“For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” (Genesis 18:19)
In part one of this series, the general rule that governs the rearing of children by the parents was set forth in the physical and spiritual realms using Eph. 6:1-4 for the father’s responsibility, and Titus 2:4-5 for the mother’s responsibility. The primary focus for this second devotion in this series is more specific on the father’s role.
The first rule for the father, as highlighted in devotion one, is seen in the definitions of the two words: “nurture” and “admonition.” The father is responsible to be an example, in word and walk, before his children according to God’s instructions. He is to apply the wisdom of the Word of God to his children, not only by personal example, but also in his “teaching” and “Godly discipline” of God’s outline for the success of the children, both physically and spiritually.
Most people interpret the “rod,” spoken of in the book of Proverbs, as the physical application of a wooden paddle to be applied to the back side of the lower posterior of the child. However, I submit the “rod” is first a spiritual application of God’s instruction for the child. It is instruction given with the exhortation, rebuke, warning, and even mercy and forgiveness. All of this has the goal of educating the child in the Wisdom of God, and the results of obedience to the same.
There is a great difference between a father administering his own definition of the “rod” (as viewed by his own interest), and God’s definition of how to administer the “rod” for God’s glory and the future good of the child. Fathers must always remember that his children are the creation of God. Therefore, they belong to God, and have been entrusted to the father to raise them in the Ways of God; not only for the glory of God, and not only for the good of the child, but also to prove that the father is carrying out his position as the head of the family to the glory of God, which reveals that he is also a child of God in submission to God himself.
In an effort to narrow the general rule for the father to his children in the home setting; the following example of Abraham, and his personal walk and example to his family is presented.
(Gen 18:19) “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”
What a great statement from God concerning Abraham as a father to his children and his household. God said, “I know him”; there was no wavering in God’s belief in Abraham carrying out his duty, as the head of his family, as a father. The result in his children was a fact of the children’s future walk in the keeping of “the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment.” This must be every Christian father’s goal for his children; and that is for his children to “keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgement”
The key word in Gen. 18:19 concerning what Abraham did in order to assure the future success of his children is the word “command.” Here Moses, the human author of the Book of Genesis, reveals a great truth for your children’s future success in this life. What more could you, as a father, desire for your children than to “keep the way of the LORD” and “to do justice and judgment”? This is it; for there is nothing that a father should desire more for his children.
But the question is: How is the word “command” to be carried out on a daily basis? The answer lies in the father’s relationship to Jesus Christ. If the father has received Regeneration by the Holy Spirit of God; and if the father is a student of the Word of God, not only a student, but also one who is submitted to the Will of God, obedient to the Word of God, and determined to endure in carrying out the instructions of God for him and for him as the leader of the family being led of the Holy Spirit – then and only then will the father “command” his children in the ways of God. The father must be in love with God; and his utmost goal in life is to please God in every area of his life, especially in the leadership as the head of the family. Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” If a father loves Christ, then he will obey Christ in the “nurture” and “admonition” of his children according not to his own selfish desires; but for the glory of God according to God’s instruction; and not according to his ideas; and for the success of his children in the future.
Therefore, when a father does not carry out the instructions of God concerning his children; it only reveals that his commitment to Christ is deficient in being the “head” of the family – whether it be fear; or weakness in the understanding of his position as the head of the family; or whether he is in rebellion to God’s instruction for him as the head of the family, as a type of Christ as Head of the Church; or he is just being indifferent to it all.
This deficiency comes about because of:
- The lack of his desire to be led of the Holy Spirit; to live in the Spirit; and to walk in the Spirit;
- The lack of his desire to study the Word of God to know what he is do as the head;
- The lack of his constant prayer life;
- The lack of his confession that he needs God’s leadership and power to lead his family in peace and holiness; knowing that he is but flesh; and of his dependence upon his own way, or upon his own understanding;
- The lack of his desire to please Christ, which reveals his lack of love of Christ, and his lack of desire for Christ being the Head of his own life;
- The lack of his dependence upon the promises of Christ;
- The lack of his vision for the success of his children’s spiritual future, in place of his own selfish desires.
Finally in conclusion, and in summary of the “lack of” comments above, in order to “command” as Abraham did to his family and have the witness of God as Abraham did – the father MUST be a disciple of Christ; he must have Christ as the Head of his life; and he must have a spiritual understanding of his position as head of his family, and to see that his major responsibility to his children is to:
(Deut. 6:1-11) “(1) Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:
(2) That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.
(3) Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.
(4) Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
(5) And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
(6) And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
(7) And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
(8) And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
(9) And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”
Fathers, this is how you “command” your children!