MATTHEW 19:14 - Berean Lamp Memory Verse - (Aug 29 - Sep 5)
The Berean Lamp Memory Verse for this week is:
“But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these’” (Matthew 19:14).
SERIES INTRO: In this Memory Verse for the Devotional Friday, we're continuing our series looking at the blessings of truth that man credits himself with discovering through his own reasoning in the modern age - but which actually originate from God's Word. It is a poorly illustrated point that the Holy Spirit through the Church has changed the world for the better - as Jesus said He would (John 16:7-8). All the peoples of the world have truly been blessed by the testimony and labors of the Church - it is a remarkable different place since Jesus came into the world. Why then do so many scholars and pundits try to lay only blame and bad reports at the feet of the Church, giving themselves the credit for the good that Christ has brought through His Bride? Increasingly, books, articles, and reports are painting the Church as a terrible blight on the world - a relic of ignorance, superstition, and cruelty - when the opposite is actually true.
THIS WEEK: In western history, childhood innocence and vulnerability have always been qualities of immense societal value, worthy of protection. Children are considered treasured human beings. Today, we understand that it is one of our most important societal functions to protect children in their vulnerable adolescence from exploitation, violence, and abuse. But it wasn't always like this in the west. In ancient Roman society, for example, children were considered non-persons. Fathers could kill their children for any reason. Infants could be exposed to die for the simplest of reasons. Sexual abuse was entirely acceptable and even encouraged with one's slaves and children. As we've seen before, slavery and child prostitution were societal institutions in Greece and India. But this cultural attitude has changed. Why? God's work through the Gospel changed the world as it came onto the scene. Christians shared the words of Jesus, explaining that God values children so much that He expects us to value them equally too. Not only this, but we are to emulate children and be more like them. Jesus stated that those who emulate the humility of a child, are considered the greatest in the Kingdom of God. Jesus even went so far as to stress that unless we all value and emulated children, we would not see the Kingdom of God! And He warned in no uncertain terms that anyone who harmed a child would be better off being drowned in the sea with a millstone tied around his neck! Harsh words for the institutionalized child abuse of the day! Christianity so radically altered the culture and the world that today Christian values regarding children are almost universally established throughout the world, and they are not even debatable in the west, much to the frustration of modern pedophiles. However, this testimony of the Gospel has always been under threat from critics of Christianity, and there is a growing danger to children today as wicked people in our culture continually promote the sexualization of children and their exposure at younger and younger ages. More seriously, our culture has embraced abortion - murder of children at their most vulnerable and innocent age. They also promote societal behavior that breaks up families, exposing many children to predators, sexual abuse, and harm. May we pray that people will return to valuing, nurturing, and protecting children as God has commanded in His Word.
May we give credit to God for changing society's attitudes about children and offering protection to the innocent through the testimony of the Gospel by His church. Even so, Amen.
Other verses to consider:
“And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. But Jesus called for them, saying, ‘Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all’” (Luke 18:15-17)
“Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these’” (Matthew 19:13-14).
“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:15-17).
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1).
“But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children” (1 Thessalonians 2:7).
“Just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children” (1 Thessalonians 2:11).
“Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14).
Concerning the king’s duty: “May he vindicate the afflicted of the people, save the children of the needy and crush the oppressor” (Psalm 72:4).
“Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:4-6).
“An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest. But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, and said to them, ‘Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great’” (Luke 9:46-48).
“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God. and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him” (Romans 8:16-17).