
- Read Psalms 127:4-5. What does it mean that sons are like
arrows and it is good to have a "quiver" full of them?
(Children help to support the parents. They are supposed
to be a buffer against the problems in life and old age.)
- Why does the text refer to "sons born in one's
youth?" (The sense of the text is fathers and sons
working together. If the father is old, he may not be
able to work with his sons or may not live to be
- My wife is the second of four children. Her parents were
poor and after their first child they decided to wait to
have another until they could "afford it." Years later a
friend said to them, "If you wait to have a child until
you can afford it, you will never have another child." My
wife's parents accepted the friend's advice, and my wife
was born. What do you think about the friend's advice?
(The advice turned out to be right - and a fabulous
blessing to me. My wife never lacked anything she needed
when growing up and her parents ended up paying for her
four years of private college.)
- Is the friend's advice Biblical? (If you read the
quarterly, you will find in Monday's lesson all sorts
of "hand-wringing" about being a parent with
questions like "What purpose would a child serve?" Do
I have the "emotional resources" to have a child?
While I have known couples who were lousy parents,
the Bible teaches that children are a blessing. How
many people say, "I'm not sure I'm qualified to be
rich" when they suddenly come into money?)
- Parental Responsibility
- Instead of asking whether you are worthy of having
children, let's ask "What does God require of parents?"
Read Deuteronomy 6:6-9.
- What economic and philosophical requirements does God
set for parenting? (Nothing is said here about
economic prerequisites to having children.)
- Is there a cultural reason for that? (In an
agrarian society, children would be a source of
income, not just an expense.)
- Read 1 Timothy 5:8. Could this be considered
economic advice on having children? (This is the
closest I could find to finding a Bible
statement about parents having to have a certain
amount of money before they could have a child.)
- What does God say are the obligations of parents when
they have children? (To teach them God's law.)
- Read Deuteronomy 11:18-21. What link is their between the
quality and length of life and parents fulfilling their
obligation to teach obedience to God's law? (Living in
Canaan was God's reward to His people. Teaching children
obedience to God extends the quality and length of life of
both the parents and the children.)
- Read Proverbs 19:18. How does this explain the ability of
parents to extend the life of their children?
- Read 1 Samuel 3:13-14. What obligation does this suggest
that parents have towards their children? What did Eli
fail to do with regard to his sons?(He failed to restrain
them when it came to known sin.)
- Read Ephesians 6:4. What other obligation do parents have
towards their children? (Not to exasperate them.)
- How can we avoid exasperating our children? (The
Bible tells us that bringing children up in the
training and instruction of God is the path to avoid
exasperating your children.)
- Have you found that to be true? (Parents get
into trouble when they are inconsistent. When
parents are inconsistent, children are not sure
of the boundary "lines" and therefore they can
- Can children exasperate their parents? How can we avoid
that? (Read Proverbs 29:17. By disciplining our children.)
- Instead of saying, "Potential parents, you must pass a
test of income and motives before you have children," the
Bible views children as a gift from God and says "Now that
you are parents, teach your children to love and obey
- Eternal Rewards
- Did you notice when we read about Eli and his sons, it
seemed that both the parent and the sons were in trouble
for the sins of the sons? Read Exodus 20:5-6. What impact
can sinning parents have on their children?
- What impact can sinning children have on their
- Read Ezekiel 18:4. Will a sinful parent cause a righteous
child to lose eternal life?
- If not, then what is Exodus 20:5-6 speaking about?
(The Bible teaches what we can observe: parents pass
on to their children good and bad traits. These may
present character issues which we need to address in
our effort to live a holy life. But, these inherited
character traits will not cause us to lose eternal
- Will a sinful child cause a righteous parent to lose
eternal life? (In Ezekiel 18:5-9 we read about the life of
a righteous man. Read Ezekiel 18:9. In Ezekiel 18:10-13
we read that this man has a wicked son and the facts of
the life of this son. Read Ezekiel 18:13. In Ezekiel
18:14-18 we read that a grandson is born who lives a
righteous life. Read Ezekiel 18:17-18.)
- Read Ezekiel 18:19-20. How would you summarize God's
thinking? (We may talk about the impact of parents and
children on the life of the other, but God teaches that
everyone is responsible for his or her own salvation.)
- Even though parents cannot cause their children to lose
eternal life, can the way a parent raises his children
cause the parent to lose eternal life? (Read Matthew 18:5-6 indicates that this is a serious sin. Of course, Jesus
came to forgive us of our sins.)
- Friend, God desires you to have children. They are a
blessing and a reward. God, however, expects you, as the
parent, to be very careful in raising your children. Will
you take your God-given responsibilities as a parent
- Next week: Disciples Making Disciples.
* Copr. 2006, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.