The importance of family
The fifth commandment is the first commandment in the spirit of obedience that deals with ‘those around us.’
God is showing us the importance of family. He is saying it should be ‘God first, then family and then the others around us.’
Our relationship with God should be paramount.
Only when we love God can we put our families first. God’s people knew this. They were taught to respect and honor their families. Families were a blessing and the crown of their success. A tight-knit family is the one necessary ingredient for a prosperous society.
We’ve forgotten this.
The world today looks with disdain at families and often views outside work as more important than family life. We find our happiness elsewhere – in material items, money, and the temporary things of the world.
In this blog, we are going to look at the role of the father and the mother in the spirit of the fifth commandment. What does God mean when He addresses us in our roles as mothers and fathers?
A recap on the Fifth commandment
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you” (Exodus 20:12).
The Role of the Father
We are looking at the role of the father first. It is, though, not more important than the part of the mother. The fifth commandment speaks of ‘your father and your mother,’ placing them on equal footing. The two roles, however, differ fundamentally.
A present father
The father can only fulfill his role if he is present in the lives of his children. It is implicit, therefore, that there must be a stable and consistent relationship between a dad and his children.
To teach his children in the ways of God.
To discipline his children.
To pray for his children.
To love his children.
To have compassion for his children.
To provide for his children.
To walk righteously.
To protect his children.
Let’s look at each of these in turn.
1. A Father is a teacher
Deuteronomy 6:6-7: ‘These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. ‘You shall teach them diligently to your sons….’
Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
These scriptures (and many more) that command fathers to ‘discipline and instruct’ their children outline a father’s role. Perhaps this is why so many fatherless households have many problems with wayward children.
A father should, however, fulfill this role in faith, according to God’s word.
2. A father should discipline his children
Proverbs 13:24: “He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”
Proverbs 19:18: “Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death.”
We can see in these scriptures that it is clearly in the role of the father to discipline his children. It is also part of the role of the mother. We will get to that in a bit. Discipline teaches our children self-control. It is this lack of discipline or the teaching of self-control that is paramount to why there are so many criminals from fatherless households.
3. A father should pray for his children.
Job 1:4-5: “His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, ‘Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ Thus Job did continually.”
Job 1:10: “Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side?”
In Job 1:1-2, Job is described as a: ‘blameless man, who feared God and turned away from evil.’ He had seven sons and three daughters, and he covered his children by burnt offerings, just in case they had sinned.
In verse 10, Satan acknowledges that God had put a hedge of protection around his family that Satan could not penetrate. The prayer of a father is powerful.
4. A father should love his children.
Matthew 18:10: “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.”
1 John 3:18: “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
Love is not a feeling or just a word.
Love can only be carried out according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8:
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
“We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Our love for our children is a reflection of our understanding of His love for each of us. When we understand how much He truly loves us, then we can be a reflection of that love to those around us.
5. A father should walk righteously.
Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Proverbs 20:7: “A righteous man who walks in his integrity— how blessed are his sons after him.”
1 Kings 9:4: “As for you, if you will walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you and will keep My statutes and My ordinances, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, just as I promised to your father David, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’”
Walking righteously does many things for us.
If we listen (and therefore walk according to His ways) to God, He will listen to us. We saw in the previous section that Job’s family was protected and blessed because he was a “blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” God heard His prayers and protected and blessed him.
Our children will do what they see us do. If you follow God passionately, your children will learn to do so too.
6. A father should have compassion.
Ephesians 6:4: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Psalm 103:13: “Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.”
1 Corinthians 13 in your Bible defines love. As fathers, we need to be sympathetic to the things our children are struggling with.
We need to take the time to understand situations from their point of view.
Of course, we don’t encourage sin, but we must seek to know where our children are coming from so that we can better support and encourage them.
7. A father should provide for his children.
1 Timothy 5:8: “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
Forget tithing as a pathway to blessings. We must see that walking in covenant and taking care of our families is our pathway to blessings.
8. A father must protect his children.
Song of Solomon 8:9: “If she is a wall, we will build on her a battlement of silver; but if she is a door, we will barricade her with planks of cedar.”
Nehemiah 1:3: “They said to me, ‘The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.'”
Of course, a good father will always strive to protect his children in everything he does.
However, we need to be concerned explicitly for our children’s physical, mental, and spiritual well-being by limiting access to our children by those who would seek to harm them.
One way for us to do this is to build an actual physical wall around our houses and seek out homes outside of the cities so we can control and protect our children by keeping them away from those who would seek to usurp our authority and would try to control or to harm them.
The Role of the Mother
Mothers should, of course, support their husbands in all the above items. God created the woman in the first place to be a helper to fulfill the roles that God gave the man.
However, the mother brings her own roles to the children and her own unique brand and understanding to each of the above instructions.
This is critical to the proper development and completeness of the children that both mother and father follow God’s instructions. Each will do so in his or her unique way.
To tenderly care for her children.
To teach her children according to her insight.
To lead by example.
To counsel or guide her children.
Make the house a home for her children.
To meld together (the sometimes) opposites of the father and the children.
To advocate for her children.
1. A mother must tenderly care for her children
1 Thessalonians 2:7: “But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.”
I find this verse very interesting in that ‘tender care’ here is set out not as something to learn (although it is a skill to be acquired sometimes) but as something that exists and teaches.
It is something unique that God gave to women. They are to teach the world how to be gentle, tender, and caring.
This is something that Satan hates and wants to destroy. He has done a fair job in doing so.
One example is the movement for women to work outside the house, and to let their children be brought up by nannies and in daycares.
More and more women choose not to nurse their children. It is a scam by Satan designed to deny the child (and the world) the teaching of the loving tenderly caring mother.
When will a child ever again have the experience to be cared for by a loving mother for such a long time? Is it worth the money that a working woman earns?
More and more families are missing out on the lessons about what pure love is. In the end, everything is about love. Without it, children lose their way in life and think that everything revolves around themselves and their selfish needs.
Another example is women’s rights. Rights should never be set above the needs of children. The Godly woman should see her “rights” in light of how to better serve those around her, especially her own children.
It is sad. We have become a society that destroys children’s first lessons in love and trust. We are diluting it – for life. Loving mothers are a critical missing component in children’s lives.
Fathers have a role to play. They must become better advocates and helpmates in this regard.
They must encourage mothers to fulfill their loving purpose in those critical first years of their children’s lives. The needs of the family must be put above the needs of the individual so that the family can again become the very building block of society.
2. A mother must teach her children according to what she believes.
Proverbs 1:8: “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching….”
Proverbs 6:20: “My son, observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother….”
Mothers and fathers differ in how they handle and instruct children. Each brings their own view of the world and understanding of God’s word to the table.
Therefore, it is so essential that a household have both a mother and a father, their instructions founded in God’s word.
3. A mother should lead by example
2 Timothy 1:5: “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.”
It goes without saying: Children follow the lead of their parents. A mom needs to display to her children how she understands God’s word and how she walks with Him. Her children will then see and understand that everyone has a genuine and unique relationship with God that needs to be developed.
4. A mother should counsel and guide her children.
2 Chronicles 22:3: “He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab, for his mother was his counselor to do wickedly.”
A mother has got a lot of power. She can counsel her children toward God or away from Him. Her children will most likely follow in the direction that she leads them.
5. Only a mother can make a house a home for children.
Matthew 8:14-15: “When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and waited on Him.”
Proverbs 31:27: “She looks well to the ways of her household. And does not eat the bread of idleness.”
A mother and a father work in unison to make a house a home.
The father usually ‘provides’ the house, and the mom creates an enjoyable atmosphere, a clean and inviting environment, and good food. The home does not have to be big to be loving and to draw others in. Most likely, the kids will one day want to create the same type of family for themselves.
There is an old saying, “the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” It is true! Good food brings a family together. It is the mother’s task to create something unique with sometimes simple provisions.
6. A mother is a buffer between a dad and children.
Genesis 27:5-10: “Rebekah was listening while Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game to bring home, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, ‘Behold, I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, saying, Bring me some game and prepare a savory dish for me, that I may eat, and bless you in the presence of the Lord before my death. Now, therefore, my son, listen to me as I command you. Go now to the flock and bring me two choice young goats from there, that I may prepare them as a savory dish for your father, such as he loves. Then you shall bring it to your father, that he may eat, so that he may bless you before his death.'”
I have heard a lot of preachers talk about how Isaac was deceived because he was an older man. This is nonsense.
Rebekah, in all that we see in scripture, was nothing but a Godly, selfless, and obedient woman in whose hands rested the very fate of God’s promises to Abraham.
Little could she had known what her decision that day would amount to, but everything went down exactly as God knew it would.
In Genesis 25:22-23, Rebekah went to God over her concerns of her children struggling in her womb: “But the children struggled together within her; and she said, ‘If it is so, why then am I this way?’ So she went to inquire of the Lord. The Lord said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb; and two peoples will be separated from your body; and one people shall be stronger than the other; and the older shall serve the younger.”
God gave her the plan because He knew that she was able, as an observant third party, to see to its fulfillment.
Herein lies the power of a loving, godly mother; as a helpmate to her husband, she can be an observer evaluating the approach of the father to the reaction of the children encouraging each into obedience to God and His ways.
What is more important to a society than a selfless, godly, and loving mother? A mother like Rebekah is to be celebrated.
It is interesting to note.
It is interesting to note that in Genesis 27, Isaac appears to be about ready to die, and then after he blesses Jacob, he appears to have had a miracle healing.
Isaac does not die until some 25-30 years later (in Genesis 35) after Rebekah had already died. Isaac was in the condition he was in because he was disobedient to God.
I believe God would have never allowed Isaac to actually bless Esau, maybe even killing Isaac if it came to it.
We will never know for it was the faithful Rebekah, who put God’s plan back on track and maybe even saved Isaac’s life.
How the world needs women like Rebekah! Women who have the time, the godly inclinations, the faithfulness, and selflessness to follow God’s word.
7. A mother advocates for her children.
Matthew 20:20-22: “Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. And He said to her, ‘What do you wish?’ She said to Him, ‘Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.’”
Wow, who else but a mother would have asked Jesus to command her two grown sons to sit on either side of Him in His kingdom?
Mothers advocating and pushing their children into success, and why not?
Women, in general, have been teaching men the finer points of love and tenderness since the beginning.
Men tend to be on the go looking to conquer new territories. We look out for ourselves, but it is usually a woman who causes us to settle down.
It is the foolish man who does not seek out women for their sincere, honest, loving, caring, and godly ways.
God made us male and female, and with the definition of male and female comes with it the roles of each.
I will leave you with the description of the words ‘father’ and ‘mother’ in the pictures of the Proto-Sinaitic language of the original ancient Hebrew.
Proto-Sinaitic: the words ‘father’ and ‘mother’ in the oldest of all languages:
The Proto-Sinaitic word for father (ab): Based on the pictures, they represent aleph and beyt.
The aleph is represented by the ox-head, which means strength. A figure of a house represents the beyt. So together, they are strength/leader + house. In other words, the father is the “strength or leader of the house.”
The Proto-Sinaitic word for mother (eym): This is spelled aleph and mem.
The aleph is represented by the ox-head, which again means strength. A picture of water represents the mem. So, the mother is strength/strong + water.
The mother is the “strong water” or glue that holds the family together.
A great mom and dad according to God’s word.
A godly mom and dad are an unstoppable force!
They are two people who unselfishly obey what God is asking of them while allowing each other to be themselves – in the roles that God made them. Together they can lead a family but also provide care, and nurture for them.
In our next blog, we are still busy with the fifth commandment. In it, we will look at the roles of husband and wife.