Posted in Children, Christian Family Devotions, Parents, Prayer

The Heart of Home

Deuteronomy 5:29 “Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!”

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I left this scripture as the final thought of my first post dated Aug 13, 2012, and I begin with it this evening because it is the very heart of the ministry of home.  This, the very prayer of God, breathed with the same breath that gave us life, with the same voice that called all that is into existence, whispered across the ages for all who accepting find.  Our Creator, Father God intended the goodness that only He who is love could desire for His children in each of our lives.  But that holy goodness in a fallen world, does not perpetuate itself.  That perfect love for us can only be received by answering this prayer of God Almighty with a resounding, “I will” spoken not of empty words on unclean lips but proclaimed with silent action from the altar of the heart.  The heart that will, “be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!”

This prayer is unique in that not only is it God’s prayer for us, but it succinctly states His plan and purpose from the Creation unto the Day of Judgment for individuals to know Him through His ordained institution—the family.  In Satan’s long war against our sovereign God he has continually worked to undermine this sacred institution.  The devil has sought to decentralize the holy purpose for which the family was designed at the creation of man; and that prowling lion who seeks to destroy all men will do so if mankind continues to retreat from the battle on the frontlines within the family.

God created a woman from man and gave her to him in marriage to begin a family.  When God destroyed the sinful world in the days of Noah he preserved a family.  The promise made to Abraham, the would-be-father found faithful enough to become the patriarch of the entire Jewish nation was a promise for a family.  He was promised a son who would become a great nation on the earth, and in God’s design this nation would be a remnant set-apart, preserving holy family generational lines through which the Messiah would come.  Joseph was forsaken by his brothers that he might later save his family.  Moses was given up by his mother that his life might be spared, but as a grown man he heard the call to abdicate his royalty and save his very large extended family from the captivity of slavery in Egypt.  It is no wonder that Satan has made families his primary target in his war against God.  The entirety of the Old Testament is a record of the first reality show in which the world watched as God’s chosen family—the nation of Israel—struggled and survived, lived and died, obeyed and were blessed, sinned and were punished, conquered and were conquered, came in and were cast out.  Genealogies were meticulously kept and histories were divinely transcribed so that the generations would know the faithfulness of God to His children, His family.  Even the Christ child came through a simple family.

Just imagine what the world would be like if the first family and everyone thereafter had feared the Lord and kept all His commands always.  We would be in a very different world from the one that we know today.  God’s commands to the family can be found throughout the Old and New Testaments, but they began at the inception of the family at the Creation.  God created Eve to be a suitable helper and companion for Adam.  Then, He gave them the command to be fruitful and increase in number and reminded them that this could only happen in a union of one male with one female.  They were instructed to fill the earth and subdue it by ruling over every living creature and to eat seed bearing plants for food.  After the Fall of man, men and women were both given consequential tasks for allowing sin to come into the world.  Men were now to work the ground, to bring forth food to eat by the sweat of their brow.  Women would now endure pain to both give birth and to raise their children.  Women would also desire to have their husband’s position of authority, but must be submissive.  To the Hebrew patriarchs a covenant in the flesh was given.  At the Exodus, Deuteronomy 5:29 is spoken by God after the giving of the 10 commandments and right before the Shema—an educational command—and many other less-remembered commands are given in this passage of scripture as well including: dietary and sanitary laws, holiday observances and making offerings to God.  The greatest commands given were first to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,” and second “to love your neighbor as yourself.”  In the New Testament the apostle Paul had to readdress the misshapen hierarchies of the family with commands to each of the churches about God’s design.  In short, God has commanded the family to be one father and one mother, to produce a multiplicative number of children, to work to be self-sustaining and self-governing, to educate their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord by teaching them His Word and by passing on His dietary and sanitary laws, holiday observances and offerings, and to love God and fellow man.

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–having a form of godliness but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with them.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

And we are certainly living in such days.  Why?  Because of the deteriorating effects of the sinful nature on the family and the blatant choice to turn away from God generation after generation after generation.

“But,” may we be able to say with Joshua, “as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15b

And may we pass it on to our families so that we can exhort our children to, “…continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3: 14-15

Praying it forward.