Answers 04 Why Do You Dedicate Children To The Lord? – David Hibbert.
In this series called “Answers”, my goal is to help you, by sharing with you short, Biblical answers to questions that people have been asking me. Today’s question:
Why Do You Dedicate Children To The Lord?
Some people ask, “Why do you dedicate children to the Lord? It doesn’t seem to be commanded in the Bible, so why do you do it?”
- Our Need For A Ceremony.
Genesis 1:26-28, NIV – (26) Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness …” (27) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (28) God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. …”
Every human is created in God’s own image and likeness, and they are commissioned to be fruitful, impact their world, and leave a legacy for the next generation.
As a result, every parent has a God-given excitement that each one of their children have a special purpose – a special destiny, and this excitement moves believers to want to dedicate their children to their creator, so that they would have His help in fulfilling that destiny.
People often call this ceremony a “Child Dedication” ceremony, but in reality, we also need to dedicate ourselves to God as parents, because we also need God’s help – as well as the help of our family and friends, to raise our children wisely.
In the Bible, there are two examples of a child dedication.
- Two Biblical Examples.
a) An Old Testament Example Of Child Dedication.
In the Old Testament, we have an example of Hannah and Samuel. Hannah, who had been barren for many years, dedicated her son Samuel to the Lord, in gratitude for God blessing her with a child.
1 Samuel 1:25-28, NIV – (25) … [Elkanah and Hanna] brought the boy [Samuel] to Eli [the priest], (26) and she said to him, “As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. (27) I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. (28) So now I give him to the LORD. …
And as we know, because Samuel was dedicated to God, he grew up with the hand of the Lord upon him, and he became a great leader and prophet for God.
b) A New Testament Example Of Child Dedication.
In the New Testament we have the example of Joseph and Mary, who brought their child Jesus to the temple to be presented to the Lord.
Luke 2:22, NIV – (22) When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took [Jesus] to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.
Even though Jesus was the son of God, Mary and Joseph still felt a need to dedicate Him to God, so that God’s hand would be upon Him.
- Two Biblical Principles.
In addition to two examples, we also have two Biblical principles to guide us.
a) The Principle Of Image.
The first Biblical principle comes from Matthew 22,
where Jesus was asked if it is right to pay taxes to an ungodly government.
Matthew 22:15-21, NKJV – (15) Then the Pharisees (16) … sent to [Jesus] … saying … (17) Tell us … what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” (18) … Jesus … said, … (19) Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. (20) And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” (21) They said to Him, “Caesar’s.” And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
The coin was created by Caesar, and had his image imprinted on it, and so Jesus said that it was right to give it back to Caesar.
However, the Bible teaches that every child carries God’s image on them. So as God’s stewards, we should give them back to God, and then raise them on God’s behalf.
b) The Principle Of Building A Godly Pathway.
The second principle is found in Proverbs 22.
Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way it should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
When parents choose to dedicate themselves and their child to the Lord, and look to God for guidance and wisdom, we start to build a godly pathway for our children to follow in, as they grow to maturity.
Just as water baptism is the first step in developing a godly pathway for a new Christian, child dedication is the first step in developing a godly pathway for a new child.