By Vestal Chaffin
According to statistics about one out of every three marriages in this country ends in divorce. If God’s law for the home were observed and respected today, surely it would indeed be a balm for our nation. I am thoroughly convinced that the homes are at the very tap root of many of our problems as a nation. God intended that marriage should be “until death do us part,” Jesus said, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6). When God’s law for this divine relationship is flouted and trampled under foot, we can expect nothing but a harvest corresponding to the seed that we sow. Can our nation and our society long survive under these conditions? When Edward Gibbon the famous historian, wrote about the fall of the great Roman Empire fie attributed five things to the citizens of that empire, that contributed to its down fall. The very first thing he attributed to them was the “Rapid increase of divorce, with the undermining of the sanctity of the home, which is the basis of society.” Wake up America!
In the first few verses of Judges 2, we are left with the impression that Joshua had a tremendous influence for good upon the children of Israel. Verse 7 of that same chapter says, “And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord., that he did for Israel.” The next verse tells about the death of Joshua, and then in verse 10, the record says: “And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them which knew no the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.” This is the very seat of our problem in America today. Another generation has arisen that does not know the Lord! God has foretold the doom of those who forget him. “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psa. 9:17).
Where is there a better place to begin reforming the homes of this nation than with members of the Lord’s church? The home is the place where children receive their earliest and most enduring impressions. For this reason parents need to be so very careful of the kind of early impressions that we leave upon our children. In the home is the place where the character of children is molded and formed. Usually children become in life what parents make of them. Have you considered seriously the kind of impressions that are being made upon your children in the home life? We cannot have children who enjoy attending the services of the church, and living the life of a Christian, unless there are proper home conditions. Let us plead with you brethren and sisters in Christ, give all diligence to make your home what God would have it be. Set an example before the world in making your home a pillar of righteousness in your community.
The responsibilities of parents to their children are many and weighty! Parents should be an example to their children in all things. They should not engage in bad habits before their children, such as smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco, drinking alcoholic beverages, dancing, wearing scanty clothing, and many other things that are so prevalent in the lives of many so-called Christians today. How can a parent teach his children not to engage in these things if he engages in them? Not only should parents be examples to their children in not doing certain things, but they should set the example before them in doing right! They should set an example before their children in reading and studying the Bible. Every family should have a time set aside each day to read the Bible together, and pray together. Parents should set the example before their children in studying their Bible class lessons, and attending every service of the church.
Parents have the responsibility of teaching their children God’s Word. When God gave Israel the law of Moses, sealed by the blood of animals, he said, “And these words, which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shall talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deut. 6:6-7). Notice first, that these words were to be, not simply in a book, but “in thine heart.” God’s word must dwell in the heart of parents for them to be able to teach them effectively to their children! Second, the, were to teach them “diligently unto thy children.” They were not to teach carelessly, indifferently, but they were to teach them with painstaking. If God required such under the law sealed by the blood of animals, how much more does he require us to teach the spiritual and eternal law of God, sealed by the blood of his Son, unto our children? Thus we have the admonition, “And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). When we carry out God’s instructions as parents we will influence our children for good and they will follow God’s way.
To a great degree we are influenced to be what we are in character by the environment in which we are reared. Henry Drummond, once said: “Strength of character may be acquired at work, but beauty of character is learned at home. There the affections are trained. There the gentle life reaches us, the true heaven life. In one word, the family circle is the supreme conductor of Christianity.” Perhaps there is far more truth in these words than many have ever realized.
The Bible demonstrates the fact that as a child is taught at home, so will he be, to a great extent when he becomes a man. For example, we are told that Ahaziah, “Did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in the way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin” (1 Kgs. 22:52). Concerning Ahaziah, Matthew Henry says, “He walked n the way of the house of Ahab, that idolatrous bloody house; for his mother was Ahab’s daughter, so that he sucked in wickedness with his milk. The child may be expected to resemble the mother. When men choose wives for themselves they must remember they are choosing mothers for their children, and are concerned to choose accordingly” (Vol. 2, p. 753). In 2 Chronicles 22:3, we have this concerning Ahaziah, “He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab: for his mother was his counselor to do wickedly.” Truly, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”
Fathers and mothers should cease to be so permissive in the home; They should stop trusting in pseudo-psychology. Parents should stop seeking after man’s wisdom and “trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). Mothers, what are you instilling into your child’s life? Will it cause him/her to honor and reverence God and his word when they reach adulthood? Or are you planting the seed of eternal destruction in your child?
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 23, pp. 710-711
December 3, 1992