This teaching, entitled ‘The Choice’ was given by Pastor Barry at our Dedication service on Sunday 9th July 2017.
The principle of dedicating ‘things’ to God runs throughout the whole Bible. It is not specific to children, although there are indeed examples of this. Right from the first few pages of the book of Genesis we read of people offering things to God. Able offered his ‘sacrifice’ and God ‘respected Able and his offering’ (Gen 4:4). King David of Israel summed it up with the following words:
“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;…….. ………For all things come from You and of Your own we have given You” (1 Chron 29:11-14).
When it comes to children there are various examples of them being dedicated. The most well known is the example of Hannah and Samuel found in the book of 1 Samuel. Hannah was barren (unable to have children) but once a year she visited the temple of the Lord in Shiloh with her family. On one such occasion, she prayed and wept before the Lord that she may be granted a child. God heard her prayer and she conceived and in due course she gave birth to a boy and named him Samuel. She was so grateful to God that, in accordance with the prayer she had prayed, took Samuel back to the temple after he had been ‘weaned’ and offered him to God ‘all the days of his life’ (1 Sam 1:11).
The account of Samson found in the book of Judges (Chapter 13-16) is another example very similar to the above. A lady called Zorah was also barren. This time an Angel appeared and told her that she was to have a baby boy but that he should be ‘dedicated’ to the Lord.
We read in the book of Leviticus (chapter 3:12-13) that God required all of the tribe of Levi to be dedicated to Him – ‘to do the work of the tabernacle’ (vs 8).
Countless items were also dedicated to the Lord for the tabernacle – See Numbers 7, and for the Temple (see 1 Chronicles 26).
So basically, anything of value, or that which was to be ‘separated’ for God, was dedicated to Him.
It is from this principle then that Christian parents for centuries have wanted to dedicate their children to God. Firstly as a ‘thank you’ (‘all things come from God’), and secondly with the prayer that God will watch over the child and bring the child to a point where he or she is able, and willing, to make their own personal commitment to Jesus.
It is the desire of Christian parents to see their children grow up to love and know God as they themselves do, and also to see their children serve God as was the case for Hannah with Samuel and Zorah with Samson.
A ‘service of dedication’ is simply a public statement of the above in regard to a child’s life. The Christian parents of a child publicly commit their child into God’s safe keeping, knowing that He will answer their prayer and also give them peace.
“The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in – From this time forth and forevermore.” (Psalm 121 vs 5-8)
May you be blessed and encouraged as you listen to this study.
You can listen to the audio on this web page, or save it for later listening. The PowerPoint slides in PDF format are also available for download.