Diligently Training Our Families

Sun am 13 May 2018 – Johan Esterhuizen

(Gen. 1:28); (Eph. 5:22-32); Deut. 6:4-9; Ps. 1:1-3; Prov. 22:6-7, 28-29;Eph. 4:11-16; Ps. 19:7-11; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; (Gen. 24)

I have discovered over 47 years of married life that my partner, my confidant, my co-labourer, my sweetheart has been there to help me navigate the difficult times as well as the great times of life. The Bible says that two are better than one. There is a multiplication of talents when husband and wife work together. I studied the Scriptures for a definition of marriage and I came up with this: marriage is to partner together for dominion (Gen. 1:28). Marriage is there to solve the problem of loneliness, companionship involving intimacy and commitment. Marriage is to portray the relationship between Christ and His bride (Eph. 5:22-32) and to procreate godly offspring. The father used to be the protector, the provider, the pastor of the home and the wife used to be the helper, the co-worker, the homemaker, the partner with her husband. That is a brief definition of what marriage is all about.

Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (Deut. 6:4-9). We have to diligently train our families by diligently teaching in our home. How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law, he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season. And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers (Ps. 1:1-3). Diligence produces great results in the lives of God’s children. Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it (Prov. 22:6). The word ‘train’means ‘gymnastics’. We have to train our families in the ways of God. Here an important principle: you quickly learn what you do not know when you try to teach what you do not know. That is why the Word of God says: this word will be in your heart when you teach. Teaching is more than talking, it is leading by example!

These things we need to train our children in: they should be able to talk to a stranger, these are soft skills. They should be able to find their way around a place; they should manage their assignments, workloads and deadlines; they must be able to contribute to the running of household, they must able to handle interpersonal relationships, they should be able to cope with the ups and downs of life, they should be able to learn how to manage money and take risks in life. These are skills that we teach them. We have to teach our children about finances (Prov. 22:7). Do not move the ancient boundary which your fathers have set. Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men (Prov. 22:28-29).

It is vital that confidence, values and strength are taught at home. In Ephesians 4, we see the five-fold ministry (Eph. 4:11-16). The word ‘perfecting’ is a medical term used to describe ‘a mending process’. When you mend a broken limb, it will be stronger than before. People come from the world with broken limbs, we have to train and develop and mend people so that they can function the way that God called them to. We have to diligently teach our children the Word of God so they can fall in love with the Word of God and say it is sweet and that they can obey the principles; statutes and precepts of God’s Word. Eight synonyms are used to describe the Word of God.

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of  the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; In keeping them there is great reward (Ps. 19:7-11).

The home is the place of training and developing. It is the cornerstone of society. Training takes place in the home and continues in the Church. As we develop the skills of life we become productive and reach our calling. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Notice the word ‘profitable’; seldom do we think of doctrine, correction, reproof and instruction as profitable. But it is! God’s word is designed for that. ‘Doctrine’ is what to do. ‘Reproof’ is what not to do. ‘Correction’ is what you did wrong and ‘instruction’ is how to do it. Diligently training our families requires a continuous process. I think somehow today in the Church we are not developing and training our children to love God’s word as the honeycomb. We need to train and develop our children. In Genesis 24 Abraham was old and he wanted his son Isaac to have the right bride. The formula for choosing a bride: firstly, your father chooses your bride. He called his chief servant and made him take an oath. Today the preparation for marriage is based on the romantic model: we fall in love, we fall out of love. That is the problem. Once we are married and no longer in love we just break up the marriage. We are touching on one of God ancient pathways where the family becomes proactive in the selecting of marriage partners. This requires training and developing. The romantic model, which is a hundred years old, is the root cause of the high rate of divorce in society today. God calls us to train them in what they must do! Why did Isaac wilfully accept his father’s choice and his chief servant which he respected, to go to another country to choose his bride? After all, it was his life and his choice? Children want their parents to tell them what to do. Isaac knew that love comes after marriage. The time has come for us to diligently train our children in the way they should go and the benefits far outweigh the sacrifices.

I want to challenge the parents today not to be scared of your children. If you love your children, train them, teach them and make sure that the principles are right.