Ephesians 5:22, “Wives submit yourselves unto your husbands, as unto the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4, “And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” These verses are dealing with the home life of God’s people. Marriage is a wonderful thing. The greatest thing that a man or a woman can do is to give their lives in carrying the Gospel of Christ to men and women, but the next greatest privilege is that of making a home, a home honoured by God.
A little girl once said to her mother, “What is marriage?” Her mother said, “It is when Dad and Mum promise to love, honour and obey each other as long as they live.” The little girl said, “Well, Mum, sometimes you and Daddy are not married, are you?” It is a wonderful thing if the homes of God’s people are homes God can use.
Paul began by talking to the wives. It was not by accident because Paul knew the one who had the most to do with making that home all it should be was the wife. “Wives submit yourselves to your own husbands.” Making a worthy home is not the responsibility of only one.
“In the home life His approval, Makes poor cot a palace fair,
Brings each day the Heavenly sunlight, This because my Lord is there.”
Young people newly married, firstly think of a fine home and expensive furniture, but a home is far more than that. Young people start off buying a fine home and expensive furniture and the payments are too high and the wife has to go to work. They come home tired and have no time for each other and soon the love they felt so deeply begins to fade. Some homes I have been in have hardly any furniture, but they were homes we valued highly because God was there.
Psalm 48:12-13, “Walk about Zion … tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces, that ye may tell it to the generation following.” Abraham, an old man, sat in the tent door. Why was he there? He could have been sitting under a tree at ninety-nine years so why was he sitting there? It was not by accident but for a real purpose, keeping the world out of that home and keeping his children in. I wish there were more parents like this old man.
Sarah was there beside him. The reason Abraham’s home became the kind of home it was, and his children became the kind of children they were, was because Abraham sat there in his tent door guarding the sanctity of his home. Influences would have come into that home, just as the wrong kind of influences come into every home. The children of that home would sometimes want to go out but Abraham sat in the tent door guarding it. Do not hesitate to sit in your place of responsibility, in your tent door, guarding your home, keeping the world out and your children in.
Growing up as a boy, many times I wanted to bring influences into our home that would not have been very good for our home, but my father sat on guard and other times I wanted to go out, but Dad sat in his tent door and said, “No.” It was not easy for my father to sit there and say, “No,” to us, because he had been young once, but he knew a great deal more about the world than we did. There were times when I felt he surely did not understand young people, but as I look back, he understood all too well, and my brothers and sisters and I thank God that he had the courage to sit in his tent door and keep his children in and the world out.
Lot sat in the gate of Sodom, and perhaps his children were running the streets of Sodom. When God warned Lot, he spoke to his children and his sons-in-law and they laughed in his face. He seemed unto them as one that mocked. Lot had spoken to them too late. How different it might have been if Lot had been as faithful as Abraham was in sitting in his tent door guarding the sanctity of that home. God was able to say of Abraham, “For I know him that he will command his children aright.” Isaac was not yet born, but this was the kind of home Isaac was brought into. It is a privilege for a child in any age, to be born into that kind of home. I hope you mothers and fathers will go home more determined than ever to sit there guarding that home, keeping the world out and keeping your children in. Those little boys and girls in the home will some day rise up and call you blessed that you had the courage to do what they did not understand at the time.
When God called Abraham to go and offer a sacrifice on Mount Moriah, it was not an easy sacrifice but it involved the life of that little boy he loved very dearly. They were leaving home together, going to the mount of sacrifice and the two of them walked together. Abraham as a father, walked and talked with his children. It is wonderful to be a parent like that. The reason Isaac grew up to be such a man that he was, was because he had a father and mother who took a deep interest in him. As they were walking together, the father laid the wood on his son’s shoulders. It is wonderful to see little girls and boys in the home beginning to bear a little part of the sacrifice.
Isaac was willing for the burden to be laid on his shoulders but then he said, “Here is the wood but where is the lamb?” That little boy knew all about the sacrifice and the order of it. It was because he had often gone with his father to the place of sacrifice. As Isaac grew to be a man, he built an altar and pitched his tent. He built an altar, that was first. First things must come first. Then the next thing was that he pitched a tent, making a home just like the father’s home. Then he was did going a well which speaks of the business side of life. Sometimes we see God’s people change the order around, taking care of the business side of life, then the home and then last of all they build an altar to God. Isaac knew the right order as he grew because of the wonderful home he had been reared in. It is a wonderful thing to put into the hearts of those little children that which will hold them and help them to do the right thing as they go out as men and women. I would encourage you to often visit the home of Abraham and look into the corners of the house and look at the parents and children as they grow up.
In Genesis 49:13, there is the home of one of the sons of Jacob. “Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be an haven for ships, and his border shall be unto Zidon.” Not a great deal is spoken about Zebulon but he was a haven for ships. Psalm 107:23, “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business on great waters.” The psalmist was speaking of the servants of God going out to search for souls. They rise up on the wave and go down to the depths, their soul melts within them; they reel to and fro and are at their wit’s end. This, perhaps, was the very condition of some of God’s servants when they found you, reeling to and fro and finally your were ready to make your choice for God.
As these voyagers came in, they would see a light in the window of Zebulun. “His borders reached unto Zidon…” That was a place of fishing. Perhaps he was one who was not able to go out and do business in great waters. He saw that the borders of his home reached out and kept in touch with the fishing. We want to extend our borders to the place of fishing and be as close to that place as you possibly can. It may not be your privilege to preach the Gospel, but it can be your privilege to have the borders of your home extend right out to the place of fishing.
I thought of that home in Bethany we read of in Luke 10:38. They were wonderful privileges Martha had enjoyed, but here she is taken up with all the cares of life. There was something in that home that was hindering that fellowship with Christ. Could it be that this same thing might be hindering some in the meeting? The cares of life were weighing heavily on Martha, and she was moved to charge the Lord with carelessness. The Lord loved Martha but she was blind to this because of the awful cares and burdens of that home.
Can it be that the cares of life are hindering your fellowship with Christ, from sitting at the feet of Jesus and hearing His word? Keep the cares of life in their rightful place. They have a place. The pleasures of this life may not trouble us but the cares of this life can be just as dangerous and there was a little of this in the home of Martha. Often we think that God does not care but there is nothing more dangerous to God’s people than to think God does not care. Be like Mary. She chose to sit at His feet and hear His word.
There is a home in Jerusalem sometimes called the water bearer’s home, but I do not know whose it was. I call it the Passover home. Everything was ready where Jesus could break the bread and drink the cup. It was a home the Lord could depend on. Jesus told them what to do. Jesus had great confidence and knew that home would be ready for the use of God’s people. In every part of the land today, there are homes God can depend on. God knows and the servants know that they will be ready at the appointed hour, where they will be able to break bread and drink the cup. We thank God for homes we can depend on where God’s children can meet together away from the world and to sit at the feet of Jesus.
We read of the home of Timothy in Acts 16. His mother was a Jewess but his father was a Greek. I see here a divided home. There was a very faithful woman there and a little boy growing up, and the woman was putting all she could into that home. I know how Timothy must have felt as he grew up, because the first ten years of my life were in a divided home too. Often my heart was pulled between two, but look what came out of that divided home, a man who had faith unfeigned. This should give hope to any who are in a divided home.
May we go out with a deeper desire than ever before to make our homes worthy homes. If you want your home to be all it should be, be sure that you love one another. You as a wife must obediently submit to your husband. Be sure as a husband that you love your wife. As little children, be sure you obey your parents. Think of the home of Abraham and do your best to put into these little children the thing God wants you to put there. We will be going home soon, but the Convention will have just begun. What kind of year is it going to be? Will it be any better than last year?
“He came to my desk with a quivering lip, the lesson was done,
‘I want a new sheet, dear teacher, I have blotted this one.’
I took the old sheet all torn and blotted, and gave him a new one all unspotted,
And into his sad eyes smiled, ‘Do better my child.’
I came to the throne with a weary heart, the year was done,
‘I want a new year Lord, I have spoiled this one.’
He took the old year all torn and blotted, and gave me a new one all unspotted,
And into my eyes smiled, ‘Do better my child.’ ”