This Children’s Day, we look to lessons that children in the Bible teach us adults.
It is the job of a parent to teach his or her children what’s right. However, many parents will tell that their children teach them many life lessons too. A child’s eagerness to learn, his uncompromising zeal to achieve what he sets out to do and the purity of his heart—these are precious attitudes that every adult can benefit from.
If you study the Old and New Testaments, you may realise that adults are not the only heroes of faith. We can learn much from the wisdom and tenacity of the little ones.
JOASH, THE YOUNGEST KING OF ISRAEL (2 Kings 11-12)
King Joash was the youngest king in the Biblical history of Israel—he was only 7 when he was crowned by the priest, Jehoiada.
He was born at a time when the evil Queen Mother Athaliah decided that she would kill all her children and grandchildren so that she could rule Israel. Prince Joash’s aunt, Jehosheba rescued him and his nurse, hiding them in the temple for six years while Queen Athaliah reigned.
Joash grew up under the care of the High Priest, Jehoiada, who did a good job teaching the child all about God. The High Priest wanted Judah to have a good king so he taught Joash all the things that he would need to know as king.
When Joash was 7, Jehoida anointed him king and Queen Athaliah was executed. History has it that King Joash was a very good king because he leaned upon the wisdom of Jehoiada. One of the most important things that King Joash did during his 40-year reign was to repair the Temple of the Lord which had been neglected by Queen Athaliah.
Sadly, King Joash did not have a happy ending. After the death of Jehoida, King Joash began to take bad advice from his officials and the nation began to worship idols again. At the end of his life, this once-great-king was killed by his own servants.
What Can We Learn From The Young King?
When we are young, we need to depend on the wise counsel of our godly leaders. King Joash ruled Israel well even as a child because he followed the advice of Jehoiada. However, as we grow physically and spiritually, it is important to know God personally and walk close to Him. From King Joash, we see that if we lean on human counsel instead on the wisdom of God, it is easy to be led astray. King Joash did not grow in his personal walk with God and fell into idolatry at the end of his life.
MIRIAM, THE HELPFUL SISTER (Ex 1:1-2:10)
Miriam is the witty sister of Moses, who kept him safe in turbulent times. Some historians believe that she was only 7 when Moses was born, yet she understood her duty as big sister to keep her baby brother safe.
Imagine little Miriam following baby Moses along the river Nile when her mother put him in a basket to hide him among th reeds. When Pharaoh’s daughter picked him up, she cleverly volunteered to find him a Hebrew nurse and brought her own mother to nurse and care for Moses until he was weaned. She was no doubt resourceful and very brave.
Miriam grew up to be an important prophetess in the history of the Jews.
What can we learn from this courageous sister?
Even when circumstances are daunting, we can choose to do the right things and trust that God will direct our paths. Even at 7, Miriam probably understood that her mother had to hide her baby brother because the Egyptians were seeking to kill all the babies. Yet she loved her brother enough to follow him and was unafraid to speak up to the Pharoah’s daughter, an Egyptian. When we have courage like Miriam, God will put us at the right place, at the right time.
SAMUEL, THE BOY WHO HEARD FROM GOD (1 Sam 3:1-19)
Samuel was Hannah’s miracle baby, whom she dedicated and surrendered to the Lord right after he was weaned. Growing up in the house of God, Samuel was so close to His Presence that he could hear God’s voice as clearly as if Eli the priest had called him.
The Bible specifically noted that “the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation” (1 Sam 3:1). In those times, God chose to speak to a little child who took His Word seriously. That was the first time God spoke to Samuel, but certainly not the last. Samuel grew up listening closely to God all his life and obeying every word He spoke.
What can we learn from the young prophet?
Take time to listen to God. When we first become Christians, we are always excited when they hear from God. When He speaks, we would be so convicted that we weep and repent before Him unreservedly. However, as time goes by and we grow as Christians, we tend to lose that excitement. Samuel, who has been hearing from God since he was a child, did not stop obeying God. No matter how respected a prophet he became, he never let it get to his head—instead, he became more and more sensitive to God’s voice. From little Samuel, we learn to say, “Speak, for Your servant hears.” (1 Sam 3:10).
JESUS, THE CHILD WHO DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE THE TEMPLE (LK 2:41-52)
It was the Feast of the Passover and Joseph and Mary had brought 12-year-old Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem. This was a trip that they took every year but this time, Jesus decided to stay behind in the temple to discuss Scripture with the teachers.
The Bible doesn’t say what Jesus discussed with the teachers, but one thing is certain—Jesus loved the Word of God since He was a child.
What Can We Learn From The Young Jesus?
This was the only record of Jesus as a child in the Gospel and it showed how much Jesus loved the House and the Word of God. Because of this love, He grew up knowing the Scriptures like the back of His hands. When Satan tempted Him, He quoted the Scriptures. When His disciples asked Him how to pray, He quoted the Scriptures. On the Cross, just before He breathed His last, He quoted Psalms 31:5, saying, “Into your hand, I commit My spirit.”
The one thing that we can definitely learn from Jesus is to love and obey the Word of God.
THE BOY WHO SHARED HIS LUNCH (Jn 6:1-14)
The Bible did not record the name of this generous young boy, but his simple act of sharing produced one of the most famous miracles of the Bible. Jesus was teaching a large crowd on a mountain and when it was time to eat, Jesus asked the disciples to find food for the multitude.
Andrew, one of the disciples, found this boy with five loaves and two fish. Jesus took the food, multiplied it and fed five thousand people.
What Can We Learn From The Boy?
The lesson is simple: share what you have. But to practice that is not so easy. When we look at the needs of society and then at the little we have in our hands, doubts start to fill our minds. “How much would I have left if I were to share?” “What I have is so little, it doesn’t even come close to being enough!” “Surely people will laugh at what I bring to the table.”
That is why Jesus said to have faith like little children—when the little boy shared his food, he probably wasn’t overthinking things. He saw a need and lent a hand, trusting that Jesus would do the rest.
THE CHILDREN WHO WANTED TO BE NEAR JESUS (Mt 19:13-15)
Jesus loves the little children, and children love to come to Him too. Senior pastor of City Harvest Church, Kong Hee, enlightened the church when he postulated that these children that were brought to Jesus were not happy and healthy children, but those who were sick and in need of prayer. Yet these children never felt insignificant in the presence of Jesus. Even when the disciples tried to shoo them off, they still pressed in to Jesus unashamed.
What can we learn from them?
Adults, with all our pride, often feel inadequate in the presence of God. We feel the weight of our sins so much that we forget the importance of His forgiveness. But these little children didn’t feel like they needed to have something to offer before they came before Jesus. They simply ran to Him because they were drawn to Him. That simple faith is what Jesus loves about children, and what adults can exercise when they come before their Lord.