H E K N E W M Y N A M E
What the Bible Teaches about the Sanctity of Life in
the Womb
F. Wayne Mac Leod
Light To My Path Book Distribution
Copyright © 2015 F. Wayne Mac Leod
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written
permission of the author.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. ESV Text Edition: 2007
A Special thanks to the Proof Readers: Sue St. Amour, Diane Mac Leod
CONTENTS
Title Page
Copyright
Preface
1 - Known Before Conception
2 - Called Before Birth
3 - Life in the Womb
4 - The Work of God in the Womb
5 - Description of the Fruit of the Womb
6 - Infants Who
Never See the Light
7 - Summary and Conclusion
About The Author
T
PREFACE
he motivation for this study was a brief conversation I had with a
brother in Christ about his concern with the practice of abortion in
our day. This, however, is not a study about abortion. I am not
qualified to do such a study. As I reflected on this matter, however, I felt the
need to examine the teaching of Scripture about life in the womb and the
plan of God even before conception.
In this study, we will examine the teachings of both the Old and New
Testaments about the value of life in the womb. We will see how the hand
of God not only forms the small child but also prepares this life for His
purpose. It is my desire that we would see the fruit of the womb as God sees
it and that our hearts would be encouraged to see the preciousness and value
of life before birth.
May the Lord be pleased to use this study to bless and encourage you in
your reflection on this important time of life.
F. Wayne Mac Leod
A
1 - KNOWN BEFORE
CONCEPTION
God said, "No but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you
shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as
an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him." (Genesis 17:19)
s we begin our study, let's go back to the book of Genesis and the
promise of God to give Abraham a son. Abraham's wife Sarah
was unable to conceive. This was a source of grief for them both.
In Genesis 17, however, the Lord appeared to Abraham and told him that
He would make of him a great nation and kings would be in his family line.
Abraham laughed in disbelief at this word saying:
17 ...Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old?
Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child? (Genesis 17:17)
God assured him, however, that his wife Sarah would indeed give him a son
in her old age. In fact, the Lord promised Abraham that He would enter a
special relationship with this child (Genesis 17:19). God told Abraham to
call his son Isaac meaning "laughter"—a reference either to their disbelief
when God told them they would have a child in their old age or to the joy
and laughter that this child would bring them (particularly to Sarah who had
been unable to have a child all her life).
Although Abraham had another son by the name of Ishmael, God told him
that He had a special plan for Isaac:
20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and
will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father
twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will
establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you this
time next year. (Genesis 17:20-21
Isaac was very special to God. Notice in Genesis 17:21 how God calls him
by name. He does this even before Isaac was conceived! It would not be for
another year that this child would be born (Genesis 17:21).
Isaac is not the only child in Scripture to be described in this way. In Judges
13, we see how the people of God "did evil in the sight of the Lord, so the
Lord gave them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years" (Judges
13:1). At that time an angel of the Lord appeared to another barren woman
with a message:
3 ... Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you
shall conceive and bear a son. 4 Therefore be careful and drink no
wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, 5 for behold, you
shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head,
for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall
begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines. (Judges 13:3-
5)
This child, yet to be conceived, would be a male child set apart for God
from birth as a Nazirite. He would be an instrument of God to save Israel
from the hand of the Philistines. A Nazirite was an individual set apart by
means of a special vow to God. Numbers 6 describes the obligations of
such a person as long as they were under this vow. They were not to
consume strong drink, touch a dead body or cut their hair.
Notice in Judges 13:4 that God told the child's mother that she was not to
drink wine or strong drink. The reason she was not to do so was because the
child she was yet to conceive was set apart by the Lord for a special
purpose. Though not yet conceived, God had already set Samson apart for a
specific task.
In Luke 1, an angel appeared to a priest by the name of Zechariah and his
wife Elizabeth. This godly couple had no children. One day, as Zechariah
was ministering in the temple, this angel appeared before him. He had a
message for Zechariah:
13 But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your
prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and
gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great
before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he
will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb, 16
And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their
God, 17 and he will go before him in the power of Elijah, to turn the
hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the
wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.
(Luke 1:13-17)
Notice, again, that the angel calls the yet-to-be conceived child by name. He
tells his father that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit from his birth.
He would be an instrument to turn many to the Lord. He would prepare the
hearts of the people of God for the coming of the Messiah. God knew John
by name and had a purpose for his life even before he was conceived.
Speaking about the final judgement, the Lord Jesus reminded his listeners
that the day would come when the sheep and the goats would be separated
and judged according to their deeds. Listen particularly to what He said in
Matthew 2:34-35:
34 Then the King will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are
blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the
foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you
welcomed me.
What is important for us to note here in Jesus' words is the phrase: "inherit
the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." The
kingdom, according to Jesus, was prepared for these sheep from the
foundation of the world. This means that God was preparing a place for
them even before they were conceived in the womb. Just as he knew Isaac,
Samson and John the Baptist, so the Lord knew us before we were
conceived. From the very beginning of time, He has been preparing a place
in His kingdom for us. He knows our story from beginning to end. He knew
that story from the foundation of the world, way before we were conceived
or even imagined in the human mind.
God's delight in us did not begin the moment we were born. He delighted
and knew us even before we were conceived in our mother's womb. The
apostle Paul marveled at this when he wrote:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has
blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly
places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the
world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5
he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ,
according to the purpose of his will 6 to the praise of his glorious
grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-
6)
Paul teaches us that the Lord God chose us "before the foundation of the
world." There are many ways of looking at this phrase. In the context of this
study, however, we need to see that God had a purpose and plan for my life
that goes back to before I was conceived. From the foundation of the earth,
God knew me. He knew all about my life and the purpose I would fulfill in
life.
God is not limited to time as we are. The yet unconceived child is as
important to His purpose as the mature adult. He knows children, yet to be
conceived, as well as He knows each of us. He values the unconceived as
much as those born into this world. He had a purpose for Isaac, Samson and
John the Baptist who had not yet been conceived. There is a whole host of
children, yet to be conceived who are known and loved by God who has a
purpose for them in the work of His kingdom. How beautiful it is to know
that God did not start loving us when we were conceived in the womb. His
love and purpose for us goes back to the foundation of the world where no
human thought even imagined us.
For Consideration:
What did God know about Isaac, Samson and John the Baptist before they
were conceived? What was His purpose for their lives before they were
conceived in the womb?
What does it mean to be known before the foundation of the world?
God is not limited to time as we are. He loves the unconceived child as
much as the one who is conceived in the womb. What does this teach us
about the value of life and the purpose of God?
For Prayer:
Thank the Lord that He knew you from before the world began.
Thank the Lord that He had a purpose for you and your life from the
beginning of time.
Ask the Lord to help you to honour Him with your life by becoming all He
intended you to be.
Take a moment to praise the Lord for His understanding that is far greater
than ours and is not limited to time.
W
2 - CALLED BEFORE BIRTH
Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from
afar. The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my
mother he named my name. (Isaiah 49:1)
e have seen how the Lord knew us even before we were
conceived and had a purpose for our lives. We move now to
the point of conception and the physical body that is being
formed in the womb of the mother. In the passage quoted above, Isaiah tells
us two things about this time in the womb.
First, Isaiah tells us that the Lord calls His people from the womb. The call
of God on our lives did not begin the moment we were born. It began well
before this at the foundation of the earth and put into effect when we were
conceived in the womb of our mothers. The yet undeveloped child is being
formed for a purpose in the womb of the mother.
Second, we learn from Isaiah 49:1 that the Lord calls His children in the
womb by name—"from the body of my mother he named my name." There
is something very personal about this truth. In our day, there is a belief that
a fetus in the womb is not a person until he or she is born. This is not what
this passage tells us. The Lord calls this unfinished form by name. The eyes
and ears of this baby are not yet fully functional. Legs and arms are not
completely formed, but God still calls this child by name.
Speaking to the prophet Jeremiah the Lord said:
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were
born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.
(Jeremiah 1:5)
Take note of what God said to Jeremiah. He knew him before he was
formed in the womb. Notice also when God called Jeremiah to be a prophet
to the nations –"Before you were born I consecrated you." The word
"consecrate" has the sense of being set apart and dedicated to a particular
purpose. God set Jeremiah apart to be a prophet to the nations when he was
still an unfinished form in his mother's womb.
What was true of Jeremiah is also seen in the life of the apostle Paul. Listen
to his testimony in Galatians 1:15-17:
15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who
called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in
order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not
immediately consult with anyone, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to
those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia,
and returned again to Damascus.
When we consider the life of the apostle Paul, we sometimes feel that he
was called to serve the Lord when he was on his way to Damascus. Paul,
however, tells us that while he met Jesus and came to understand the
purpose of God on that day, he had actually been called by God well before
that time. He tells us in Galatians 1:15 that God had set him apart before
birth. There in the womb of his mother, the apostle Paul was being shaped
to be a servant of the Almighty God. Admittedly, he did not understand that
call for many years. He served faithfully as a devout Jew and did the best he
could with his limited understanding of that call. Only when Jesus revealed
Himself to Paul on the road to Damascus, however, did Paul fully
understand the purpose of God from the womb of his mother.
Writing in Isaiah 49:5 the prophet says:
And now the Lord says, he who formed me from the womb to be his
servant, to bring Jacob back to him; and that Israel might be
gathered to him—for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord and my
God has become my strength.
The Lord formed Isaiah from the womb to be His servant. This work of
shaping and training us to be servants of God does not begin when we are
old enough to reason and think for ourselves. It begins in the womb. God is
shaping our personality. He is forming us into the instruments He wants us
to be in the belly of our mothers.
The Lord spoke to the mother of Samson and told her:
3 Behold you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall
conceive and bear a son. 4 Therefore be careful and drink no wine
or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean. 5 for behold you shall
conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the
child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin
to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines. (Judges 13:3-5)
Notice what God told Samson's mother that day: "The child shall be a
Nazirite to God from the womb." A Nazirite was a person set aside by
means of a special vow to the Lord. As a Nazirite, he was never to shave his
hair, drink strong drink or touch a dead body. God told his mother not to
drink wine or strong drink while she was pregnant with him. She acted on
his behalf during the time Samson was in her womb. Samson's vow was
effective the moment he was conceived.
In Genesis 25, Rebekah, Isaac's wife, became pregnant and conceived
twins. There were complications with this pregnancy and she went to the
Lord to ask Him what was going on in her womb. The Lord responded:
... Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you
shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older
shall serve the younger. (Genesis 25:23)
The children in Rebekah's womb had a purpose in the mind of God. Two
nations were forming in Rebekah's womb and her boys had been called
from their mother's womb to be the fathers of these nations.
What do we understand from these passages of Scripture? Do they not show
us that the Lord God has a purpose for the life of the child developing in the
womb? God calls these children while they are still in the womb and sets
them aside for a particular purpose. Even before my brain and
consciousness have developed sufficiently to be aware of that call, God has
been working in my life and setting me apart. He calls my unformed frame
by name and knows me personally.
For Consideration:
Do we need a completely formed body to be loved by God? What do we
learn in this chapter about the love of God for even the body being formed
in the womb of the mother?
Isaiah tells us that God calls us by name from the womb of our mothers.
What does this teach us about the value of the child yet to be born?
When were Paul and Jeremiah called by God? What does this teach us
about the purpose of God for the unformed child in the womb?
While Paul was called from the womb, it would not be until much later in
life that he fully understood that call. What is the difference between being
called and understanding or walking in the call of God?
What is the call of God on your life?
For Prayer:
Thank the Lord that His love for us does not depend on what we look like
or if we are in perfect physical form. Thank Him that He loved you even
when you were unformed in your mother's womb.
Ask the Lord to reveal to you the call He has placed on your life from the
time you were in your mother's womb.
Ask God to help you to be faithful to His call and to live out that purpose in
your life.
I
3 - LIFE IN THE WOMB
The children struggled together within her, and she said, "If it is
thus, why is this happening to me?" So she went to inquire of the
Lord. (Genesis 25:22)
n Genesis 25, we have the story of the birth of Esau and Jacob.
Rebekah, their mother, was barren. Her husband Isaac prayed for her
and God answered his prayers. Rebekah conceived twins in her womb.
In the course of the pregnancy, Rebekah noticed that something strange was
taking place. Genesis 25:22 tells us that "the children struggled together
within her." Rebekah could feel this struggle in her womb.
Notice in Genesis 25:22 that the Bible calls the unborn in her womb,
"children." The Hebrew word used here is the same word used to speak of a
son or grandson. From God's perspective, though their bodies were not yet
completely formed, Esau and Jacob were children. They were human
beings from the moment of conception.
Notice also from Genesis 25:22 that these two children were "struggling
together within her." The Hebrew word used for "struggle" is quite strong.
It literally means to crack in pieces, to break, to bruise, to crush, to oppress
or to discourage. It is used, for example, in Deuteronomy 28:33-34:
33 A nation that you have not known shall eat up the fruit of your
ground and of all your labors, and you shall be only oppressed and
crushed continually, 34 so that you are driven mad by the sights that
your eyes see.
Notice in these verses that the people of God would be "crushed" to the
point that they would be driven mad in their pain. The word translated
"crushed" is the same word used to describe what the children in Rebekah's
womb were doing to each other.
The same word is used in 2 Chronicles 16:10 to speak of Asa who "inflicted
cruelties" on some of the people of the land. Judges 9:53 uses it to describe
what happened to Abimelech when a woman dropped a millstone on his
head.
When Genesis 25:22 tells us that the children struggled in the womb of their
mother, we understand that there was a serious conflict taking place in
Rebekah's womb. Rebekah became so concerned about this conflict that she
brought the matter to the Lord. Listen to what the Lord told her in Genesis
22:23:
And the Lord said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two
peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger
than the other, the older shall serve the younger."
The reason for this conflict in Rebekah's womb was that these two children
were the fathers of two enemy nations. Notice particularly in Genesis 22:23
that these two nations would be divided from within their mother's womb.
The conflict between these two nations began in as the two boys struggled
with each other before their birth.
When the time for Rebekah to give birth arrived, Esau was born first. When
Jacob was born, it was noted that he was grasping his brother's heal—a sign
of hostility toward his brother. As these boys grew older, bitterness between
them would grow. Jacob would steal Esau's birthright and blessing. Esau
would swear to kill Jacob. The Edomites—descendants of Esau hated the
Israelites and even generations later this hostility was still evident between
the two nations.
Where did this hostility start? From Genesis 25 we understand that it started
in Rebekah's womb. These two young boys were not fully conscious of
what was taking place but their fighting and bitterness started before they
were born. Something was happening in Rebekah that would impact
generations of people. There was a spiritual battle taking place right there in
her womb and these children were in the centre of that battle.
There is another example in Scripture we need to consider in this regard. In
Luke 1, we have the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist. Listen
to what the angel told his father Zechariah:
15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine
or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from
his mother's womb.
Notice when John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit—"even from
his mother's womb." The Holy Spirit of God was pleased to dwell in this
unformed child and fill him with power even before he was born. Evidence
of this filling is found in Luke 1:41:
41 And when Elizabeth heard the greetings of Mary, the baby leaped
in her womb, And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and
she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women and
blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me
that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold,
when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my
womb leaped for joy.
On this particular occasion, Mary, who was pregnant with our Lord, came
to see Elizabeth (the mother of John the Baptist). When Elizabeth heard the
sound of Mary's greeting, John "leaped for joy" in her womb. The Spirit of
God filled John in the womb. In response, Elizabeth prophesied, speaking a
word of encouragement from the Lord to Mary. Even as there was a
spiritual battle taking place in Jacob and Esau, so there was a work of God's
Spirit in the life of John before he was born.
As we reflect on these two passages of Scripture we see that significant
things happen in the womb of the mother. God is pleased to use the
unfinished form of the child He is shaping. He does not wait until they are
born to begin His work in and through them.
Consider this for a moment. The hand of God, who created the universe and
sustains it, reaches down to the tiny seed in the womb of its mother and
touches it in a special way. He fills that seed and begins to work out His
purposes. There is something very holy about this. God's delight in me did
not begin when I was born. It began farther back than this. He delighted in
me from the womb. He began to work out His purposes in me from the
womb of my mother.
For Consideration:
When did conflict between Esau and Jacob begin? What impact did this
conflict have on generations to follow?
When was John the Baptist filled with the Holy Spirit? What evidence is
there in Scripture of this filling from the womb?
What encouragement do you find from the fact that God is willing to use
the unfinished form of a child in the womb?
When does God begin His work in your life?
What do the passages we have examined here teach us about the value of
life in the womb?
If God can use the unfinished form of a child in the womb how much does
He need our strength and wisdom?
For Prayer:
Thank the Lord that He loved you before you were born and even when you
were still in your mother's womb He knew you and was shaping you for the
purpose He had in store for your life.
Take a moment to consider the value of life in the womb. Ask the Lord to
help you to value this life as He does.
Ask the Lord to forgive you for believing that the Lord uses you because of
your human strength and experience. Thank Him that He can use us even in
our weakness and frailty.
I
4 - THE WORK OF GOD IN
THE WOMB
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my
mother's womb. O praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully
made. (Psalm 139:13-14)
n the course of this study we have seen how God knew us before we
were conceived and called us while we were yet in the womb. In the
last chapter we examined how God can use and fill the life of the
unborn child. Let's consider now three further works of God in the life of
the unborn.
The Creative Work Of God In The Womb
The writers of Scripture marveled at the creative work of God in the
mother's womb. I was present with my wife when all of our children were
born. What an incredible thing it is to experience the birth of a child. There
before us was a living and breathing child. Life was brought into this world.
What we need to realize, however, is that the Lord God has been working in
the life of this child well before his or her birth. The psalmist speaks of this
in Psalm 139:13-14 when he says:
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my
mother's womb. O praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully
made.
The psalmist describes what was happening in the womb as God knitting a
life together. He joins each individual part connecting one with the other
until that life is complete and whole. The psalmist describes this work of
God as fearful and wonderful. In other words, it is a work that inspires awe,
reverence and praise.
Listen to what the prophet Isaiah told his people in Isaiah 44:2:
1 But now hear, O Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen! 2
Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you from the womb
and will help you.
The word translated by the English word "formed" is used to describe the
work of a potter who squeezes the clay on the wheel into the shape he
wants. There is a very personal dimension to this image. God shapes each
life personally in the womb. Each child is given his or her uniqueness by
the heavenly Creator.
Isaiah repeats the same thought when he says:
24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the
womb: "I am the Lord who made all things, who alone stretched out
the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself. (Isaiah 44:24)
Every child born into this world is a product of the creative genius of God
who works to shape the child in the womb of the mother. The fact that each
of us is different in looks and personality is an indication of the personal
nature of this creative work of a God who shapes each one personally. That
unborn child is a unique work of God in progress. God has taken a personal
interest in each one and shapes them into the person He wants them to be.
This process begins in the womb and is still one of life's greatest miracles.
The Protection Of God In The Womb
Not only does Scripture teach that God forms the unborn child but He also
protects this child in the womb. The psalmist understood this when he
wrote:
Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took
me from my mother's womb. My praise is continually of you. (Psalm
71:6)
Notice that the psalmist says that he leaned on God from before his birth.
He understood how much he depended on God for life from the moment of
conception. God sustained and kept him in the womb of his mother.
Listen to what God said to His people in Isaiah 46:3-4:
3 Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of
Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried
from the womb; 4 even in your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I
will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will
save.
God made it quite clear to His people that He had borne them from before
their birth. In other words, He took personal responsibility for them when
they were still in their mother's womb. The one who knew them before they
were conceived and formed them in the womb also watched over them from
the moment they were conceived. He protected and kept them safe in the
womb of their mother. The protecting work of God does not begin when we
are born—even before we were brought into this world, the hand of God
has been at work protecting and keeping us for the purpose He has in mind.
The Preparatory Work of God in the Womb
God calls us, forms us and protects us in the womb of our mother. God also
prepares us for the work He has in mind. This preparatory work of God also
begins in the womb. Consider what the apostle Paul told the Ephesians in
Ephesians 2:10:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good
works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in
them.
Even before we were aware of the purpose of God for our lives, He was
preparing the works He had for us to accomplish. God not only prepared the
circumstances in life but He also prepared us for those circumstances. The
Psalmist makes this clear when he says:
15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in
secret, intricately woven in the depth of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw
my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of
them, the days that were formed or me, when as yet there was none
of them. (Psalm 139:15-16)
While I was still in the womb of my mother being woven into the person He
wanted me to be, God knew what every day in my life would bring. Every
day of my life was written in His book even before I was born. He shaped
me in the womb of my mother with these days in mind.
The Psalmist recognized that even before he came into this earth, he had an
obligation to this wonderful Creator God. In Psalm 22:10 he says:
On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother's womb you
have been my God.
What does it mean that God is our God? It means that He is our Lord and
we are submissive to Him in all things. The implication is quite clear. God
is the God of the unborn. He watches over and gives them life. They in turn
are under obligation to submit to Him as their Sovereign Lord.
What do we see from these passages of Scripture? God takes a very special
interest in unborn children. He shapes them in the womb into the people He
wants them to be. Like a great potter, He forms my life with its unique
personality and appearance while it is yet in the womb of my mother. He
protects unborn children and calls Himself their God. Even before I was
born, God called me by name. Before I was born, God knew every day of
my life and what those days would bring. He knows details about my life
that still after many years of living on this earth I still do not know. I was
created and shaped by God, protected by God and prepared by God for life
while I was still in the womb of my mother. God's interest in me and His
work in my life began in the womb and will continue even to the end of my
days.
For Consideration:
Take a moment to consider the miracle of life that begins at the moment of
conception. How is the creative hand of God shown in what takes place in
the womb of the mother from conception?
The prophet Isaiah tells us that God bears us from the womb (Isaiah 46:3).
How does God carry the unborn child in the womb? What does this tell us
about the value God places on this child?
How does God prepare us for the work He has in store? How does He shape
us in the womb for the calling He has placed on our lives?
Is an unborn child loved by God as much as a child born into this world?
Explain.
For Prayer:
Thank the Lord for the miraculous way in which He shapes the unborn
child in the womb of the mother.
Take a moment to give praise to the Lord for how He watches over the child
in the womb.
Thank the Lord for the purpose He has in mind for each child conceived in
the womb. Thank Him for how He shapes each one differently.
Ask the Lord to give you a sense of awe and respect for His miraculous
work in the womb. Ask the Lord to forgive us as a society for not having he
heart of God toward these unborn children.
I
5 - DESCRIPTION OF THE
FRUIT OF THE WOMB
n this chapter, let's take a moment to examine a few verses that
describe the unborn child in the womb of the mother. While there are
many verses that describe children born into this world, my focus in
this chapter is the child still in the womb.
Let's begin with Genesis 49:25. In Genesis 49, Jacob had come to the end of
his life and now took the time to bless each of his children. Genesis 49:25 is
part of the blessing of Jacob on his son Joseph:
25 By the God of your father who will help you, by the Almighty
who will bless you with blessings from heaven above, blessings of
the deep that crouches beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the
womb.
Notice how Jacob told his son that the God of his fathers would bless him
with many types of blessings. Of particular significance to us is the phrase
"blessings of the breasts and of the womb." Jacob makes special mention of
two types of blessings in this phrase. The phrase "blessings of the breasts"
is clearly a reference to the nursing child at the breast of the mother. The
"blessings of the womb," however, is a reference to the unborn child being
formed in the womb of the mother. For Jacob, the unborn child in the womb
was as much of a blessing from God as the child nursing at his or her
mother's breast. One was as valuable as the other.
Struggling with the prosperity of the wicked, the psalmist says in Psalm
17:13-14:
13 Arise, O Lord! Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul from
the wicked by your sword, 14 from men by your hand, O Lord, from
men of the world whose portion is in this life. You fill their womb
with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their
abundance to their infants.
The psalmist speaks very strongly against the wicked who oppressed him in
this passage. "Confront him, subdue him!" he asks the Lord. These men
were evil and the psalmist wanted the Lord to judge them for their evil.
Having said this, however, notice how the psalmist describes the children
conceived in the wombs of their women –"You fill their womb with
treasure."
The "treasure" the psalmist is describing here is the unborn children of
wicked men. Despite the fact that the parents of these unformed children
were evil, these children were still a precious and valuable treasure. The
psalmist speaks with great respect for the life of the child in the womb even
though this child is the fruit of wicked parents. Every unformed child
conceived in the womb is a treasure from God. A child’s value does not lie
in who their parents are but in the fact that they are a creation of God.
The Psalmist again speaks of the fruit of the womb in Psalm 127:3:
3 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the
womb a reward.
Of particular significance is the phrase: "the fruit of the womb a reward."
The child being formed in the womb of the mother is a reward from God.
This child is a gift of God—an indication of His favour and blessing.
What do these three passages tell us about the unborn child? The child
growing in the womb of the mother is a blessing, a treasure and a wonderful
reward or gift from God. Even the unborn child of evil parents is a treasure
from God. Scripture is quite clear on this matter. The fruit of the womb is to
be respected. From the moment of conception this young, unformed life is
to be valued and honored as a blessing of God.
For Consideration:
How does Scripture describe the fruit of the womb?
Is the value of the unformed child in the womb dependant on his or her
parents?
Based on the description of the child in the womb of his or her mother, how
should we see and treat the unborn child?
For Prayer:
Thank the Lord for the value He places on the unformed child in the womb.
Ask the Lord to forgive your society for not valuing unborn children as it
should. Ask God to reveal the value He places on these lives.
Ask the Lord to forgive you for valuing a child based on his or her parents.
Thank the Lord that each person is an individual before Him and his or her
value in not dependant on the life of their parents.
T
6 - INFANTS WHO
NEVER SEE THE LIGHT
13 Or why was I not as a hidden stillborn child, as infants who
never seen the light? (Job 3:16)
he life into which a child is born is not always easy. In fact there
are times when life facing that child is very cruel. In the verse
quoted above, Job considered his lot in life and wished he had died
in the womb. In fact, in the third chapter of his book, Job curses the day of
his birth.
3 Let the day perish on which I was born, and the night that said, "A
man is conceived."
Job, at this point in his life, had lost his children and all his wealth. He sat
in an ash heap scratching the boils on his body wondering why he had to
suffer. The agony of life was so heavy on him that he lamented the fact that
God had let him be conceived and born into such a cruel world.
7 Behold, let that night be barren; let no joyful cry enter it. 8 Let
those curse it who curse the day, who are ready to rouse up
Leviathan. 9 Let the stars of its dawn be dark; let it hope for light,
but have none, nor see the eyelids of the morning, 10 because it did
not shut the doors of my mother's womb, nor hide trouble from my
eyes. 11 Why did I not die at birth, come out from the womb and
expire? 12 Why did the knees receive me? Or the breasts, that I
should nurse? 13 For then I would have lain down and been quiet;
I would have slept; then I would have been at rest. (Job 3)
Had Job never been born, he would not have agonized over the death of his
children. He would not have suffered the physical affliction he was
experiencing at this time. To Job, at this time, the death of a child in the
womb was a blessing because it spared him or her from the terror and pain
of life.
He expressed these feelings further in Job 10:18-19 when he said:
18 Why did you bring me out from the womb? Would that I had died
before any eye had seen me 19 and were as though I had not been,
carried from the womb to the grave.
Job was not alone in these thoughts. In Jeremiah 20, we read how the
prophet was beaten and put in stocks to be publicly humiliated. Struggling
with what had happened to him for preaching the word of God, the prophet
prayed:
7 O Lord, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are
stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a
laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me 8 For whenever I
speak, I cry out, I shout, "Violence and destruction!" For the word
of God has become for me a reproach and derision all day long.
Here was a man who struggled with the fact that he preached what God had
given him to preach and yet experienced such rejection and mocking. As he
cried out to God about his bitter lot in life, Jeremiah declares:
14 Cursed be the day on which I was born! The day when my
mother bore me, let it not be blessed! 15 Cursed be the man who
brought the news to my father, "A son is born to you," making him
glad. 16 Let that man be like the cities that the Lord overthrew
without pity; let him hear a cry in the morning and an alarm at
noon, 17 because He did not kill me in the womb; so my mother
would have been my grave, and her womb forever great. 18 Why did
I come out from the womb to see toil and sorrow, and spend my days
in shame? (Jeremiah 20)
Jeremiah literally cursed the man who brought news of his birth because he
did not abort him in the womb (see Jeremiah 20:17).
Here before us we see deep grief in these servants of God. Their grief was
so intense that they wished they had died in the womb, never to see the light
of day. The pain they experienced in life was more than they felt they could
bear. They cried out questioning why they were conceived or aborted before
they saw such suffering.
Listen to the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 6:3:
3 If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, so that
the days of his years are many but his soul is not satisfied with life's
good things, and he also has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is
better off than he.
Solomon speaks here about a man who is richly blessed. The sign of this
great blessing is his many children and long years of life. This man,
however, is not satisfied in his soul. His life has no meaning for him.
Solomon tells us that this man, though richly blessed, lived a cursed life
without satisfaction in the many blessings he has been given. He went as far
as to say that it would have been better for him to have been a stillborn
child than to go through life depressed and unsatisfied.
Job, Jeremiah and Solomon seem to be saying that there are situations
where it would be better to die in the womb or be aborted than to be born. It
is important that we examine what these men are saying in the context of
God's purpose for the life of the unborn child. There are several points we
need to make about these comments of Job, Solomon and Jeremiah.
First, the comments of Job, Jeremiah and Solomon must be seen in their
context. They are the expressions of human hearts unsure as to how to
handle the purpose of God. Job and Jeremiah are in the midst of a great trial
of faith. They are open and honest with God and speak plainly what is on
their mind. At this point, they wished they had never been born. The pain
they experienced in life made them wish they had died in their mother's
womb. They are not teaching us that to kill children in the womb is to do
him or her a favour by sparing them the troubles of life. They are simply
expressing their feelings in a moment of pain.
Secondly, we must also consider how God responded to Job and Jeremiah
after they declared that they wished they had died in the womb. He listened
carefully to their cry and responded. To Job, God said:
1 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: 2
"Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?"
In other words, God was asking Job if he really knew what he was talking
about. He spoke words without knowledge.
To Jeremiah the Lord said:
5 If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you,
how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so
trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?
God reminded Jeremiah that He had an even greater plan for his life. He
was going to take him to the "thicket of the Jordan" but first he needed to
learn to compete with horses. These problems he complained about now
were designed to train him for an even greater work. God shows these men
that there was purpose in the pain they struggled so deeply with.
Complaining and wishing they had been aborted in the womb only showed
that they did not know the mind of God nor did they trust His purpose.
Suffering and pain are normal parts of life in a sinful world. The Lord Jesus
had to face Satan head on. He was rejected throughout His life. At his birth,
Herod tried to kill Him. As he ministered, people took advantage of Him.
He would die a cruel death at the age of thirty. He took on the sin of the
world. He saw the Father turn His face from Him as He bore our sins.
Would it have been better that He had never been born? Certainly not! The
work He accomplished in those few short years brought salvation and
forgiveness to God's people.
The apostle Paul lived a life of struggle and pain. He was beaten and stoned
for the message he preached. At times, he was left for dead after being
stoned. He experienced more rejection and suffering in life than many of us
will ever experience. Would it have been better for him never to have been
born? Certainly not! The message he preached changed countless lives. His
writing continues to bring many into the kingdom.
Surely we need to understand that these men needed to be brought onto this
earth and suffer so that we could know the salvation of God. None of us
enjoy pain and suffering but often the purpose of God is accomplished in it.
Job, Jeremiah, Jesus and Paul were all mightily used of God through the
things they suffered to accomplish His purpose.
Would things have been easier for them had they never been born? From a
human perspective, they would not have had to face the suffering they
endured. But from a divine perspective, the purpose of God would not have
been accomplished. The suffering of these men brought life and hope to
many. What they endured brings us great blessing. I for one am thankful for
their lives.
Yes, Job and Jeremiah struggled with their lot in life wishing they had never
been born. God, however, used them to push back the darkness of evil. I am
thankful that they were born and proved faithful to that purpose despite the
pain they endured.
For Consideration:
Have you ever been in a situation that you felt you could not bear? What
was your response in that time? How did the Lord take you through it?
What do we learn from this chapter about struggle and difficulties in life?
Will all children be born to a life of ease and comfort?
Take a moment to consider the struggles of Job, Jeremiah, Paul and Jesus?
Are you glad they were born and endured this suffering? What was the
result of their faithfulness?
Is it really better for a child not to be born to a life of suffering? How does
God use suffering to accomplish His purpose?
For Prayer:
Thank the Lord that even though we may be born to suffer, He is able to use
this to accomplish great good.
Thank the Lord for the privilege of being born into this world and called to
be an instrument of change.
Ask the Lord to give you grace to be faithful to what the Lord has called
you to do, despite the pain and struggle that is involved.
O
7 - SUMMARY AND
CONCLUSION
ver the course of the last six chapters, we have sought to
understand the teaching of Scripture concerning life in the womb.
In this final chapter, I would like to summarize what we have
seen.
Our God is an all-knowing and eternal God. He knew us even before we
were conceived and had a purpose for our lives (Genesis 17:19). He knew
all the details of our life and how our lives would unfold (Luke 1:13-14).
In the wombs of our mothers, He called us by name (Isaiah 49:1). He knew
us personally and took special interest in us. While we were still being
shaped in the womb, God called us and set us apart for His special purpose
(Jeremiah 1:5). He shaped our bodies and personalities in the womb to suit
us for the call He had placed on our lives.
God creates, knits us together (Psalm 139:13-14) and protects us in the
womb of our mothers (Isaiah 46:3-4). There in the womb, He prepares us
for our responsibilities in life (Psalm 139:15-16).
There is evidence in Scripture that the Lord also does a spiritual work in the
life of the unborn child. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit in
the womb (Luke 1:15). Jacob and Esau fought in the womb of their mother
(Genesis 25:22), the beginning of a great spiritual battle that would take
place for generations to come.
Scripture describes the fruit of the womb as a blessing (Genesis 49:25), a
treasure (Psalm 17:13-14) and a reward (Psalm 127:3). This shows us the
value God places on the unformed substance of these children yet to be
born.
It is true that these children will be born into a sinful world filled with grief
and struggle. That suffering and grief, however, is not without purpose.
Those who come to Him have the privilege of knowing their Creator and
fellowshipping with Him in even the worst trials. They are His instruments
to accomplish His purpose on this earth. They have the privilege of walking
in His power and authority and the joy of knowing that when their task on
earth is completed, they will enter His presence for all eternity separated
from sin and its effects.
What does this study show us about the value of the unborn child? It shows
us that each child is the work of the Heavenly Father. It shows us that God
has a purpose for the unformed child. He values each life and knows each
one by name.
It would seem to me that we are called to respect the life God is forming
and protecting in the womb. This is a creation of God and one for which He
has a purpose. Does every child born walk in that purpose of God? I'm
afraid many do not. We have all fallen short of the standard of God. Some
will reject their Creator completely. Others will violently oppose the
purpose of God and become instruments of Satan. Those who receive Him,
however, become His instruments to advance His kingdom.
It would be wonderful to think that every child would be born to a loving
father and mother. In this world of sin and evil, however, this is not always
the case. There are women who have experienced the horrors of rape and
sexual violence. The children born to these mothers, however, are still
precious in God's eyes. Many will see evils they should never have to see.
Some will face struggles in life no child should ever have to face. Despite
this, however, they are to be valued as the creation of God. If anything, this
is a call for the people of God to stand up and be the parents, counsellors,
encouragers and supporters that these children need.
I have purposely not spoken about the matter of abortion in this study. What
we have examined, however, should help us to see the incredible value God
places on life in the womb. As I have worked through the various passages
of Scripture related to life before birth, I have been struck by the fact that
my God knew me, called me and valued me long before I was born. I was
loved and cared for in the womb. I praise God who took this much interest
in me. I want to live my life to accomplish the purpose for which I was
conceived. I am renewed in my understanding of the value He places on
every child in the womb, no matter the circumstance of their conception.
May the Lord be pleased to use this study to enable each reader to stand
with God in valuing and caring for the fruit of every womb for His glory
and praise.
For Consideration:
What does this study teach us about the value of the unformed child in the
womb of the mother?
According to what we have seen in this study, what should be our attitude
toward the child in the womb?
When does life begin? If the child in the womb is considered to be a person
from the time of conception, how does the law and requirements of God for
the treatment of all people apply to the unborn child?
For Prayer:
Take a moment to thank the Lord that He knew you before you were
conceived.
Thank the Lord for how He formed you and valued you in the womb of
your mother.
Ask the Lord to help you to see each child as a creation of God. Ask God to
help you to value life whether it be in the womb or born into this world.
Thank the Lord that although we are born into a sinful world, we can know
His presence and power to accomplish His purpose. Thank Him for that
privilege of knowing Him and being forgiven of your sins.
Take a moment to pray for those who do not yet know Him as their Saviour
and Lord. Ask God to reveal Himself to them in a way that gives them hope
and purpose in life.