The Kingdom Belongs to Such as These

  I was the last of five children in our family. My oldest brother, Dennis, is 14 years older than I am. I also have a brother, Arnold, 12 years older and a sister, Audrey, 8 years older. I  had another sister, Karen,  who would have been even closer to my age, but she died of what was called “crib death” as an infant, so I never knew her.  I look forward to one day meeting her in heaven. I don’t know what she will look like or how old she will be—the Bible doesn’t give us those details—but I do know that she will be there and I will be able to know who she is. 

         When David sinned by taking Bathsheba as his wife and putting Uriah her husband on the front lines of battle where he was killed, his adulterous relationship resulted in the birth of a child to Bathsheba.  But, because of David’s sin, “…the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s widow bore to David, so that he was very sick” (II Sam. 12:15). David fasted and prayed for the life of their baby, but on the seventh day, the child died and David’s servants were afraid to even tell him, knowing his mental state, afraid “he might do himself harm! But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David perceived that the child was dead; so David said to his servants, ‘Is the child dead?’ And they said, ‘He is dead.’ So David arose from the ground, washed , anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he came into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he came to his own house, and when he requested, they set food before him and he ate. Then his servants said to him, ‘What is this thing that you have done? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.’ And he said, ‘While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who knows, the LORD may be gracious to me, that the child may live. But now he has died; why should I fast? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me’” (vv. 18b-23). 
     David had the confidence that he would one day join his son in heaven.  We too can have that assurance, if we are believers, that we will be reunited with loved ones who died before us that either had not reached an age of accountability before God, or had trusted Him as personal Savior.  In Matthew’s gospel we read: “Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these’” (Mt. 19:13,14). The Bible indicates that there comes a time when an individual is mature enough to “refuse evil and choose good” (Isa. 7:15).  We find in Ex. 30:14; Nu. 14:29,31 and Dt. 1:39 a reference to those who are twenty and older being held accountable. Nehemiah speaks of “those who can listen with understanding” (Neh. 8:2,3). Jeremiah speaks of “the innocent” (Jer. 19:4). We see a reference to those in Nineveh (where Jonah preached) who “don’t know the difference between the right and left hand” (Jon. 4:11). These passages, along with those in the New Testament such as Mt. 18:2-10; 19:14; Mk. 10:13-16, would indicated that until a child reaches a certain stage of understanding he is “innocent,” being covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, who “died for all” (II Cor. 5:14), and “tasted death for everyone” (Heb. 2:9). 
     When you think of how many children there are in the world, and how many have died before reaching an accountable age, you understand better Jesus’ statement: “…the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Mt. 19:14).  And then consider the fact that one becomes a person at the time of conception (Psa. 51:5; 139:14-16; Eccl. 11:5; Isa. 44:2,24;; 49:1; Jer. 1:4,5; Lk. 1:11-17, 31-33,41,44) and think of the millions upon millions of children whose lives have been terminated while still in the womb!  Since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion through the 9th month of pregnancy in the Roe v. Wade decision on Jan. 22, 1973, the number of children whose lives have been terminated before they have a chance to be born is approaching 57 million! (In comparison, the total American war casualties since the revolution through the present is about 1.2 million).  Each day, some 4,000 babies are aborted in the United States. That is one every 22 seconds!  And that is just in the United States. Worldwide there are approximately 46,000,000 abortions per year.  That is a lot of children who make up the kingdom of heaven! 
     As I contemplate how man could be so passionate about saving birds and animals and going to great lengths to protect them—like wolves, and grizzly bears and bull trout in our area—yet be so calloused when it comes to the sanctity of human life that is made in the image of God (Gen. 1:16,27), I realize how depraved the sinful nature of man is. I am reminded of what we read in Jer. 17:9: “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick, who can understand it.”
     One of the unique characteristics of Christianity is its view of the sanctity of human life, that each life is precious to God, whether still in the womb, or in old age. That view comes from the heart of God who loved the world of humanity so much “that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16). God has a purpose for each one of us or we wouldn’t be here. But, I think about what could have been accomplished by the millions who haven’t had the opportunity to live their life here upon earth. By taking the life of a child before he or she is born we are not only committing murder, but are missing out on what each could have contributed here. There are many stories of individuals whose parents either considered abortion or might have been counseled by others to have abortions, yet have been such a great asset to society. One such person that became a household name in the past few years is Tim Tebow, MVP of the Orange Bowl National Championship college football game, and winner of the Heisman Trophy in 2007. Twenty-one years earlier, doctors advised his mother to abort him on two different occasions. Bob and Pam Tebow were serving as missionaries in the Philippines when she became pregnant. She had been taking a series of aggressive antibiotics to combat ambeic dysentery when she discovered the pregnancy. Although she immediately stopped taking the medicine, the doctors advised an abortion because of the irreversible damage the drugs had presumably caused.  But, as a Christian, she did not feel that this should even be an option and several months later the future Heisman winner was born on August 14, 1987. He grew to be 6 feet 3 inches and 235 pounds and was nicknamed “Superman” by Florida Gator fans. As Tebow received the 25-pound bronzed Heisman Trophy, the first thing he said was: “I’d just like to first start off by thanking my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave me the ability to play football, and He gave me a great family.” (That was willing to go against the advice of the doctors and allow him to be born.) Amen! May his tribe increase!
                            Forever His,
                                    Pastor Dave
“It is not a choice, it is a child”
    
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About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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