Verse 3: Solomon is the author of this psalm and in verses 1 and 2 he writes that ‘the Lord builds the house’ and of ‘the vanity of rising up early and staying up late’, similar to what he also wrote in Ecclesiastes. But in verse 3 he makes a bold declaration: “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” (v3)
Children are a gift! Who does not want a gift? You don’t need to have the ‘gift love language’ to like receiving thoughtful gifts. Children are a reward! Who does not want a reward? This reward is not reserved only for the godly, but is available for all. Other translations use the word ‘heritage’. Children are a heritage! They are an inheritance and the most valued part of any man’s legacy. Who does not want a meaningful heritage? So children are a gift, a reward, a heritage.
In a culture that at times does not communicate the value of children, it is very important to receive, embrace and affirm by faith, not just by sight, God’s value and view of children
Verse 4: So we see that children are a gift, a reward and a heritage; what else does Solomon compare children to in this psalm?
“Like ‘arrows’ in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.” (v4) Several things to note include:
1. The parent, especially the dad, is described as a warrior. He is engaged in a battle.
2. Arrows do not grow on trees, they must be crafted. Different arrows have different weights, lengths, shapes and purposes.
3. A warrior uses arrows in battle to both defend his family and cause as well as to advance and expand.
4. A warrior goes to battle with other warriors who also have arrows that they have crafted and are ready to use.
5. The warrior must take the arrows out and launch the arrows. No arrow is able to launch itself. It would remain in the quiver.
6. The warrior is the one who aims the arrow. Different arrows will be aimed at different targets for different reasons.
7. A warrior’s success in battle is directly related to how well he crafts, aims and launches his arrows.
Verse 5: The comparison of children to the arrows of a warrior continues in the closing verse to Psalm 127:
“Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents at the gate” (v5)
A ‘quiver’ simply holds the arrows. Just as there are different types of arrows, there are different types of quivers. The man who is ‘blessed’ has a full quiver of arrows. That exact number is up for debate, but it is certainly more than one or two! It would seem the more the better and thus – a full quiver.
One result of multiple children is that the man will not be put to shame when he contends with his opponents at the city gate. The gate is where decisions and judgments are made. It is the public place of debate and the man with many children and grandchildren may have increased public exposure, posture and credibility in this arena. There would be no shame to the man with a large extended family but rather he would be seen as capable and competent and a recipient of God’s favor.
So who is the ‘blessed man’ in this psalm? He is the one who by faith follows God’s original directive in Genesis 1:28 to be fruitful and multiply and then launches his children well! Happy Father’s Day!