About six months ago a young couple who are friends of ours, asked if I would do a baby dedication. My wife and I have grown close to this family and while I had never performed a dedication before, I counted it an honor to be asked to lead such a solemn event. I think we tend to dismiss baby/child dedications and treat them as an “add on” in services, rushing through the process and miss the opportunity to create a meaning moment for parents and family. So when they asked for this to be a separate, stand-alone event, I welcomed the opportunity. I think baby/child dedications can be meaningful and they can serve a bigger purpose than just a ceremonial event. They can be used to encourage everyone who attends to see how important passing on the legacy of faith.
While I made it personal for the family, here I changed some names to pronouns, except for the little guy who was the main attraction – he has a great Bible name – Ezekiel.
The Word of God tells us that Jesus has a special place in His heart for little children. Let me share with you from Mark 10:13-16…
And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
When we dedicate children to the Lord, we are following a number of examples. One of those is that of Joseph and Mary, when in Luke 2:22, they presented or dedicated Jesus to the LORD at the temple.
But maybe the most famous one is of Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, who made a vow in 1 Samuel 1 verse 11 when she said:
O Lord of Hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your servant, and remember me and not forget Your servant, but will give to Your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life…
The Almighty answered her prayer, and after Samuel was miraculously born she said in verse 27 and 28:
For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to Him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is lent to the Lord.
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word used for “dedication” is used in just a handful of places. The word contains the idea of initiating, beginning, inaugurating, or starting something to serve God’s purposes. It is used in 1 Kings 8:63 when Solomon dedicated the newly constructed Temple. And in Deuteronomy 20:5, we see how important this act of dedication was in the life of ancient Israel when a man was warned about going into battle, if he had not dedicated his home.
And of course there is the familiar passage in Proverbs 22:6 where we are told to “train up a child in the way that they should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” The word translated as “train” in Proverbs, is the same word used in those other passages.
Like the newly built Temple was solemnly dedicated to the Lord, so children are to be dedicated as a Temple of the Holy Spirit while they are young and teachable.
As I know you have done with your daughter, start training Ezekiel from his earliest age in the way of the Lord. Tell him about his duties to God and man. Teach him all of the Bible, both the Old and the New Testament. Teach the Scriptures continually and diligently to him, and as Deuteronomy 6 instructs us, talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. In other words, in every area and every time of life, make teaching Jesus a priority in your role as parents.
Pray for him to grow in his knowledge of God, and the Scriptures, and salvation and righteousness and holiness.
But it is not enough to encourage Ezekiel to follow the truths in God’s Word, you must model these truths yourself. He must see you obeying God’s commands and living righteously. This will count more than anything else in his training. You have honored your son with an awesome name. Ezekiel means “God Strengthens.”
Do you promise to raise Ezekiel to know, love and obey the Lord?
To friends and members of the family, do you promise to encourage his parents to raise this little one in the fear of the Lord? Ezekiel needs to see in your life the blessings of following God.
Children are a gift from God; the fruit of the womb is a reward He gives. As Psalm 127 says “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man and woman whose quiver is full of them!” May you rejoice in your son, as it is written in Proverbs 23:24-25
The father of a righteous son will greatly rejoice, and he who fathers a wise son will delight in him. Let your father and your mother have joy, and let her who gave birth to you rejoice.
Oh God, Ruler of Heaven and Earth, sustain this child for his father and mother. May Ezekiel, fulfill his name by being strong in the LORD. May he do mighty things for Jesus and may he be a bulwark of commitment, dedication and service to the LORD.
Father in Your great mercy, give him a pure and holy heart to serve you all the days of his life. May his heart be open to understand Your Word, to learn, teach, keep, and practice it. May he enter into a life of service to You. May he enter into the New Covenant and the salvation found in Jesus Christ. May he grow up to be a faithful son who forever remains within Your house. May he be blessed in this life and be rewarded with eternal life in the world to come! In Jesus’ holy Name, Amen.
Ezekiel, your parents present you this day to the Lord. Like Samuel before you, may you always be dedicated to Him.
May the Lord, bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance on you, and give you peace. May His grace, favor, and blessing from our Father and our King, rest upon this family all the days of their lives! Amen.
After the service we had a huge party/celebration. It was a joyous time with lots of food, laughter and conversation. As the day drew to a close I was so grateful that God allowed me to participate in this event. And while Ezekiel will not remember the day, his parents and his family will. I expect he will be reminded of his dedication to the LORD and how his spiritual life was started off strong with the blessing of his family.
I encourage pastors, church leaders and parents to make baby/child dedications a meaning, stand-alone event. Don’t treat them with the same enthusiasm as the church announcements, but make this moment a special time.
Blessing My Friend!