E. Teach the Bible in the mornings.
Deuteronomy 6 exhorts parents to teach their children the commandments of God “when you rise up” (Dt 6:7). The morning is a precious time for Bible reading as children sit and eat their breakfast. Parents who start the day with their children around a feast of the word of God are giving them spiritual nutrition for the remainder of the day. Before the family launches into a world of unbelievers, the morning is a time to remind the children that their house stands for God. It is a time to remind the children of the stand that Joshua proclaimed before the nation of Israel.
And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve, whether the gods that your fathers served on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites in which land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Ja 24:15).
F. Teach the word as a way of life.
In reference to the commandments of God, Moses mandated,
And you will bind them for a sign on your hand, and they will be as frontlets between your eyes. And you will write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (Dt 6:8,9).
The phrase, “God Bless This House,” has been committed to countless designs and signs. It is a statement that reminds everyone who steps foot in one’s house that the house is a place where God is and His word is studied. The blessed house is one where everyone who resides is reminded that a stand has been taken for God.
The word of God must always be before our eyes. It must be written on our doorposts so that everyone approaching our house will know that our house is dedicated to God. We must never forget that the devil makes good friends of parents in order to reach their children. Therefore, if we seek to rear up our children in the way that they should go when they leave the home, then we need to make sure that we are going in the direction we would have our children go. The Christian home is a launching pad from which godly people are launched into society. If we are disgusted with what we see in society, then we must remember that what we experience in society is the result of dysfunctional citizens that were produced in the home.
Many years ago on a Kansas farm, our mother always instructed us to be prepared in the home just in case Jesus showed up. She would say that we should always suppose that Jesus was coming to our house to spend a couple days, or maybe just come over and watch the ball game on TV. If He were going to spend the night, she stated that we would most assuredly give Him the best room in the house to sleep. And if He were to sleep in our bedroom, she asked what posters we would tear down from our bedroom walls.
Upon His appearing at our front door, we would probably disguise our apprehension about having Him in our home by reassuring Him that we were happy to have Him in our company. When we first saw Him coming up to our door, we would probably rush around, possibly clearing some nasty magazines from the table, maybe hiding the beer and whisky. Would we hurriedly search for the Bible, dusting it off, and placing it in the middle of the coffee table in the front room? If we had time, we might even change our clothes into something morally descent. And then we would probably extract from the cassette player our worldly songs and put in the song, “Amazing Grace.”
Our mother’s point was that if Jesus were to come to our house to spend a couple days, would our life carry on as usual, or would we make some serious changes? Would we change our speech? If our house is dedicated to the Lord, then there should be no change if Jesus came to visit us. The challenge of being a disciple of Jesus means that we conduct the affairs of our house in a manner that there should be no change of affairs in our lives if Jesus were to knock at our door.
Leo Tolstoy once said, “All happy families are alike, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Bringing up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord is a difficult task, especially in these times when sin is so commonly accepted as a way of life (Pv 22:6). Teaching children to honor their father and mother takes a great deal of nurturing (See Ex 20:17). Teaching children to be receptive to the instructions of the Lord takes a life of parental example and teaching (See Pv 1:8). And teaching children to be obedient unto the Lord demands a strong committed example of Christian living on the part of the parents (See Ep 6:1-3). And sometimes it is still as Don Marquis said, “I would rather start a family than finish one.”
[Next lecture: September 18]