Our series is entitled, “Train Up A Child”. And we have been studying together from Gods Word and from the Spirit of Prophecy, the Principles of Christian Parenting. This presentation tonight is part 2 of the one we started this morning, entitled “Lead on Softly”. And we are considering together, parental roles. We considered this morning, how those roles are defined both Biblically and biologically, both by revelation and by nature.
The first evidence of our God-ordained roles in scriptures, is found in the curse pronounced upon the man and the woman. And as we studied that, we recognized that God had a special blessing in mind, because those curses were designed to foster special Christlike character traits in both the woman and the man. In the woman, a spirit of self-sacrifice and submission, pain in childbirth, her husband shall rule over her. In the man, spirit of courage and perseverance, endurance. Now both of those are beautiful Christlike sets of character traits. The more feminine and the more masculine. But either of them by themselves tend to be imbalanced don’t they?
So Gods purpose in marriage was for these to be joined together, to compliment each other and to make a whole, a balanced reflection of Jesus Christ. Who have the full compliment of character traits, that together, the man with the strong leadership, masculine virtues. The woman with the softer, self-sacrificing, submissive feminine virtues. Together they might lead on, how? Softly, lead on softly. Together they might model for their children, a beautiful likeness of Jesus Christ.
The text from which we’ve taken our title is Gen 33:14. And we’ve suggested that this slightly modified, would be a beautiful prayer for parents to pray daily. Verse 14 “Please let my Lord (not in this case, Esau, but our elder Brother, Jesus Christ) go on ahead before his servant. I will lead on softly at a pace which …..the children are able to endure, until I come to my Lord”
Mothers, wives, we’ve considered this morning, your special God-ordained role, and we noted particularly how you have the privilege, the responsibility of softening our leadership role as men. You have the special abilities to deal gently with our children, and God bless you in your efforts to do so.
Men, it is now our turn tonight. We need to consider from Gods Word what our role is in scripture. Before we proceed with our study however, lets make sure, brothers and sisters, that the Spirit of the Lord is guiding our minds. Supernaturally illuminating them and enabling us thereby to know the truth to the point of freedom. Shall we kneel?
Father in heaven, again we thank you for the privilege of coming together, for the purpose of studying Your Word and seeking to know Your will, that we might do it. But Father, we can neither know, nor will, nor do, Your good pleasure, except You supernaturally work in our behalf by the power of Your Spirit. Spiritually energize our faculties, the faculty of perception that we might know the truth. Spiritually energize our will, that we might accept it. And Spiritually energize our whole being, that we might do it. Oh Father, how we long to be good parents, that’s why we’re here. Bless us Father we pray, as we seek to study. Particularly bless us as fathers tonight, as we seek to know Your will regarding our role in our homes. Lord condescend I pray, to use this poor earthen vessel. It is amazing to me that You should give me this privilege, and I plead with You now, for the grace sufficient to fulfill the responsibility, in Jesus’ name I ask it. AMEN.
The fathers model is the everlasting Father. Isa 9:6 refers to Jesus, as “the everlasting Father.” Note the beautiful blend, men, in our example, between the leadership, the masculine virtues, and the softly, the feminine virtues. Turn with me to Isa 40:10. We have noted that Christ is the perfect balance of the masculine and the feminine virtues, He is the perfect blend. He is the model for both fathers and mothers. Isa 40:10 “Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule”, those are masculine virtues “His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.”
Now note the softly, the feminine side, verse 11 “He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those who are with young.” Isn’t that a beautiful blend? That same strong arm that RULES, is the arm that carries the lambs gently in His bosom. Brothers, that is our model. That is the everlasting Father, and may God help us to be such with our lambs.
The fathers role, is quite significantly defined in his very name, husband. HOUSEBAND, is actually the term that has been somewhat compressed into husband. Listen to this statement from AH 211 “The husband is the house-band of the home treasures, binding by his strong, earnest, devoted affection the members of the household, mother and children, together in the strongest bonds of union. His name, “house-band”, is the true definition of husband……..I saw that but few fathers realize their responsibility.” “I saw that but” what? “few fathers realize their responsibility”.
Oh brothers, let us do our best to realize our responsibility and then by God’s grace fulfill it. What are these responsibilities? What is involved in fulfilling our God-ordained role of father, of house-band? Much indeed is involved. May I give you just a brief outline, and then we will together consider some of these points. The father is head of the household, is to be for the family
(1)Provider, protector, supporter;
(2) representative of the divine law giver;
(3) instructor and co-educator of his children;
(4) spiritual leader and priest.
Those are the four categories that I would like to consider with you tonight, from scripture and from spirit of prophecy. Provider, protector, supporter, representative of the divine law giver, instructor and co-educator of his children, and spiritual leader and priest, of the family.
First of all, provider, protector, supporter. House-band implies this doesn’t it? He is the one that supports the family unit. He provides, he is the bread winner. He is the one that has been given by God, greater strength than the woman, who is according to scripture, which refers to women as “the weaker vessel” (1 Peter 3:7). And that greater strength is to be used to go out and by the sweat of his brow, against the opposition that the curse has brought, bring bread home to the family. He is to protect his family as well. This too is evidenced in his larger structure. He is the protector.
He is also the spiritual protector of his family. Noah, is a very significant example of this. Heb 11:7 “By faith, Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his HOUSEHOLD, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” What is this ark, men? It is a home founded upon and built up in Christ. And we as the spiritual protectors of our households, must build a spiritual ark in which our family can be saved from the destruction that lies ahead. Not this time by water, but by fire.
The husband in a special sense is the supporter of the wife. Eph 5:25, spells this out so clearly. And this brothers, has very much to do with child training, very much to do with child training. Eph 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it.” You see in the marriage relationship, the husband typifies Christ. He is the counterpart of Christ. And the wife typifies the church. Husbands, the way we relate to, and treat our wives, is being constantly observed by our children. What are we thus telling them, about the character of Christ, and the way Christ relates to His people? We need to ask ourselves that question.
I submit that one of the best ways a man can rightly train up his children, rightly help them develop a Christlike character, is to rightly love their mother. Model for them the beautiful loving authority of Jesus Christ. Men, how we exercise our authority in the home is making indelible impressions upon the hearts of our children, that will directly and dramatically effect the way that they relate to all authority, thereafter. What are we telling them about authority? We must fathers, by exercising our authority in a Christlike way, teach our children that authority is good, and to submit to it, brings blessings. Is that indeed what we’re saying by the way we relate, particularly to our wives? By the way we exercise our God-ordained authority?
I read from AH 215 “The Lord has constituted the husband the head of the wife to be her protector; he is the house-band of the family, binding the members together, even as Christ is the head of the church and the Saviour of the mystical body. Let every husband who claims to love God carefully study the requirements of God in his position. Christ’s authority is exercised in wisdom, in all kindness and gentleness; so let the husband exercise his power and imitate the great Head of the church.” Husbands, we must love our wives, just as Christ also loved the church. Only thus can we retain her love and respect. And only thus can we cultivate love and respect for authority in the hearts of our children.
I read from AH again page 228 “If the husband is tyrannical, exacting, critical of the actions of his wife, he cannot hold her respect and affection, and the marriage relation will become odious to her. She will not love her husband, because he does not try to make himself loveable. Husbands should be careful, attentive, constant, faithful, and compassionate. They should manifest love and sympathy….When the husband has the nobility of character, purity of heart, elevation of mind, that every true Christian must possess, it will be made manifest in the marriage relation…..He will seek to keep his wife in health and courage. He will strive to speak words of comfort, to create an atmosphere of peace in the home circle.” Brothers, that’s what it means to be house-band.
Our God-ordained position as head of the house, is not for the sake of exercising tyrannical, arbitrary authority. It is for the sake of manifesting a Christlike character, and protecting, and providing and supporting. And showing our children that God’s authority is good. And that submission to it brings rich blessings.
The fathers role as supporter of wife and mother, is especially crucial during those demanding and taxing years when the children are young, and when she, by virtue of her position, carries the bulk of the burden. I read from ST Dec 20, 1877 “True, the chief care and burden rests upon the mother during the first years of her children’s lives, yet even then the father should be her stay and counsel, encouraging her to lean upon his large affections, and assisting her as much as possible.” Assisting her how, brothers? “as much as possible”.
You see brothers, when we offer such support to our wives, we can make their burden much, much lighter. In fact, listen to these words. AH 216 “Let the wife feel that she can lean upon the large affections of her husband—that his arms will strengthen and uphold her through all her toils and cares, that his influence will sustain hers—and her burden will lose HALF its weight. Are the children not HIS as well as HERS?” “Her burden will lose half its weight,” brothers. Not only are we to assist and support emotionally and lending our influence, but I submit that we should look for ways to assist and support in very practical and very nitty gritty terms as well. Perhaps getting out the vacuum cleaner, washing the dishes, baby sitting for awhile, so that she can get out for a breather.
Another way that we must learn to support our wives brothers, is to recognize that their job is often a thankless one, and there is never really an end in sight. Because once they accomplish the given responsibilities of a day, they’re all right back again to do tomorrow. Do you ever get all through with the laundry, dear mothers? Do you ever get all through with the work in the kitchen, the dishes. No, it just keeps coming back, over and over, and over again. Fathers, lets not take such labor for granted, lets recognize it and appreciate it. And I submit that we can make it a good deal less tedious.
AH 217 “Domestic duties are sacred and important; (SACRED AND IMPORTANT), yet they are often attended by a weary monotony.” Can you say AMEN to that ladies? I hope that you can say AMEN to the fact that “domestic duties are sacred and important”, as well. Don’t loose sight of that please. Reading on “The countless cares and perplexities become irritating without the variety of change and cheerful relaxation which the husband and father frequently has . . . in his power to grant her if he chose—or rather if he thought it necessary or desirable to do so. The life of a mother in the humbler walks of life is one of unceasing self-sacrifice, made harder if the husband fails to appreciate the difficulties of her position and to give her his support.”
Brothers, we can make her burden half as light or we can make it twice as heavy. And remember, we are modeling for our children, the way Christ exercises His authority over His people, His bride. Is the way we relate to our wives going to encourage them to submit to the Lordship of Christ, when they grow up and understand such things? Oh I pray that it will.
The second job description on the fathers list. The fathers role, as the one who, in love, rule his household, is to be the representative of the divine Lawgiver. The representative of the divine Lawgiver. Scripture speaks of this in 1 Tim 3:4. In reference to a man who is an appropriate candidate for the position of bishop, or elder, this is one of the qualifications. 1 Tim 3:4 “One who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence.” AH 212 “The father represents the divine Lawgiver in his family.” “The father represents the DIVINE LAWGIVER, in his family”, and as such he’s to “rule his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence”
Brothers, the only way that we can have our children “in submission with all reverence”, is to RULE with LOVE. Only then will our children be “in submission with all reverence.” And BEFORE we can rightly rule our household, we MUST learn to rightly rule our own heart. It is absolutely impossible brothers, to rightly exercise rightly in our homes, without learning how to exercise authority in our own hearts.
I read from AH 213 “The father is to stand at the head of his family, not as an overgrown, undisciplined boy, but as a man with manly character and with his passions controlled. He is to obtain an education in correct morals. His conduct in his home life is to be directed and restrained by the pure principles of the Word of God.” Only such a man can rule his household well, and have his children in submission in all reverence.
Oh here’s a sad statement fathers, but we must hear it. ST Dec 20, 1877 “Few fathers are fitted for the responsibility of training their children. They, themselves, need strict discipline that they may learn self-control, forbearance, and sympathy. Until they posses these attributes, they are not capable of properly teaching their children.” May God help us to acquire these attributes, especially the attributes of self-control.
AH 213 “Never, NEVER are you to show a tyrannical spirit in the home. The man who does this is working in partnership with satanic agencies. Bring your will into submission to the will of God.” And brothers as we do that, as we bring our will “into the submission of will of God”, as we submit ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, THEN our wives and our children will be able to safely submit to our authority, and be blessed therein. No man will exercise tyrannical control, but EVERY GODLY man will be in control. Please don’t throw the baby out with the bath water brothers. We are not to exercise tyrannical control. And tyrannical control is what we invariably will exercise if we don’t have self-control.
Let me explain something just briefly. Man was created in the image of God, to have dominion. That is a God-given attribute of his nature, and he has a need to sense that he is in control, that he has dominion. If he doesn’t find satisfaction for that need in self-control, he has to make up for it by forcing control on others. But such control will invariably be tyrannical, because ALL control, except that under God, is of the Devil. It is only man as we stand under the authority of Jesus Christ, and KNOW HIM as OUR LORD, that we can exercise loving authority in our home, it is only that way. We must exercise loving authority in our home. Abraham is commended by God for this very fact, isn’t he?
Turn with me to Gen 18:19 “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.” How did God know that Abraham would command his children and his household after him? Because Abraham himself was fully submitted to the authority of God, and he rendered loving obedience. And God knowing Abrahams heart, knew that the authority he exercised in his heart, he would exercise in his home. That’s why God knew.
MH 390, 391 “The father is the lawgiver of the household; and, like Abraham, he should make the law of God the rule of his home. God said of Abraham, “I know him, that he will command his children and his household.” Genesis 18:19. There would be no sinful neglect to restrain evil, no weak, unwise, indulgent favoritism; no yielding of his conviction of duty to the claims of mistaken affection. Abraham would not only give right instruction, but he would maintain the authority of just and righteous laws……Kindly, but firmly (lead on how? softly), with persevering, prayerful effort, their wrong desires should be restrained, their inclinations denied…..But fathers, do not discourage your children. Combine affection with authority, kindness and sympathy with firm restraint.” Lead on, softly.
We can only do this brothers as we follow our leader, “the one who with His strong arm, picks up gently the young lamb and holds him to His bosom.” Only as we follow His lead can we exercise such authority in our own home.
The third on our job description list, Instructor. Instructor, and co-educator. You see as representative, brothers, of the divine Lawgiver, the father is to be a faithful and authoritative instructor. Manuscript 126, 1903 “The husband is to be the houseband, the priest of the family. Like Abraham he is to be a faithful instructor of his household, and he is to cherish and respect the mother as the guide and educator of their children.” Did you hear that? What’s the father? He’s the instructor. What’s the mother? She’s the educator. What’s the difference between an instructor and an educator?
Let’s work on definitions.
Instructor. An instructor is a teacher, one who instructs in the principles of God’s Word. Who shares truth by precept and example.
An educator, is one who develops the knowledge, skill or character of the student, by training them to apply truths, and practice principle.
Do you see the blend there brothers and sisters? The husband is the instructor, the wife is the educator.
Note the fathers role as instructor in Isa 38:19 “The living, the living man, he shall praise You, as I do this day; the father shall make known Your truth to the children.” That’s our responsibilities, fathers. That’s what it means to be an instructor. We are to make known God’s truth to our children.
I read from AH 212, “The father represents the divine Lawgiver in his family. He is a laborer together with God, carrying out the gracious designs of God and establishing in his children upright principles, enabling them to form pure and virtuous characters, because he has preoccupied the soul with that which will enable his children to render obedience not only to their earthly parent but also to their heavenly Father. The father must not betray his sacred trust. He must not, on any point, yield up his parental authority.”
What is he to do, did you note that? He is to establish “in his children upright principles”. This is the truth that we are to teach our children, brothers. And then it is the mothers special privilege and responsibility to help the children to apply those truths, on a practical everyday basis, bring them into practice. That’s what it means to be an educator.
As we instruct though, we must see to it by a right exercise of our authority, that our instructions are obeyed. This is so important, brothers. Eli’s example is a very dramatic warning in this regard, isn’t it? Turn with me to 1 Sam 3:13 “For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he KNOWS, because his sons made themselves vile, and he he did not restrain them.” He restrained them not.
You see, fathers, if we only instruct, we have not fulfilled our responsibility. We are to instruct with authority, and see to it that our instructions are obeyed. This is especially important for children to recognize, that authority MUST be obeyed. And the way we teach them to relate to authority, is going to affect the way they relate to authority through the rest of their life. What does the 5th commandment say? “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long.
The 5th commandment deals with the crucial aspect of learning to respect authority. Now are father and mother the only authority figures in the child’s life? Oh no, but they are the first one’s aren’t they? And if a child learns to honor authority in the home, he will be equipped to honor authority outside the home. You show me a child who is in rebellion against authority outside the home and I will show you one who has never learned to honor authority in the home.
ST NOV 10, 1881 “The sin of rebellion against parental authority, lies at the very foundation of the misery and crime in the world to-day.” Oh fathers, let’s not make Eli’s mistake, the consequences are devastating. Not only for our children, but for ourselves. ST NOV 10, 1881, “Eli was acquainted with the divine will. He knew what characters God could accept, and what he would condemn. Yet he suffered his children to grow up with unbridled passions, perverted appetites, and corrupt morals.”
Where did Eli fail? Did he fail to instruct? No. Did he fail to be a good example? No. Where did he fail? Listen. (ST Nov 10, 1881) “Eli had instructed his children in the law of God, and had given them a good example in his own life; but THIS WAS NOT HIS WHOLE DUTY. God required him, both as a father and as a priest, to restrain them form following their own perverse will. This he had failed to do.”
PP 728 “When parents….neglect the duty of punishing iniquity, God Himself will take the case in hand. His restraining power will be in a measure removed from the agencies of evil, so that a train of circumstances will arise which will punish sin with sin.” Oh brothers, do you hear that? Look at Eli’s sons. Because HE did not restrain evil, God took things into His hands, and how did He punish them? “His restraining power will be in a measure removed from the agencies of evil, so that a train of circumstances will arise which will punish sin with sin.”
Sin brings about its own punishment, doesn’t it? “The wages of sin is Death”. Fathers what we must do is help children recognize that fact before it is eternally to late. By punishing and restraining when necessary. If we don’t, sin will take care of the punishing, won’t it?
R&H May 4, 1886 “Eli was a believer in God and in His Word; but he did not, like Abraham, ‘command’ his children and his household after him. Let us hear what God says about Eli’s neglect: ‘Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.’ The Lord had borne long with Eli. He had been warned and instructed; but, like the parents of to-day, he had not heeded the warning. But when the Lord took hold of the case, he ceased not till he had made thorough work.” And indeed it was a thorough work, wasn’t it?
Oh fathers, exercise rightly your God-ordained authority for the sake of your children. As an authoritative instructor, make sure that your instructions are obeyed. We are co-educators as well fathers. We are not to consider our job entirely done, just by sharing principles with our children. We are to work with our wives, their mothers, in seeing to it that those principles are applied.
Manuscript 12, 1898 “He [the father], is to make it the great burden of his life, to establish right principles, by teaching his children habits of obedience, by asserting his authority in the home life, he can educate them to yield obedience to their heavenly Father.” Do you see how he’s co-educator? He exercises his authority, his God-ordained authority, to see to it that the right principles and precepts that he has instructed his children in are carried out. Thus we are co-educators, with our wives.
The 4th on the job description list brothers, is perhaps the most important. And that is spiritual leader, and priest of our household. We are to take the lead in spiritual things. And by bands of love, wrapped about our family, we are to bring our family with us in spiritual matters. This is beautifully exemplified in Joshua. Remember his words? Joshua 24:15. Oh this is a challenge to me as a spiritual leader of my house. Listen to the way Joshua speaks. Listen for WHOM he speaks. “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, CHOOSE FOR YOURSELVES THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE.” And the end of the verse, what does it say? ” But as for ME and AND MY HOUSE, WE will serve the Lord.”
Brothers, THAT is a spiritual leader. That is a priest. He has so intimately bound his family with him with cords of love, that he can speak for them, in this vital spiritual decision. “As for ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.” Oh may God help us to be such for our families.
Manuscript 42, 1903 “The father is the priest of the family. The souls of his wife and his children, as Gods property, should be to him of the highest value, and he should faithfully guide the formation of their characters. The care of his children from their infancy, should be his first consideration. For it is for their present and eternal good, that they develop right characters. He should carefully weigh his words and actions, considering their influence and the results they may produce.”
Fathers, one of the primary responsibilities, and we can’t speak exhaustively on the responsibilities that we have as priests. But one of the primary responsibilities is family worship. And I feel so STRONGLY in this matter. Please consider this with me.
Deut 31:12, is I believe is a scriptural mandate to us fathers, to lead out in family worship. “Gather the people together, men and women and little ones, and the stranger who is within your gates, that they may hear and that they may learn to fear the Lord your God and carefully observe all the words of this law”. Fathers, this is our responsibility, WE are to gather our family together, that they may both hear and learn to “fear God, and carefully observe all the words of this law”. In spite of the clear scriptural mandate, there are so many who fail in this vitally important role.
I read from 7T 42,43 “If ever there was a time when every house should be a house of prayer, it is now….And yet, in this time of fearful peril, some who profess to be Christians have NO FAMILY WORSHIP. They DO NOT HONOR GOD IN THE HOME; they do not teach their children to love and fear Him”.
What are the factors that often crowd out family worship? I would suggest that there are 3.
1) lack of time
2) lack of interest
3) guilt and alienation do to unresolved family problems
Top on the list is usually lack of time, supposedly. Next comes lack of interest. And then quite frequently guilt and alienation do to unresolved family problems. Lets consider these just briefly.
Lack of time. I submit that lack of time is NOT REALLY the problem. The problem is wrong priorities. Brothers, we always manage to work into our daily schedules those things that are of crucial importance us don’t we? And by the way, if there is ANY TIME spent with television, please understand that your claim of not enough time for worship, is simply UNTRUE.
I get so distraught with the Devils success through television, I’m trying to resist addressing that now. Oh brothers and sisters, we need to worship at the alter of Jesus Christ, NOT at the alter of Satan, on a REGULAR basis. Priorities, we MUST establish priorities. If we make worship the priority that it should be, and that’s #1, we WILL find time for it, we will MAKE time for it. When should we work it in? It should be worked in systematically, regularly, and every morning and evening.
Manuscript 12, 1898 “Morning and evening worship should be considered of the FIRST importance in the family.” Priority number what? Number one. “Morning and evening worship should be considered of the FIRST importance in the family”. Again Manuscript 12, 1898, “Family worship should not be governed by circumstances, you are not to pray occasionally, and when you have a large days work to do, neglect it. In thus doing you lead your children to look upon pray as of no special consequence. Prayer means very much to the children of God and thank offerings should come up before God morning and evening.”
You see brothers, if we allow worship time to come a victim of circumstances, what are we telling our children? That it’s optional. That it’s real nice, yes, but if other things come in and crowd it out, then we can get along without it. Can we afford to teach them such a lesson? We cannot, we cannot.
I have found, from personal experience, that the best way to protect time for worship, from getting crowded out, due to circumstances, is to have worship in the morning, BEFORE breakfast. Before breakfast. And I think that that is a very significant lesson to our children as well. We need to let them know that there are things more important than physical food. We cannot possibly begin a day SAFELY, unless we have FIRST fed ourselves SPIRITUALLY. THEN physically. Of ULTIMATE priority is the bread of life.
7T 43 “In every family there should be a fixed time for morning and evening worship. How appropriate it is for parents to gather their children about them before the fast is broken [breakfast] to thank the heavenly Father for His protection during the night, and to ask Him for His help and guidance and watchcare during the day! How fitting, also, when evening comes, for parents and children to gather once more before Him and thank Him for the blessings of the day that is past!”
Our practice in our home, is before breakfast, and just before the kids go off to bed at night. After the baths are taken, everyone is scrubbed, and tubbed, and in their pajamas, we have a special intimate time together as a family.
Oftentimes fathers, we have to be absent. This whole week my family is having family worship without me. But they are still having family worship, why? Because the mother has stepped in, bless her heart, my precious wife, Melissa, and is leading out in my absence.
7T 43 “The father, or, in his absence, the mother, should conduct the worship, selecting a portion of Scripture that is interesting and easily understood. The service should be short.”
This takes us to the second reason that many families fail to have regular family worship– lack of interest. Note from the statement we just read the counsel regarding how family worship should be conducted–counsel that if heeded will go a long way in making worship an interesting experience for the whole family, even the younger ones. “The father, or, in his absence, the mother, should conduct the worship, selecting a portion of Scripture that is interesting and easily understood. The service should be short.”
In other words this is not to be a long drawn out affair. Where children are forced to sit and listen to something they can’t even understand let alone get interested in. Keep it interesting, understandable, short and sweet, and it will be an enjoyable, special and significant time, with your children before the Lord.
Parents, if we would give some thought to this time, I submit that it could be the high-point of the day, for our children. In fact, indeed, it must come to be such. Again, 7T 43 “Fathers and mothers, make the hour of worship intensely interesting. There is no reason why this hour should not be the most pleasant and enjoyable of the day. A little thought given to preparation for it will enable you to make it full of interest and profit. From time to time let the service be varied. Questions may be asked on the portion of Scripture read, and a few earnest, timely remarks may be made.”
We’ve tried something just recently, that we found interesting, and fun for variety. I have asked the boys to prepare something special, for worship. They’re ages 8 and 5, and they just LOVE to do that. They prepare a whole program, complete with a little skit, and the recitation of memory verses, and singing songs. Stevie is learning how to play the piano, Ryan sings some sacred songs with him, and it’s just a delightful time. Give it some thought and it can be a very special and meaningful experience.
Fathers, oftentimes, lack of interest is just due to lack of involvement on our part. Let’s don’t make lack of interest an excuse for not having family worship. Let’s give it some special thought.
The third reason that we suggested that family worship is often preempted, is that there is guilt and alienation in the family. But dear brothers, and dear sisters, I submit that family worship is the time to make things right, it’s the time for healing. If there is alienation, don’t miss family worship, come together and make it right. Confess to each other and to the Lord, and be healed on a regular basis. Never let the sun go down on an alienation in the family. Get it cleared up and you as priest, father, are to initiate the process of making things right.
2T 701 “The father is in one sense the priest of the household, laying upon the altar of God the morning and evening sacrifice. The wife and children should be encouraged to unite in this offering and also to engage in the song of praise. Morning and evening the father, as priest of the household, should confess to God the sins committed by himself and his children through the day. Those sins which have come to his knowledge, and also those which are secret, of which God’s eye alone has taken cognizance, should be confessed. This rule of action, zealously carried out by the father when he is present, or by the mother when he is absent, will result in blessings to the family.” Make family worship a time to make things right, with each other and with God.
Fathers, our role is awesome, the responsibilities are great indeed. No man is sufficient to it. But God’s grace is sufficient. Trust Him, in His strength, obey Him. Follow His lead, that you might lead on softly, until you come with your children to your Lord. Fathers, on that day, your elder brother will have a question for you. He will say, WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN, I ENTRUSTED TO YOU? My prayer for myself and for you is that we might be able to answer as Jacob did when Esau (Gen 33:5) “…lifted his eyes and saw the women and children, and said, ‘Who are these with you?’ and he said, ‘The children whom God has graciously given your servant.” Shall we pray?
Father in heaven, teach us as fathers, to lead on softly, with our strong arms to pick up our lamps, and to carry them to the kingdom. This is our prayer, in Jesus’ name. AMEN.