(verses 3-4 & Psalm 129 verse 3)
"Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord:
and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man;
so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:
they shall not be ashamed,
but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."
Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house;
thy children like olives plants round thy table."
Okay, y'all know we've done our part to fill our quiver, as fruit of the womb as well as by adoption. We kinda stretched the part about some of them being children of the youth. Yeah, we are in our sixties with a teenager still in the house rather than empty nesting.
The point of this passage is the attitude, the celebration of the child. This is so opposite of our culture today which legislature and court rulings have supported killing the viable unborn. Small families are considered acceptable, while families with more than 2.3 children are ridiculed and disdained. Yet this passage says happy will be the man with his quiver of them, and that they shall not be ashamed with a voice against enemies at the gate. Actually, the children, like arrows, will become a defense and support to the family. There have always been enemies at the gate which seek to destroy our children, our families. The father here is portrayed as the proud protector. Children are what a heritage is all about. This is what I love about tracing ancestry.com, seeing the heritage, (with a few skeletons thrown in).
June Cleaver dressed up in her heels apron is the image that pops into my mind when it says the wife shall be as a fruitful vine in thine house with Wally and the Beaver sitting around the table waving black olives on their fingers. Oh, so you don't wear an apron? Or wear heels? or a dress in the kitchen? Well, neither do I, but I am still a fruitful vine.
Miss Ruby and her only sibling Miss Sally and their families.
My grandmother was a fruitful vine. Her wisdom was passed down as a loving, intelligent woman not afraid to speak. Though she married at twenty-six and then had six stair-step children, she immersed herself in Scripture and was a sought after instructor, was a social worker, a school teacher and a pastor's wife. She was college educated and ordained in the ministry. She surrounded herself with beauty, even if it was only a vase of lavender in front of a beautiful oil painting by her husband. The home was filled with music with a piano and other instruments. She whistled while she worked. Yet, they felt the discrimination of churches who did not want to support a large family. She and my grandfather's desire had been to have a large family. But they believed like Adam Clarke said, "He who gave them will feed them." Sadly, it only took a generation or two before some of these spurned the conservative evangelical Christian heritage of Miss Ruby and Mr. Wise, and did not flourish there.
By the way, this Leave it to Beaver image is probably because of my aunt and uncle who hosted Thanksgiving dinner many times while we all lived in the Midwest: one year my apron-wearing Aunt Margaret declared that since she knew how much I loved olives, she bought me my own personal can. We were allowed to put them on our fingers before consuming them and were like the olive plants around her table. I thought I was in olive heaven.
Uncle Archel and Aunt Margaret had no children of their own until they rescued an adolescent boy to adopt and raise in their mature years. There is more than one way to have children. I think of my friend who was active in the pro-life movement many, many years and can't imagine the joy she will have in heaven when she is surrounded about the table with those precious lives she saved.
Happy is the man...
Proverbs 17:6 says, "Grandchildren are the crown of old men." Yep, all nineteen of them and counting.