This Sunday I have the honor and privilege of leading a Baby dedication service at Hoffmantown. Other than weddings and baptisms, this is one of my favorite activities as a pastor. I love what Baby dedications represent.
In some denominations, babies are baptized into the “faith”, a practice that has no foundation in Scripture. On the other hand, baby dedications are called for, directly by God. If we open up the Old Testament to the book of Numbers, a book rarely studied these days, we find a command from the Lord to bless babies.
22 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them: 24 The LORD bless you, and keep you; 25 The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; 26 The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’ 27 “So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.” (Numbers 6)
I. Baby dedication is a commitment for the parents to make
This is a challenge to the parents to raise their children in the fear (respect) of the Lord. God has organized the family as an awesome place to raise children that will be a blessing to society. Too may times we get caught up in our own lives and want someone else to raise our children. As soon as we can, we take them to day care until they are old enough to start school. Then we pay teachers to educate and offer childcare on a daily basis. On Sundays and Wednesdays, we turn our children over to spiritual leaders who will teach them about God. It is almost like the parents job is just to make the money to provide a roof over their heads, put food on the table and clothes on their backs, as well as pay someone else to educate secularly and also spiritually. Please do not hear me say that these things are wrong. Teachers are needed. Spiritual leaders are needed. But, the number one educator of a child are the parents, both secularly and spiritually speaking, especially the spiritual side. We cannot outsource our children’s spiritual education. This is found in Deuteronomy 6:1-15. God clearly says that it is the job of the parents to teach their children the Word of God so that they can also learn to walk with God as their parents do. The spiritual leaders were to instruct the parents and the parents were to pass that on to their children and grandchildren. When we dedicate babies, this is our challenge to the parents; that they would commit themselves to giving their child the best spiritual education possible, by teaching them the Word of God from an early age and by modeling what it means to have a personal relationship with God.
II. Baby dedication is a commitment for the congregation
Both older men and older women are challenged to disciple younger men and younger women.
1 But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. 6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible ; 7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. (Titus 2)
Paul instructs Titus to invest in the older men and older women so that they can turn around and invest in the younger men and the younger women. The older women are to be examples in their relationship with God and in their own families so that they can instruct younger women in the are of family, teaching the younger women how to love their husbands and love their children. The young men are going to learn to be sensible by seeing that example in the older men and by being discipled by the older men so that they can raise their children in the fear of the Lord. As a congregation, by saying amen to the blessing in Numbers 6, you commit to coming along side these young families to help them raise their children in the fear (respect) of the Lord. Do you have a younger family in which you are invested spiritually?
III. Baby dedication is a commitment to trust God no matter what
There are times when we just cannot control circumstances and situations. When that happens, we realize just how dependent we are upon God. In the story of Moses, his parents did all that they could to hide and protect him, as well as teaching the value of human life, love, and service to their children. We see these things in the way Miriam cared for Moses. There came a time when Moses’ parents just had to let him go and trust that God would protect him. God kept His promises and protected baby Moses. When we dedicate a baby to the Lord, we acknowledge the fact that this life is a gift from the Lord and we will do all that we can to protect and raise the child in the fear of the Lord, but there will come a time when we will not be in control and we will have to trust God fully with this little life. We commit to entrust this little life to the Lord now so that when things are out of our control, we have already learned to trust the Lord. Praise the Lord if this little one grows up to become a missionary to one of the most dangerous places on earth. I will not resist God’s will because I have already submitted to God’s will. I did that when I dedicated the child.
As I have already stated, I am super excited about being able to lead this Baby dedication on Sunday. Six families are dedicating their children to the Lord as well as dedicating themselves to raise the children in the fear of the Lord. The congregation is dedicating itself to coming along side these precious families to support them in this journey and I am privileged to be a part of it. May the Lord help us always be ready and willing to come along side young families and help them invest in the next generation. Someone once said, “when you invest in children, especially your own, you are writing a letter to a generation of people whom you will never see but you will directly impact in a positive manner”. That is my prayer for myself and I pray it for you as well.