May 31, 2011
THE FATHER OF MANY NATIONS
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God intends for every family to gather together in the Lord Jesus Christ for teaching, prayer and worship. Each father, as spiritual head of the family, has a duty to command his children to follow God. As we consider the verses below, keep in mind that the Hebrew term “father” may include grandfather and great-grandfather as well. As we think about fathers, we will see the role that God intends every human father to fulfill.
God’s Covenant with Abraham.
For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.
Keep the Way of the LORD. God commanded Abraham to command his children to keep the way of the LORD. Let us focus for a moment upon this phrase the “way of the LORD” (Genesis 18:19). The way of the LORD is a stronghold for the upright, but ruin to the workers of iniquity (Proverbs 10:29). While every man views his own way as right, the LORD provides the good way, and weighs the hearts (Proverbs 21:2; Jeremiah 6:16). In the New Testament, we know that Jesus alone is the way, the truth and life, and no man comes to the Father except by Him (John 14:6). Righteousness guards the way of the blameless (Proverbs 13:6). In essence, the way of the Lord means the path provided by Him as He leads the way down the path of His righteousness. A man may choose to follow the way of life with the Lord Jesus, or turn to the way of death (Jeremiah 21:8).
Doing Righteousness and Justice. God always focuses more upon actions than words. Jesus said that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). We know that we walk in the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice (Genesis 18:19).
The Duty To Command Adult Children. In Genesis 18:19, God commanded Abraham to command his household. When we think of household, we may be thinking of just a few people, such as minor sons and daughters. The household of Abraham, however, included his son Ishmael, all the servants born in his house, all who were bought with his money, and all of their children (Genesis 17:23-27). In fact, when Abraham had to rescue Lot, the number of his trained men, born in his house, numbered three hundred and eighteen (Genesis 14:14; compare the household of Esau, which included more than his wives, his sons and his daughters, Genesis 36:6). In fact, the households of Jacob and Esau had been so great, they were unable to live together (Genesis 36:7; see also Genesis 46:26–the sixty-six people who “belonged” to Jacob when he went to Egypt). Although sons may have their own households, to the extent they still live with their fathers, they remain in a sense part of the household of the father. In any event, we see that the fathers had a duty to command everyone who lived in their household to walk in the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice.
So we learn more about fathers and their role in daily devotions.
● Being a father in Christ means that we have a duty to command our children.
● Being a father in Christ means that we deliberately influence everyone in our household to do righteousness and justice, and so walk in the way of the LORD.
● Being a father in Christ means we exercise spiritual responsibility for every person who lives in our household, even adult children with their children. Fathers must be strong spiritual leaders for Christ in the household.
Application for Today
God chose Abraham to command his children to walk in the way of the Lord Jesus Christ. Family devotions present a great daily time for fathers to read the Word of God and teach their household the commands of God, and then back it up with the father’s command to follow God’s command, by walking in the way of the LORD. We see that God has long-range plans for His people, and He uses fathers to influence their entire households. Fathers set the spiritual tone in the household. Although I have no physical children, I appreciate the role God has set for all fathers. All of us have a duty to fathers, to encourage them to command everyone in their household to walk in the way of the LORD, doing righteousness and justice. Will you live as a spiritual father today and command everyone in your household to walk in the way of the LORD today? Will you encourage a father to command everyone in his household to walk in the way of the LORD today?