Introduction: Last week we studied the responsibilities of children
to honor their parents. At the same time, we looked at the
responsibilities of parents to lead and encourage their children to
obey their parents and God. This week we continue our study of what
God has in mind with this whole “having children” thing. Let’s jump
in and see what lessons we can learn!

  1. Full Quivers and Full Partners

    1. Read Psalms 127:1-2. How would you summarize these two
      verses in one sentence? (The only way to succeed is to
      make God your partner.)

    2. Read Psalms 127:3. Is this statement always true? (It is
      always true that God is the source of life.)

      1. Is there a relationship between the first two verses
        of Psalms 127 and this third verse? (Yes. We read the
        first two verses because they set the context. Sons
        are a heritage and children a positive reward for
        those who make God their partner in child-raising.)

      2. Is this like cooking: you put in the right
        ingredients and the children turn out just right when
        they grow up? (A few weeks ago a college official
        looked at my children and said to me, “You must have
        done things right.” Frankly, I don’t think it is
        like cooking. Our children have free choice. We have
        an obligation to God and our children to “do things
        right.” However, whether we do things right or wrong
        does not always govern the outcome. If you doubt
        that, re-read what happened in the Garden of Eden.)

      3. Have you seen children who were literally a reward to
        their parents? (I have – both good and bad. On the
        dark side of things, I watched as a woman grew up and
        treated her mother terribly – even when this woman
        was an adult. Now, this woman’s children are doing
        the same to her. It seems like the proper “reward.”)

    3. Read Psalms 127:4-5. Is this still true today? (Although
      we do not live in a “warrior” society, your children can
      certainly defend you and help you in times of need.)

      1. Must your children be born “in one’s youth” for this
        to be true? (If you wait too long, you might not be
        around for the reward.)

    4. The Bible tells us that having a lot of children is a
      blessing. How many other blessings do you try to avoid?

    5. What is God’s goal in having parents become partners with
      Him in raising children? (Read Psalms 78:5-7. God wants us
      to work with Him. By teaching our children a right
      relationship with God, we encourage the following
      generations to follow God too. It is these following
      generations which continue to bless their parents and
      grandparents with good works.)

  2. Partnership in Discipline

    1. Read Proverbs 19:18. How important is it to discipline
      our children? (It is a life and death matter. Parents must
      discipline their children.)

    2. I know some parents absolutely will not spank their
      children. Our lesson quarterly says (Tuesday) corporal
      punishment “must be the exception rather than the rule.”
      The newspaper I read this morning said that corporal
      punishment is illegal in many countries.

      1. How do you know whether to spank your children?

      2. In God’s wisdom, is there a blanket rule one way or
        the other?

      3. Doesn’t spanking seem rather tame when considered in
        the light of Deuteronomy 21:18-21 – which we studied
        last week?

    3. Read Proverbs 19:25. What does this suggest about God’s
      view of physical discipline for our children? (Have you
      ever noticed that the people who are the loudest and most
      strident about what kind of discipline should be applied
      either have no children or just one child? This text gives
      us obvious truth – each child is different. One child
      needs physical discipline (or at least to see it applied
      to someone else) to “learn prudence,” while another child
      simply needs a “rebuke” to “gain knowledge.” “Full-quiver”
      parents understand this Biblical principle. Our discussion
      last week about the practical aspects of Deuteronomy 21
      applies here. Just knowing that the possibility of
      corporal punishment exists is a great deterrent to bad
      behavior. My wife used to tease me about publicly speaking
      about the merits of corporal punishment when I rarely, if
      ever, actually applied it to my own children. I am sure
      that my wife, who is extremely wise about “discipline,”
      would never need to spank a child because she has so many
      other creative ways to encourage good behavior.)

    4. Read Proverbs 19:19. What other forms of discipline can
      wise parent apply? (You need to know when you should
      rescue your children and when you should just let them
      suffer. Parents who always defend their children against
      the discipline of teachers are making a terrible mistake.)

      1. What is the future for parents who continually rescue
        their children instead of letting them suffer the
        natural punishment for their actions? (The “rescue”
        opportunities will keep happening.)

  3. Letting the “Arrow” Fly

    1. Read Luke 15:11-12. What kind of attitude did the second,
      younger, son have?

      1. Deuteronomy 21:17 tells us that the first born son
        received a “double share” of the estate. This means
        the younger son got (at most) 1/3 of the father’s
        property. How do you think the second son felt about

      2. Can you see a picture here? The second son lives in
        the shadow of his older brother. He (of course) has
        less to inherit. It is all a big conspiracy against
        him and his freedom, right?

      3. Did the father have to give the young son part of his
        property at that time?

        1. What do you think the father predicted would
          happen with the property he was giving the son?
          (My bet is this father could predict exactly
          what his son would do.)

    2. Read Luke 15:13-16. If the father could reasonably predict
      this outcome, why did he let the second son go?

      1. Why “empower” the son to make this choice by giving
        him his inheritance then?

      2. Why not wait to give the son his inheritance until he
        was more mature?

      3. Is this father disciplining his son?

      4. The Bible Exposition Commentary quotes Thomas Huxley
        as saying, “A man’s worse difficulties begin when he
        is able to do just as he likes.” Do you agree?

    3. Read Luke 15:17-21. Why did this son “come to his senses?”
      (The discipline of circumstances and life was the most
      important factor. Notice, however, that his positive view
      of his home and his father was also a part of the son’s

    4. This story has a happy, but not perfect, ending. The
      son’s life is harmed for the foreseeable future because he
      has lost all of his wealth. Would you have done as this
      father did? (This is obviously a parable. But, I believe
      that it is played out over and over again in real life.
      This father allowed circumstances to “discipline” his son
      instead of personally applying his own discipline. While
      the age of the child may limit the choices that parents
      have in discipline, this father had a choice. Frankly,
      the father was taking a huge risk. The verse 13 “wild
      living,” would today include drug use and the risk of
      death. It would include sex outside of marriage and the
      risk of aids. It would include the possibility that the
      son would die from wild living.)

      1. Had this father considered that he might be turning
        his second son over to his death by dividing his
        estate early? (Read Luke 15:31-32. The father
        considered the second son “dead.” This is a parable
        about our Father in Heaven instead of a parable about
        child-rearing. But, I have the feeling that God has
        shown His hand on how He would handle the “child-rearing” side of this story. At some point, we must
        let our “arrows” fly.)

    1. Parents, if you open your hand to let your “arrows” fly
      into the world, what role remains for you? (Our lesson
      (Wednesday) says “one of the most important aspects of
      Christian parenting is never to cease praying for our

    2. Friend, how about you? If you are a parent, do you take
      your obligations to your children seriously? Do you try to
      apply the wisdom of God’s word? Finally, after you have
      done all you can to save your children, do you make them
      the subject of your earnest prayers?

  1. Next week: Marriage is Not Out-of-Date.