This past week in young married couples Bible study, we were discussing parenting and its challenges. A particular group of verses were brought up for discussion- Psalm 127:3-5. It says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.” When we were asked to give our thoughts on this verse and the relevance it has to parenting/taking care of children today, I really didn’t have a comment. Now I do, and here is my response.
A quiver is a container for holding arrows, bolts or darts that can be carried on an archer’s body, the bow, or the ground.
If the verses describe children as arrows and the quiver is used to carry them, I would think that a quiver could represent a household or a family.
It says blessed are those who have a full quiver, or blessed are those who have a full household. One is blessed when there are those for you to love and to love you in return. One could go further with this analogy and think of what one does with the arrows in their quiver. When the archer is good and ready and has chosen the target to aim at, they pick out an arrow and mount it on the bow.
The act of mounting the chosen arrow correctly on the bow and pointing it toward the target could represent the raising and training process of child rearing. Up until this point, this arrow has only ever been in the hands of the archer but once the archer has decided to loosen this arrow and send it on its way, much of the archer’s hands on work has been completed. In the same way, once we have fulfilled our responsibility of raising and training our little ones up in the ways of the Lord, the ways of love, to the best of our ability, it’s time to release and watch the arrow fly. It may be a painful process. Fingers may get bruised or blistered, cheeks may be left with scratches in the release process, but it’s all worth it when the arrow is soaring through the air. One may be filled with comfort that in trusting God and doing all that could be done, this little one is now headed toward life’s target.
It takes courage and faith to trust that once the arrow has left its quiver and left the bow, that God will carry it from there until the end of its journey. Perhaps some storms will blow along the way. The arrow may be knocked off course. The arrow may even plummet to the ground in a gut-wrenching change of course. But it is in these moments that the prayers and love that launch these arrows have to be recognized as pushing the arrow on and the deep love that our Heavenly Father has for His children needs to be remembered. Trusting God within the process and especially after “the release” is so crucial. Power, purpose and perfection, friends! He never misses.
We must trust that if we have sought after Godly wisdom and guidance in raising and training our little one, that He will continue the good work He started. He will take our child, our arrow, from where we have to release it and direct its path.
There is more imagery in this passage that I absolutely adore. It has a special place in my heart. When this Psalm speaks of a quiver, it is important to know that quivers differ. Their differences are based on the archer’s preferences and individual strengths. Some quivers are carried on the body, others are attached to the bow and some are even designed to be placed on the ground. Here, I picture the traditional quiver worn on the body as the womb. This is when the child comes from the body of the husband and wife within the household. But what about the quiver that is attached to the bow? For me, it is lovely and encouraging to picture the quiver mounted on the bow as a household where the child did not come from the mother’s body but has been joined to the household by either adoption or fostering. I’m not certain that God will choose to bless me with the miracle of pregnancy or birth, only He knows that, but I am certain that God has chosen me to be a mother and bless a little one of my own. It is heartwarming to think that though this little one may not come as a byproduct of the deep love that my husband and I share, he or she will be part of our family nonetheless. It’s still our primary job to set our little one on the straight and narrow path. It’s our job to mount our arrow and when they are ready, to release them toward the target- just as the birthmothers beside us will be doing.
And finally, what about the quiver that is placed on the ground? I think this could refer to the children who are given direction from someone outside the household altogether. These little ones are picked up and pointed toward the target just like the rest but the circumstances are a little different. These arrows could represent the children that are touched by the teachers that have been placed in their lives. From three years of age till twenty-three and beyond, our children are often placed in the love and training of our teachers! Monday through Friday, from eight until three, our children are learning, absorbing and being guided one way or another by teachers. Our teachers carry a great responsibility in directing our children toward purpose.
Not one way of wearing the quiver is greater than the other. Each one is beneficial in its own way. Each one works to serve the same united purpose. The purpose of bringing these arrows to their target- their purpose in life. When we are united in purpose, encouraging one another through this process, no matter where our quivers lay, we will all succeed! We will be truly changing the world for good. When we begin to look at the commonalities we have with one another, we will begin to see the beauty in learning and growing together!
Let us come together as one body of sound mind in raising and training our children up as unto God! The arrow has a long way to fly.