As cultures grow in wealth, birth rates typically drop. “Large” families become oddities. People look at large families and make all kinds of comments to parents. Many are of the insensitive variety, such as “Do you know what causes this?” Yes, it’s a little awkward. How can people with a bunch of children respond?
Psalm 107:38-43 gives us help, as my parents always reminded me (I am the second of eight children):
By his blessing they multiply greatly, and he does not let their livestock diminish. When they are diminished and brought low through oppression, evil, and sorrow, he pours contempt on princes and makes them wander in trackless wastes; but he raises up the needy out of affliction and makes their families like flocks. The upright see it and are glad, and all wickedness shuts its mouth. Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.
The Lord tells us that he makes his people multiply. When his people see that, they are glad. Conversely, the wicked shut their mouths.
What do we say in the face of snide comments? We attribute the multiplication of children to the Lord and his blessing. We respond, “Yes, the Lord has given us these children!” In response, people either rejoice or shut their mouths. They don’t usually argue with the truth of God’s word. They may mumble under their breath, but they usually shut their mouth.
Of course, for this kind of statement to silence fools, it must be made by wise parents who attend to the truth. People are wealth, and children are a blessing. But a child can also bring grief to the foolish parent who does not rear their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord (Proverbs 10:1, 17:25). Parents who provoke their children, fail to teach and discipline them, or neglect the needs of their children should not expect to experience these blessings (Ephesians 6:4, Deuteronomy 6:7, Proverbs 13:24, 1 Timothy 5:8).
It is God who multiplies his people. Our calling is to rejoice in his work and humbly commit ourselves afresh to attend to his promises and commands as we walk with him by faith. As we humbly and confidently rejoice in his work, wickedness will shut its mouth.