“Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”
God gave this promise primarily related to the Promised Land and reminded the Israelite of the program God had set up for them. They would live long in the land if they obeyed and dealt with any disrespect from children towards parents. They failed and one of the reasons given for the Babylonian exile was a failure to honour parents (Ezek. 22:7, 15).
The Apostle Paul individualized this national promise when he applied the truth to believers in his day (Matt. 15:4; Mk. 7:10; Eph.6:1-3).
RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
The family is in trouble today. Teenagers turn to magazines for instruction for living, for relationships, for sexual advice and are being given false information about love marriage and sex, about alternative marriages and lifestyles. Every parent should slip into the shoes of their children and try and think the way they do, listen to what they listen to read what they are reading. Crime, sexual misconduct, scandals, abuses, violence seem to be tolerated in our world. In our world today money, sex and power rule. Is this the atmosphere we want to rear our children in? Many Christian parents turn their eyes away from the questionable things the children are watching, are involved in, or are communicating in.
There is no plan B, God has only one plan for the home and family. If you put in the wrong ingredients for a cake, a stew, a soup it can become a mess. It is the same for a home, for a marriage, for rearing children for anything in life that matters. Society has a current view about marriage and family that is seriously deficient. Most Christians have lost their way. Church leaders especially in the Anglican Church of England sees nothing wrong with homosexuality and even condones it among its priests and ministers.
The Bible exalts the family and gives it a prominent place. It gives guidance about love, marriage and sex, rearing children (Psalm 127).
1. God is sovereign in building a house. “Except the Lord build, they labour in vain who build it …” The home begins with personal commitment and we do not build it alone but with the Makers instructions. A Christian parent will only succeed if they have a dynamic relationship with the Lord.
2. God is sovereign in protecting a city. “Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain.” He will watch over your home.
3. God is sovereign in your earning a living. “It is vain to rise up early and to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep.” You may work hard at your marriage, put a lot of effort into it, stay up late talking through your problems and difficulties but unless you contact the Maker it will not function proper. You may both work hard, accumulate lots of things, earn lots of money but your relationship will suffer unless you do it His way. You may redouble your efforts but fail miserably.
4. God is sovereign in giving life. “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Your wife shall be as a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house.” Children are a gift from the Lord. God does not waste children on parents He sends them to you to rear them and develop and care for them. He knows the very kind to send you. He gave them to you not only to because of what you could do for them but what they could do for you. You meet each others needs in a unique way.
a. Children are a reward, not a mistake, not a tragedy, not an accident but something the Lord has planned and given. This expresses God’s favour. If babies are born into your home, you are highly honoured. It is a privilege. It is the providence of God.
If in the providence of God you do not have any children then He has an altogether unique plan for you also. If God does not reward you with children He may reward you with many creative gifts and abilities. You may find your most unique ministry that could be building into the lives of children whose parents care less or minister to them in a loving unique manner. God enables you to care deeply for them and give your life in ministering to them.
b. Children are called “arrows.” They are launched to a target and you should know where you are directing them, and with what attitude and training. One major reason parents fail is because they have never sighted the target. How you see your child and how other s perceive them may be two different concepts. Love is blind and parents think their children are special others see them as obnoxious.
5. God is sovereign in the number of children you have. “Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed but shall speak with their enemies at the gate.” Children will defend their parents.
A lot of teens will tell you their parents lead a hectic life and have no time for them, they have no direction and just do the best they can, their parents have lost sight of the goal and fail to direct them. They do not rear according to the Makers instructions. Good children don’t emerge by accident, by hoping they will find their own way in life, they need instruction, discipline, correction, love care, direction, a listening parent. They are the fruit of careful cultivation. You tend them like a garden, you water them, feed, them pull out the weeds in their lives, cut back the branches and that hurts but you get a better plant. Make raising your children a clear cut objective, the specific aim for which you are trusting God.
SOCIETY DEPENDS UPON THE FAMILY
The world turns upon the home and family. The church is God’s instrument for helping give good strong foundations with moral and spiritual values. You need time to be with your family, and to give to your children. How much time do you spend at home? Are you always running out to meetings or the church? Do you children feel Christianly has robbed them from their parents? You may run to missions, travel far to give your testimony, you may be busy leading many to Christ and still loose your own children. Succeeding at church and failing at home is a cop out. One spends more and more time at church where he or she is “making it” and less and less time in home and loosing it. God will not bless your family because you seem spiritual and want others to notice you or give you position. When you are competitive and trying to gain “church points” your family will suffer. If your family life is not together people in the church will notice. Some churches and people who think they have to give al their time to the church business or activities do more to break up family than encourage it. Do your family see the church as an enemy or an ally? The church is not to rear the children but give instruction how to do it. The chief priority in the home is to train the family members to live fruitfully in the home, in church and society.
A main requirement for elders and deacons is to be “one who rules well” in the home and then the church. If not people will not take your office serious. If you cannot rule your own home, serve well in the limited sphere don’t enlarge it. If we are looking for a person qualified for leadership in the church, we are not looking for public ministry only but also at his management in his home. If he cannot function in the home, then he has forfeited the privilege of leadership in the church. If you cannot conduct your home life, don’t try to lead in public ministry. The home is the main force in a child’s life, 83% of its time is in the home, that is where the impact is.
When involved in Para-church groups or missions do they emphasise the importance of family, the home and church.
Marriage Partnership and Teamwork Gen. 2:22-24
Marriage is a partnership, it is two people working together as a team. The spiritual head of the team is the husband (Eph. 5:23) and the manageress of the home is the wife. Woman was taken from the very side of man she is not above him or below him but beside him. His partner. Woman will always be part of the man.
Vs 22-23. Divine surgery. When she was created from the rib of man she was led to the man by the Lord. God preformed divine surgery and took her out of Adam’s side. “Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said, “ This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of a man” (Gen.2:22-23). The man “ish” (the Hebrew word for homosapiens) names her woman (isha) because she had her source in him (the root for “woman” is “soft”).
Vs 24. Divine union. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.” The marital status was established as the first human institution. They belong together they fit together. When they marry they become one flesh and stick together like glue, working together as a team. They leave father and mother and start a new family unit. The responsibility to honour one’s parents (Ex. 20:12) does not cease with leaving and the union of the husband and with wife, but does represent the inauguration of a new and primary responsibility. The new couple with full agreement with each other may decide to bring an ailing parent or parent in need home to live with them after consideration of the changes it may cost and consequences that may ensue. For such situations a “granny flat” built onto the home gives the parent individual freedom as well as the security of having loved ones near by. Adam was delighted in his heart because he had now found a companion. Companionship is one of the main reasons for marriage. Sex is important but there may come a time when you may not be able to have sex but companionship is always essential in human relationships. .
The second most important decision you will make in life is the choice of a lifetime partner, Jesus said, “For this reasons a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Matt. 19:5.) This came into existence in the Garden of Eden before the Fall. Marriage is to form the structure of the basic stability of society. It totally rejects polygamy, homosexuality, promiscuity, communal living, or excessive divorce. Marriage produces the foundation for the Family. The man is the protector and provider for the family.
The Soul and sexual relationship. “Therefore shall leave (Azab) means when the children marry, they must leave the jurisdiction of the parents and establish themselves as an separate entity. When a man and a woman unite they are no longer dependant upon their parents; the man must assume the responsibility of the woman and care for her, soul, her physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The parents relinquish their authority over the children; and from here on in the children must be allowed to make their own decisions, right and wrong. The man is to protect her soul, her body and spirit for the rest of his life and that is an awesome responsibility. This helps produce good sexual harmony in the marriage. The way he treats her will affect their sexual relationship. The relationship between parents and offspring can be affected by a bad relationship between two adults.
Genesis 4:1, “Now Adam knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” (Gen. 4:1) “God sets the solitary in families.” This is the safeguard and perpetuation of the human race. Parents existed before children. The newborn infant enters the world helpless; therefore there must be a means of protection until the child is able to provide for himself. The family unit offers love, security, material, needs and spiritual instruction, training, provision, protection, discipline and guidance all based on his parents love for him until he reaches the age of maturity-that time in life when he must take full responsibility for his own decisions and actions.
In addition to providing food, shelter and clothing it is the parents duty to instil in their children proper norms and standards, to teach him how to evaluate situations in life, to train them when to say “yes” and when to say “no” and to deposit into their soul principles of authority and self discipline. The parents have many responsibilities but the children only have one within the family unit, and that is respect for their parents, “ Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Once a child learns to obey his parents and comes to understand the principle of authority from them, he is then prepared to respect other authorities in life. It is for the Lord’s sake. “Honour your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live along life upon the earth” (Eph. 3:1-3). To honour means to have the right attitude. The child in the home is to be willingly under the authority of the parents with obedient submission to them as parents of the Lord placed over him, obeying parents as if obeying the Lord Himself. It is right, that is what God designed and what He required. When God gave His law in the Ten Commandments, the first law is governing human relationships (Ex.20:12). It is the only command of the ten relating to human family because that principle alone secures the families fulfilment.
“My son hear the instruction of your father, and do not,
forsake the law of your mother” (Proverbs 1:8).
“Hear my children, the instruction of a father,
and give attention to know understanding;
for I give you good doctrine: do not forsake my law.
When I was my fathers son,
tender and the only one in the sight of my mother,
he also taught me and said to me:
Let your heart retain my words;
keep my commandments and live” Prov. 4:1-4.
A boy first comes under the tutelage of hi smother. His consideration for her gives him the correct perspective so that when he grows up, he will exercise his authority without abusing his own wife. As a husband he is to show loving care for his wife. A child who does not respect his mother is disoriented not only to authority but to life in general. The father is the head of the home, and is to train the children to love their mother and not to be cheeky or abuse her. These things must be taught by example as well as instruction. Men need to be taught how to treat women properly. This will prevent sexual distortions or women’s liberation attitudes that are anti-men.
Parental authority is designed to overcome temper tantrums, and disobedient children. Exercising authority is not always pleasant for the recipient; in fact, it will sometimes be painful and even resented. But the ability to accept discipline under all conditions is the beginning of success in life (Heb. 12:11).
Parental guidance will develop the child’s capacity for life and curiosity and imagination. They will help them to understand the meaning of life life, how to deal with situations and problems. How to treat others, how to deal with hurt. Give them guidance regarding education, in romance, in honour, how to enjoy life, instruction in financial affairs and keeping their integrity.
Christian parents. They have the added responsibility of evangelising their children and instructing them from scripture (Deut. 6:6-9; 7:9). “Children obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord” (Col. 3:20).
“Children” (TEKON in Greek) does not connote age but, rather, a child in training. Many young people become rebellious in their teens toward the authority of their parents. This stems from normal physiological development which is preparing the child for eventual independence, but neither the child or the parents must sidestep the exercise of authority. As long as a child is living under his parents roof he is subject to them.
The parents life before the children. They should not gossip and malign others in the presence of their children. They should not belittle the police, the law, the pastor, the church, the schoolteacher, the leader of a group. They should live godly lives. God made divine provision for the structure of family and society.
Parents should be fair. You must hear what the child is saying and investigate if it is true. When you show them respect they are learning how to respect others.
“Obey” (hupakouo) means “to listen under authority of.” It commands respect for authority and consideration. It is in the interest of the child. The most maladjusted monsters in our society today are the youngsters whose parents who shirked the responsibility of training and disciplining their children. Parents must make an issue of obedience and train their children. This instils self-control, honesty, happiness instead of misery and frustration. Children must be made accountable for disobedience and should be corrected and disciplined. Lack of discipline shows up in their school life in their church life and when they are playing or interacting with other children. You must explain why a child is being disciplined and don’t keep changing the boundries, it will confuse them. The child must be taught how to enjoy life after they have been disciplined. They should not have to carry it for days or weeks, causing them to have a false sense of guilt.
The father is to control and direct his children in a loving, happy atmosphere. Fathers and mothers must not put their children above their partner. The child should not be given the priority in the home nor be permitted to take control of the home.
When it comes time for them to leave home they will be mature, happy, well adjusted to home, church life and society.