By Andy Alexander
The Messiah who was to enter the world and bruise the head of Satan was to come through the seed of woman (Gen. 3:15). Genesis 12 teaches that this seed was to come from the family of a man by the name of Abram, whose name was later changed to Abraham (Gen. 12: I -3). But, of all the people on the face of the earth, why did God choose Abraham? God does not leave us to wonder about this question. He states concerning Abraham, “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” (Gen. 18:19).
Abraham was chosen by God because of his character. He was not chosen because he was sinless or would live a sinless life after being chosen, but because he was the type of individual who would want to please God and raise his family with that same desire. We want to look at this verse concerning Abraham’s character and notice some qualities that all fathers would do well to emulate in their life.
Abraham was an authoritative leader of his family. “He will command his children and his household after him” is a statement which illustrates this quality. Abraham was obviously not afraid of his children. Instead of letting his children and household dictate the rules, he commanded them! How different from the average household of today. Some fathers in today’s society seem to be intimidated by their sons and daughters. They are unsure of themselves and their authority; therefore, they make poor leaders and poor role models for their children.
Fathers, we are commanded by God to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). Our children are not to be left alone to raise themselves. They are not to be taught by the television set and disciplined by the school principal or local police. Their mother is not to be burdened with this job alone, but fathers are to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. An early start in life is one of the main keys to success in this job.
Secondly, Abraham was not a hypocrite. He commanded his family “after him.” In other words he set the proper example before them and then commanded them to follow. It is difficult, though not impossible, to follow orders from someone who will not live the life he teaches you to lead. One of the problems that our nation’s military is grappling with today is following a commander-in-chief who would not practice the things he may command others to do. The same is true in a household: children and wives have difficulty obeying fathers who will not practice the things they teach.
Fathers are not to provoke their children to anger and one of the surest ways of provoking them is to command them to refrain from some behavior that you are not refraining from yourself (Eph. 6:4). Teaching our children not to use tobacco while we continue to use it and make excuses for not quitting sends a contradictory message. Commanding them not to curse while continuing to curse and excusing ourselves because it is a habit that we just cannot seem to control is another mixed signal. Usually the child accepts the idea that it is really not that important and when the opportunity presents itself; the child experiments with various forms of vice. These are just a couple of examples. Many more could be added, but we can easily understand that children can see through our hypocritical commands.
A third characteristic of Abraham was that he commanded his children and his household to “keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.” He commanded them in the right way, the only way. Some parents today seem to care little if their children depart from the faith. They bring them up in a haphazard manner allowing them to choose their own friends and when they reach dating age they allow them to date any and every-body that comes along. These parents give their children little or no guidance during their early years. Later, when these children fall away from the Lord, the parents lament the fact that they did not spend more time raising their children properly.
Abraham chose his son’s wife. Our customs differ somewhat from those of Abraham’s day, but parents today can have a much greater impact on their children’s future if they would just spend the time necessary to effectively do the job.
Fathers need to be more involved with their children and their children’s friends early in their life. There are times when a father needs to say to his child that he or she cannot date a certain person. This should be done very early in the relationship before a bond is formed between the two who are dating. Parents must also have earned their children’s trust through the years so that when decisions like this must be made, the child will trust their parent’s judgment even when they do not see the same danger their parents see.
Abraham was a man of good character and chosen by God as the man through whom the seed would come to bless all nations. He is an excellent role model for fathers today. He trusted God and led his family in his precepts. Families today need men like Abraham to lead them in “the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.”
Guardian of Truth XXXVII, No. 23, p. 20
December 2, 1993