“Then the LORD said, ‘shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen Him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what He has promised him’” [Genesis 18:17-19].
The LORD has a defined purpose in establishing the family. The purpose has been what the LORD has been seeking in every family from the beginning. Prophet Malachi tells us what the purpose is: “Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are His. And why one? Because He was seeking godly offspring”[Malachi 2:15].
One of Satan’s greatest lies to the people of God is that it is impossible to build a godly family. The first family the LORD instituted, even in their fallen state did not fail God in raising a godly offspring—the righteous Abel. Although Cain, who was of the wicked one slew him, God raised in his stead Seth. This Seth gave birth to a son and he called his name Enosh, who perceived that due to proliferation of sin and wickedness, God has been far away from men, and in his days men began to call upon the name of the LORD [Genesis 4:1-8; 5:25-26].
God’s purpose in family remains the same down the ages. He is looking for godly offspring and He will settle for nothing less. Will the LORD of the whole earth purposed a thing and it will not come into fulfillment?
The LORD saw ahead of Abraham into his descendants after him and spoke with the fullness of confidence that Abraham will lead them in the way of the LORD. We see the fulfillment of God’s declaration concerning Abraham in all the scriptures. Let us examine some events that reveal this.
Abraham is a believer, worshiper of the living God. The LORD himself declared him righteous because he believed in Him, even in a seemingly impossible situation. What reveals to us without reasonable doubt that Abraham is a true worshiper of God is that he built alters in acknowledgement of God’s presence in every life occurrence. Isaac grew up and like his father; he became an altar builder too. He acknowledged the God of his father Abraham. Jacob also grew up to know the God of his fathers Abraham and Isaac. He even called God “the fear of my father Isaac”. He too like his ancestors became an altar builder, who knew the place of worship of the living God. We see a whole household declared for God. Even the servant of Abraham knew the God of his master and what He is able to do. He prayed to Him as he had seen Abraham his master did several times [Genesis 24].
If in the very beginning God did not fail in raising godly offspring despite the effort of the wicked one, why are we made to believe that he is unable to do the same now in our own days? God told us He is the same yesterday, today and forever [Hebrews 13:9]. If our family fails to fulfill the purpose for which The LORD made a man and a woman one, it is not because He is unable to do what He promised, but because we do not let Him build the ‘house’ Himself. It takes the LORD to raise godly children.
Abraham did not raise a bunch of hypocrites, who in outward details will appear to be righteous, but in the hidden place of their heart will have no honour reserved for His name. Even far away from home, Jacob knew to call on the name of the God of his fathers.
We must know that the character of our children is not, most of the time dictated by our own righteousness. Job, a man the LORD Himself testified of his righteousness exemplified this. Although Job was righteous, it can be inferred from the scripture that his children are godless children, who in the words of their father were able to curse God in their hearts. He would send and sanctify them so that they die not, because he feared God could slay them.
The difference between Abraham and Job is that Abraham brought up his own children by the altar of the living God. He showed them who God is and the place of His worship. They grew up to acknowledge God in all of their lives. Job instead did not show his children the place of worship of the living God. Although he may not approve their feasts that contained things that can defile them and make them blaspheme God with their mouth, he allowed it. If not, it would not have been his common practice to have them sanctified after every such feast.
Although he knew God, nothing reveals to us that Job showed his children the way of the LORD. If he did and it was the children who did not consent to his teachings, they would not have submitted themselves to be sanctified by those sent by their father. It seems they simply did not know what the requirement of God is. The law does not say the father of him who sinned should give a burnt offering for the sin of his son. Perhaps, they did not even know what the law of the LORD says concerning them and what they do. Righteous Job daily sat at the gate, teaching people the way of the LORD, while the altar of God in his own family was leaning on a rootless tree.
Prophet Eli failed woefully in this business and so did Samuel, despite the certainty of their calling and great annointing. Solomon, despite all his wisdom and hundreds of instructions written in the Book of Proverbs raised perhaps the most foolish king that ever sat on the throne of David. It becomes clearer, considering all these that child upbringing is of the Lord and must be done right there in His presence, if we are going to record any success in the business.
The only way we can have rest is by training the children God gives us in the way of the LORD. This rest Job did not know. He lived all their first part of his life in the fear that God can kill his children. We see this as he cried out when his affliction reached the climax that “the thing which I greatly feared has come upon me, and that which I was afraid of has come unto me”. Solomon told us “to train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it”. If we teach them the way of the LORD, there will they tread and otherwise.
Man does not know how to walk in the way of the LORD. Man needs to be taught. God Himself would come down in the cool of the day in fellowship with Abraham. I believe they would not just sit and be looking at each other straight in the face. God would be expounding His purpose in man’s creation to them, teaching them how to walk into the fulfillment of the glorious purpose. The secret behind Abraham’s success in raising godly offspring is that as the LORD said about him, ‘he commanded his children’. This is what is missing in our modern family. The rod of fatherly authority is broken, lost. The command in this context does not mean to ‘coerce’ or use ‘force’ on, but to ‘instruct’ and ‘lead’.
The same way He did in the beginning, God is still willing and able to do what He did with the first family. For every dead Abel in your family, God has a Seth in store. If we will return to the way of the LORD, He will bring into fulfillment what His will and purpose is for establishing the family. Our family altar must not be neglected. If it is fallen down, it is time we start raising the fallen altars. We must know that as men, we learn in doing. We must lay down examples for them to follow. It is not making church attendance a burden on their head or forcing them to take up a responsibility. If you show your children who your God is, do you think they will be proud to take the same as their God, considering what they know you for? Let us return to the forsaken pathway; letting the LORD build His own house, using us as His work tools. In this we will find rest for our souls, when we show our children the way of the LORD.
Often times we do wonder why the promises of God is not coming to pass in our lives as we read in the Word of God. The promises of the faithful God which His mouth has spoken will not come to pass, except we walk in the way the Lord has made for us to walk--- to command our household to walk in the way of theLord. This can only be as we do what is right and just before them. Our children are often outward display of our inward character.
The Lord is trusting us to raise godly offspring, His precious heritage, that will bring much glory to His name even in the presence of the enemies. Should God trust you for this? Let us raise the fallen altars of faithfulness and right standing with God and lay upon the altars sacrifices acceptable in His sight. Then the Lord will show us His delight in our sacrifices by sending fire from above as He did in the past.
Read more articles by Wole Oladapo or search for articles on the same topic or others.