“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed but shall speak with their enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127:3-5). The psalmist’s simple simile in verse 4—”Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth”—provides much food for thought.
Like arrows, children have great potential for good and evil. Few things in life are more devastating and depressing than the regrets of careless, foolish, shortsighted parents. Consider what heartache God says awaits them: “he who begets a scoffer does so to his sorrow, and the father of a fool has no joy” (Proverbs 17:21); “a foolish son is the grief of his mother” (Proverbs 10:1); “a foolish son is a grief to his father: and bitterness to her who bore him” (Proverbs 17:25); “a foolish son is the ruin of his father” (Proverbs 19:13); “the rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother” (Proverbs 29:15). Few Biblical portraits of human anguish are more vivid than the one of David when he learned of the death of his foolish and rebellious son: “And the king was deeply moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept. And as he went, he said thus: ‘O my son Absalom–my son, my son Absalom—If only I had died in your place! O Absalom, my son, my son’!” (2 Samuel 18:33). Tragically, human history contains an ever-growing gallery filled with portraits containing the same theme of gruesome parental heartache and horrific regrets that splattered the canvas of David’s life. The anguish he felt was self-inflicted for he had pierced his own heart by disregarding the fact that a child has great potential for good and evil; therefore, every wise father does not provoke his children to wrath but brings them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4) and “every wise woman builds her house” and does not “pull it down with her hands” (Proverbs 14:1).