Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Godly Father

Neither shall you bring an abomination into your house,
lest you be a cursed thing like it.
But you shall utterly detest it, and you shall utterly abhor it,
for it is a cursed thing.”
Deuteronomy 7:26

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger,
but bring them up in the instruction and admonition of the Lord.”
Ephesians 6:4

God expects us to enforce His order and peace in our area of control, especially in our homes.  When I read this verse from Deuteronomy recently, I was reminded of an event in my childhood that shows how well my father feared God and kept this commandment without respect of persons.
When I was about twelve years old, I walked across town one day to the public library and checked out several books to read.  One of the books I chose was a book on the subject of witchcraft.  It was not that I had a desire to become a wizard; it was just that the subject seemed unusual, and it intrigued me.  Witchcraft was a new subject to me because my life had been surrounded by godly people since my birth.
Now, my father gave us, his children, plenty of liberty, as far as personal choices were concerned.  He was not nosy, and he never examined the titles of the library books we picked out to read.  And so, when I arrived home with my new load of books, I just laid the books down in open view, giving it no thought.  But it just so happened that my father walked by at that moment, and he noticed that I had brought home a book on witchcraft.  Without hesitation or explanation, and without raising his voice, he ordered me to take that book out of his house – immediately.  Now, whenever my father gave an order in our home, there was no back-talk or whining; there was only obedience.  It is possible that I asked him what to do with the witchcraft book, since the library was over a mile away, but if I did ask him what to do with it, he would have just said something like, “I don’t know.  Just get it out of here.”
After walking outside with the unwelcome book and standing there a few minutes, I surrendered to the obvious, and walked back across town to the library to turn the book in, and then made the long trip back home.  Nothing else was ever said about the incident.  My father had made his point, and I had understood it.
You must know this about my father.  He did not feel obligated to send me away with that book because he had read Deuteronomy 7:26 that morning and felt obligated to obey it.  Instead, he was reacting from his heart to seeing such a book in his area of control, and his command seemed, even to me then, natural and right.  Inconvenient, yes; but not harsh and dictatorial.  Without me realizing it, my young heart was being helped by Jesus to understand that my father was motivated by fear of God and that he had commanded me to take that book out of his house because he was righteous.  My heart sensed that my father was only doing the will of God, and I could not feel mistreated.
Some parents fear their children’s displeasure more than they fear God’s, but by doing that, they unwittingly train their children to love themselves and pleasure more than they love God.  I thank God with all my heart that I had a father who loved and feared God more than he loved and feared me!  Godly men bring up their children “in the instruction and admonition of the Lord”, and with the help of such a father’s example, children may learn to live in the instruction and admonition of the Lord, and have a life filled with God’s blessing.