Ask and I’ll Give the Nations to You
One of the reasons our children are given as a heritage from the Lord is so that we can know and love our heavenly Father more and more. Our childbirth and fertility is not about us, but about God. He is not like us or made in our image, but we are like him, made in his image. Our feelings about motherhood and our multiplying of children are informed by what we believe about discipleship. Jesus’s heritage is men, women, and children who are “put[ting] on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator” (Col. 3:10). This fruitful multiplying (or “spiritual fertility”) is the work of the Holy Spirit in and through us as we share the gospel and disciple people. Our feelings about fertility, birth, and motherhood are infused with gospel hope and an eternal perspective. Think of Paul—an unmarried man without biological children— who says he became Onesimus’s spiritual father (Philem. 1:10)!
Our wayward feelings about motherhood—whether we are prone to glorying in it or growing bitter about it—need to consider the related truth that our Father has given his Son a heritage. What has Jesus inherited from his Father? His heritage, of course!
The Father’s glorious inheritance in the saints—his children ransomed from death—he gives to his Son. Our family points us to God’s family. These children whom Jesus suffered and died for are the joy that was set before him when he went to his crucifixion. They are the reward of his suffering. Because of them a new song of praise is being sung to Jesus:
Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth. (Rev. 5:9–10)
Physical Signs of God’s Promise
The writer of Hebrews says that Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers: “Behold, I and the children God has given me” (Heb. 2:13). Here he is citing Isaiah 8:18, when just before a surprise Assyrian invasion the prophet Isaiah said, “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.” Will you, on the eve of battle, put all your trust in the Lord, who commands the armies of heaven? The “near” fulfillment of this prophetic word is that Isaiah and his children were physical signs among the people, attesting to the veracity of God’s Word and the only reliable ally in the face of invasion. The “far” fulfillment of this prophetic word is that Jesus our Prophet, the Lord of hosts, stands together with the redeemed remnant—from every tribe and language and people and nation—awesome as an army with banners.
Our family points us to God’s family. These children whom Jesus suffered and died for are the joy that was set before him when he went to his crucifixion.
Christ’s inheritance is the godly offspring given to him by his Father. “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward” (Ps. 127:3) ultimately points us to Jesus, the Lord of hosts, the warrior whose quiver is full of arrows to be launched into a world that is dying without him. Jesus will not be put to shame as he builds his church, over which the gates of hell will not prevail.
Even though he was crushed by God and put to grief for our sins, Jesus was raised to eternal life and will see his offspring. “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession” (Ps. 2:8), his Father offered. The eternal Son of God asked, and he shall receive. Jesus is worthy to receive the reward of his suffering! And God’s glorious Word is worthy of our trust even when our feelings disagree.
This article is adapted from Labor with Hope: Gospel Meditations on Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood.
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