The Home As God Ordained It (1)
Charleston, West Virginia
Someone has said that the sweetest words in all the English language is: Mother, Home and Heaven. The word of God gives us some instruction in relation to all three of these, and we would be interested in all that God has revealed concerning them. But I would like for us to focus our attention particularly upon these things that pertain to the home.
The home is the oldest divine institution in the world. It is older than the church; it is older than the state! God ordained the home when he created Adam and Eve, and joined them together as husband and wife, in the garden of Eden (Gen. 2:22-24). Even in the process of bringing this divine institition into existence, God laid down some principles by which it is to be regulated. Notice: "And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him" (Gen. 2:18). It was not good for the man to be alone in the beginning, and that principle is still true today. Therefore God sanctioned the marriage relationship through his word in this dispensation when he said, "Marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled; but whore mongers and adulterers God will judge" (Heb. 13:4). Also in Genesis 2:18, God said that he created woman to be a "help meet" for man. That is, she was to be a "help suitable" for man. This clearly implies that God gave the husband the responsibility to provide for, and to support his family, while the wife "helps" him by keeping the home. "I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully" (1 Tim. 5:14). Paul instructed the aged women to "teach the young women. . . to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Tit. 2:3-5).
These principles are basic, both for the welfare and happiness of the home, for the church, and for society in general. Whenever these basic principles are ignored the home suffers and a substantial contribution is made toward a down-fall of our society. One of the definitions of home, according to the dictionary is: "the members of a family together, considered as a unit society." Ignoring these principles is a fundamental cause of the condition that exists in our society today. When mothers leave home and children to go out and get a job to make more money (when such is not really necessary), they are violating God's law for the home. The basic factor in producing juvenile delinquency, law-breaking, looting, drunkenness, unwed motherhood, and many other problems, is not economic or biological. The main factor that produces these things is parental neglect. Parents have a responsibility to train, discipline, and control their children, even after they reach their teenage years. Where this is lacking, children grow up without respect for their parents, and for law and order. The principle of "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Gal. 6:7), is true in the home life as it is in other phases of life. The Lord has said, "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame" (Prov. 29:15). How true this is!
Not only has the mother's leaving the sacred precinct of the home to seek more financial independence contributed to the moral break-down of society, but it has substantially contributed to the lack of spirituality and respect for the church, on the part of their children. When the mother works outside of the home there is but little or no time for spiritual devotion, reading and studying the Bible, praying with the children, and helping them get their Bible class lessons. Women may be par excellent in their chosen occupation outside of the home; but the greatest work that any woman can ever do in this world, is to become a wife and a mother. This is the work God assigned to her. Her greatest ambition should be to tutor and train her children and to prepare their soul for eternity. This is the greatest work that any woman does!
Much is being said these days about reforming home. The wise man Solomon said, "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people" (Prov. 14:34). There can be no great reforms in society without reforming the homes of this nation. And this never can be accomplished until people recognize and respect God's law for the home. God's law for the home requires the husband to be the head of the family. This means that he is the head of his wife, and she is to be in subjection to him in all things, "as it is fit in the Lord" (Col. 3:18). Wives should be careful to respect and obey their husbands, for they cannot obey the Lord without obeying their husband. For the Lord teaches, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord" (Eph. 5:22). And again, "Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything" (Eph. 5:24). The reason why the wife must be in subjection to her husband is given by inspiration. "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the savior of the body" (Eph. 5:23). Disrespect for God's instructions here has resulted in many divorces and broken homes, with innocent children having to suffer the consequences. No home can be what God would have it be, when his instructions are not carried out.
The husbands have corresponding responsibility to their wives. Listen: "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it" (Eph. 5:25). This emphasizes the depth of the love and respect, the husband is to have for his wife. Christ loved the church so much he "gave himself for it." Even so, must the husband love his wife. Loving his wife even as himself, he will furnish his wife with the necessities, comforts, and maintenance of the home, so far as is in his power. The wife in turn will receive these things from her husband in gratitude of heart, and use them in the proper way. The husband must have the most tender regard, and unselfish love, "giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered" (1 Pet. 3:7). This implies that the husband and wife are to pray together as they make their home what God would have it be.
With such love and tender regard existing between husband and wife, and both striving together to accomplish God's purpose in their lives, there can be no alienation, no separation! With such love how easy it is for them to live together harmoniously, and her to be in subjection to him as her head! Yes, it is the duty of the wife to respect and honor her husband as her head; but it is also the duty of the husband to be worthy of her honor and respect.
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 22, pp. 681-682