MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

God Told Adam…

October 1st, 2006 Viewed 5304 times, 1 so far today
This entry is part 1 of 9 in the series A Father's Responsibility

I was talking a couple of weekends ago with a friend, and the discussion turned to Creation, the Fall, and other related issues and it caused me to think more about just how much responsibility God gave to man and just why Paul laid so much at the father’s feet in a family. I’d like to take this opportunity to look through some Bible passages with you and see just what fathers and husbands have to be responsible for. Just so you know how we’ll go about this study, I’m going to do searches for fathers and husbands in the Bible and then address passages that talk about a father’s or husband’s responsibility.

I do want to start out with the one that got me going, just to get you thinking.

The Generational Effect

October 2nd, 2006 Viewed 3919 times
This entry is part 2 of 9 in the series A Father's Responsibility

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me; – Exodus 20:5

This is pretty scary to me on one level. Notice, it’s the sins of the fathers that the Lord would visit on the children unto the third and fourth generation. This tells me a couple of things.

First, that God places real importance on what the father does, for it’s his sin that’s visited, not the mothers.  We saw this yesterday with Adam and Eve.  More importantly, we see it throughout the Old Testament where, especially a king, whole families were judged for what the father did.  Remember Achan?  In the book of Joshua, the children of Israel were commanded not to take of the spoil of Jericho, and yet Achan did.  Because of that sin, Achan and his whole family were destroyed.  God takes sin seriously.

Covenant Maker

October 3rd, 2006 Viewed 3201 times, 1 so far today
This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series A Father's Responsibility

There are two aspects to the idea of the father or husband being the covenant maker in the following passages.

Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them. – Deuteronomy 1:8

But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard [it]; then he shall make her vow which she vowed, and that which she uttered with her lips, wherewith she bound her soul, of none effect: and the LORD shall forgive her. – Numbers 8:30

In the one case, we have God making a covenant.  Just like with Adam and Eve, God came to Abraham– not Sarah– to make the covenant.  He came to Isaac– not Rebekah– to confirm it.

He went to Jacob– not Leah, Rachel or a handmaid.  He went to David– and I don’t have enough space to list all of those wives!  God chose his order, it’s not something that I or any other man selected.  He went to the man and made covenants with those men and their generations.  It is true that the Messiah would be born of a virgin woman, but in every other case, God dealt with the head of the house.

To Lead the Family

October 4th, 2006 Viewed 11772 times
This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series A Father's Responsibility

One of the most controversial, and anti-feminist ideas that can be found in the Bible is the idea that the husband is the head of the home.

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. – Genesis 3:16

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. – Ephesians 5:23

One wonders what the relationship was like between Adam and Eve in the garden if Genesis 3:16 was instituted because of sin.  Truly, with sinlessness we would be able to coexist as husband and wife with the same goals and with the same desire– to worship Him.  We’d have no problem in loving and yielding to one another.  We would seek each other’s desires above our own, and we would see this as the only way to do things.

To Meet the Wife’s Needs/Wants

October 5th, 2006 Viewed 12606 times
This entry is part 5 of 9 in the series A Father's Responsibility

One of the most radical statements (in terms of what people believe the Bible says in regards to husbands and wives) that I think I could make about the responsibility of the father in the home is that he is supposed to be meeting the wife’s needs.

Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. – 1 Corinthians 7:13

And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. – 1 Corinthians 14:35

Physically, we are to be meeting her needs on every level. She has submitted to us in the leadership in the home, and she is trusting us to provide for her. This means that we must be willing to sacrifice our desires and wants at times so that she may have hers. That means that we need to seek her pleasure and happiness above our own. That is what she’s required to seek as well.

The passage that the first verse is taken from continues on to say that the wife’s body is not her own, neither the husband’s body his own. Guys, let’s be frank. I think far too often we like to use this verse to say that we deserve sex whenever the mood hits us (which is probably more often than it hits her!), but we fail to see the point of our bodies not being our own. Sure, we’re supposed to be physically intimate, but this passage could also be read to mean that we should be taking care of ourselves in a way that pleases her.

This could easily be taken to mean that we should make sure that we’re awake and willing to converse with her. This could mean that we should seek to dress, smell, and look a way that pleases her. It is, after all, what we use this passage to ask of her, right? I mean, we like to pick out flirty things for her to wear to please us (which she probably does) and yet do we do and wear things to please her? Our body is not our own, remember?

And then there’s the responsibility to meet our wife’s spiritual needs. If she’s supposed to come to us with questions that she’s not supposed to ask in church, we should certainly be in the Word so that we can have an answer! Not only that, but we, as the husband-leaders, should be looking at our family’s life and seeking to improve our spiritual walks. We should be leading the family in devotions. We should be looking for ways to apply scripture to our everyday conduct. We should be sharing with her the things that we learn from the Bible or questions that have come up.

I fear that we’re so concerned with ourselves and our rights in this area, men, that we are missing the blessing of being able to serve and love the wife God gave us. Oh, and if you think she loves, cares and does a lot for you now– how could she respond if you took your meeting of her needs/wants up a notch?

Provoking To Good Works

October 6th, 2006 Viewed 3028 times
This entry is part 6 of 9 in the series A Father's Responsibility

It is easy to get frustrated with our children when they are not obeying, or when they are missing something that’s right in front of them.  How we respond, however, can make the difference between having a child prone to wrath and having a child with a loving spirit.

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, provoke not your children [to anger], lest they be discouraged. – Colossians 3:21

I feel that Paul directed this at the dads because I believe we’re the biggest culprits in flying off the handle when children do not do what we say.  I think that we’re used to getting our way, or are less selfless than our wives (who should already be in submission to us (which should give us greater appreciation of where they are!)).

Giving Away the Bride

October 7th, 2006 Viewed 4704 times
This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series A Father's Responsibility

Since I do not have any daughters (yet) I do not have this responsibility to contend with.  And yet I’m told that it’s one of the hardest things a father has to do.

If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins. – Exodus 22:17

Now, I’m not talking about the fact that I may have to owe a dowry, since we are not working under a biblical betrothal arrangement.  What I am sensing here is a responsibility that father’s have to verify that the man is the one God has for our child.  Although it is important to make sure our sons have the right girl, it is of particular importance in the case of our daughters because we are transferring our leadership of a woman to another man– a man that she should be submissive to, that she should trust for leadership.

Telling Their Children About God

October 8th, 2006 Viewed 3589 times
This entry is part 8 of 9 in the series A Father's Responsibility

One of the biggest responsibilities that we have as fathers is to develop a passion for God in our children. That being said, the Bible has a lot to say on the topic.

That this may be a sign among you, [that] when your children ask [their fathers] in time to come, saying, What [mean] ye by these stones? – Joshua 4:6

And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where [be] all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. – Judges 6:13

For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: – Psalm 78:5

God was constantly having the children of Israel place markers so that they would remember what He had done.  He then instructed the fathers to impart that knowledge in the house, by the way, etc.  That’s why you see in the Joshua passage that children would ask their fathers– because they were supposed to know what happened.

To Love His Wife

October 9th, 2006 Viewed 3532 times
This entry is part 9 of 9 in the series A Father's Responsibility

How much do you love your wife?

Husbands, love [your] wives, and be not bitter against them.- Colossians 3:19

Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife [see] that she reverence [her] husband. – Ephesians 5:33

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; – Ephesians 5:25

I put these verses in the order I did for a reason.  Looking at the first one, this would probably be the easiest command to follow– not to be bitter with our wives.  This is probably something that a lot of husbands struggle with, though.  It’s easy, in close quarters, to allow something to fester– something that’s probably trivial.  If we’re not practicing Biblical forgiveness and we’re keeping a record of wrongs, we can easily become bitter.  This is at the root, I believe, with the upsurge of divorces we are seeing among those that call themselves Christians.

But Paul doesn’t leave it there, he takes it up a notch.  We are to love our wives as ourselves.  Few of us would not care what we looked like or want to look like a snob while we’re out and about, and yet do we take the time to make sure that our wives look as radiant as they can?  Do we provide for that?  Do we take the time to see that they are properly nourished physically, emotionally and spiritually?  Do we allow for the outlets that we have and enjoy?

In a home where the man works and the woman is with the children, the man gets a chance for adult conversation.  He has the ability to get out of the house.  Do we provide that for our wives, or expect them to be content with the same thing every day?  Would we be content with that?

If Paul left it there, it would be a tall order, but he takes it further.  We are not only to love our wives as ourselves, but we are to love her as Christ loved the church.  He died a cruel death for the church.  What we we do out of love for our wives?  I can hear it now: “I get her flowers every once in a while.”

If we’re honest, I don’t think that we show our love or allow ourselves to love our wives in the kind of love that’s self sacrificing to the point of preferring someone over ourselves.  Certainly we have times where we do this, and I believe that we would all rather take a bullet from a robber than have the wife or kids take it, but what do our every day actions say about how we feel about them– for what we think and do determine how we feel about someone.

Men, we need to realize that we have a responsibility to love our wives self-sacrificially and that means putting her first, looking out for her best interest.  This is above the children, above our parents, and above ourselves.  If we would do this, I believe we would have a stronger relationship and a stronger family for God.

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.