As a matter of observation, I have been in assemblies where the young children considered the building to be a play area or gymnasium. I have seen them running through auditoriums and classrooms having the time of their life. Elderly people have lost their grip on canes supporting them, and chairs and stands have toppled in their path as they ran gleefully through the area set aside for worship and teaching. Everything from shrieks of glee to childish cries of selfishness and pain fill the air, all forming a gigantic distraction to everyone present. It is not surprising that a child would think this way: after all, they are children. It is startling, however, that anyone would think such conduct had no effect upon "true worshipers."

Can you imagine the children of your assembly at Mount Sinai? God told Moses to tell the people to see to it that no one touched the holy mount. Whoever did would surely put to death (Ex. 19:11-13). I realize our assemblies are not a duplication of Sinai. They involve something infinitely more blessed! But our children will not get the blessing while unrestrained and undisciplined.

All of this is not as innocent as it may appear. We give no spiritual advantage to the children by allowing them freedom to romp and play in our meetings.. You can imagine the effect this would have on a classroom in a medical school . . . or a library . . . or during a class on administering CPR. Matters related to the weekly assembly are infinitely more important than those things.

"Little ones" were not excluded from the ancient assemblies. Even heathen Pharaoh knew these things. When he finally consented to letting Israel go, these were his words: "Go ye, serve the LORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you" (Exodus 10:24). When the Moabites and Ammonites came against God's people, Judah gathered together to seek help from the Lord. They included the "little ones" in their gathering. As it is written, "And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children" (2 Chronicles 20:13). When the Lord Jesus was among us, some "brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray . . . " (Matthew 19:13). I have been in some assemblies where the children could not have been still long enough for Jesus to put His hands on them and pray! I cannot conceive of their parents allowing in Jesus' fleshly presence what they allow in His spiritual presence. After all, when we are gathered in His name, He is there among us (Matt. 18:20).

It goes without saying that our homes are to be noted for a godly emphasis. This is the point of the admonition, "fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4). This speaks more of environment than of routine. Suffice it to say, the assembly of the saints should not be a glaring contradiction to our daily manner of life.