Dedication of a Child
By Dennis Eldred
Dedication of a baby to the Lord is not the same as baptizing a baby. The baptism of babies is a non scriptural practice adopted by men. But the dedication of babies to the Lord is an act proclaimed by God, especially for the first born as we see in Exodus 13:2. In dedicating our children to God we glorify Him as the creator and keeper of life and hold out the blessing found in Isaiah 44:2 5 for them to claim as their own.
The dedication of a child to the Lord is the beginning of a spiritual journey for that child, a journey which hopefully ends with that child accepting the Lord as savior and Lord on their own. In a dedication the baby is already following in the footsteps of the Lord, for in Luke 2:22 we are told that Mary and Joseph did the same with the Lord. Because God operates by grace many people are saved that were never dedicated as babies to the Lord. But dedicating a child to the Lord is like making sure a baby gets a proper diet. A proper diet for a baby gives them a healthy boost in life, a baby with a bad diet may still live but that child will be sicklier. In dedicating a baby to the Lord we are giving that child a proper spiritual diet and someday it will quote Psalm 22:9&10 on its own.
A child must be fed spiritually to grow properly into a Christian. One place to feed spiritual food is church. A regular diet of church will give a good start. Besides the church itself I find three groups of people that the Lord holds responsible to see that the child will be properly fed spiritual food. Who are these three?
The number one responsibility falls to the parents. This is not just a responsibility to know and teach the child the things of God but to live according to them without hypocrisy. In Numbers 20:12 God spoke how Moses and Aaron would not enter the Promised Land because they did not sanctify the Lord before the children. This should be a warning to all parents. If you dedicate your children to God and then don't live godly lives yourself, they may make it to heaven without you. Therefore it will be necessary for the parents themselves to allow God to train them as parents. They need to learn how to parent according to the will of God and to renounce the standards of men as not good enough for their child. Deuteronomy 11:18 21 tells you why you yourselves as parents must know the word and will of God.
Next after the parents are the grandparents. God commands grandparents to teach their grandchildren in Deuteronomy 4:9. Here I would also include aunts, uncles and other relatives. It was the uncle Mordecai that raised Queen Esther into a woman of God. In II Kings 11:2 it was the future king’s aunt that saved the baby Joash. Jesus Himself had His way prepared before him by His second cousin John the Baptist.
These are followed by the elder Christians in the church. In Titus 2:1 5 we see the value of the elder teaching the younger about God and His holiness. In any new baby’s case this would range all the way from eldest person in church, who certainly would have much teach to the youngest who may not be able to teach much but might be able to get through to a child what no other could.
But the greatest worker in a child’s life will be the Lord himself. Exodus 31:13 shows that it is He Himself that will make a child holy before Him. He already has His own plans for every new born or He would not have created it. He has set the span of the new precious life. We hope it is long and healthy, but He knows what is best. We pray for long life and health, but our most important prayer should be that they always remain in the hands of the Lord and that He should live in their heart. Although it may be hard to imagine now, someday every little baby will be the equal of every adult, for this world will pass away and all those in it that reject the Lord, but all of us that follow and believe in Him shall live for ever as one, fellowshipping together.
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