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"Blessed is everyone that feareth the Lord; that walketh in His ways . . . . . The wife
shall be as a fruitful vine . . . . . thy children like olive plants . . . . .",
and who can judge what measure of blessing (of this nature) might have been enjoyed by
the whole nation of Israel, if only they had hearkened to the Lord's judgments, to keep
and do them (Deut. 7: 12-15)?
Turning now to the Body of Christ it is quite evident that no such fruitfulness, nor
special "vigour", is promised to married women in connection with their calling within
this company (although I Tim. 2: 15 should be taken into account), and this must be a
factor to influence any understanding of the role of motherhood in this present calling.
Closely connected with this in thought, is the fact that part of the blessing of the Lord
upon Israel involved their becoming a nation of great multitude, as the "dust of the
earth", "the sand upon the sea shore" and as "the stars of the heaven" (Gen. 13: 16;
22: 17). No such promise is associated with the calling of the Body of Christ.
A further point of difference that may be noted is that whilst an Israelite woman might
look upon herself as under the judgment of the Lord if she were found barren, wringing
from her such a cry as that of Rachel to Jacob ("Give me sons, or I shall die") or such a
vow as Hannah vowed before the Lord ("If thou wilt . . . . . grant me offspring, then I will
give the child to the Lord for his whole life")--Gen. 30: 1; I Sam. 1: 11, N.E.B., there
is no suggestion that barrenness ought to be viewed in such a light in the present calling.
Over against these points however, are the following thoughts taken from the
post-Acts 28: ministry of Paul, which, it is trusted, may help the reader to arrive at
some sort of balanced view between the extremes that some have been led into.
Paul sees in the ability of a man to manage his own household well, keeping his
children in submission and respectful in every way, the kind of quality required in an
overseer of an assembly (I Tim. 3: 1-5). Such a statement suggests that Paul considers it
perfectly natural in the present calling, to have children, in fact the family circle seems to
provide a good training ground (in this context) for such a position of responsibility.
I Tim. 5: 14 is part of a special context dealing with widows. Paul shows a realistic
appreciation of the emotional problems of "younger widows" (R.V.), and as an expedient
desires, that in order to afford the Adversary no grounds for slander, they should remarry
and have children. It is beyond the scope of this article to consider the context in any
detail, and it is only brought forward here to show that Paul saw nothing wrong or
unspiritual in motherhood; in fact here it serves as a corrective against gossip and
misconduct (verses 11-13, 15).
Finally, it ought not to be forgotten, that perhaps the most "spiritual" calling of all,
that revealed especially in Ephesians and Colossians, includes within it terms the ideas of
"household" and "family" (Eph. 2: 19; 3: 15) when seeking to make known something
of the purposes of God in Christ. The same epistles, which minister such a high calling,
and take the believer to "heavenly places" (Eph. 1: 20; 2: 6, etc.), are also just as