Ephesians 5:32. However, each of you must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
This line of thought arises out of our consideration of the 5th commandment. I am returning to the theme of the family briefly, because of the integral role the family plays in our national life. Societies cohere together only when normal responsible family life is encouraged and supported. I have already made the point that respect for authority in a general and wide sense begins in the home when the adults respect each other and the children are taught to respect their elders. This is the fundamental starting point for the development of respect. I know this is not always a popular concept in our modern age, but consider what we are witnessing in our society world-wide. Here at home children are killed and thrown on rubbish heaps, around the world children fight each other, shoot each other and stab each other. In many places teaching in school becomes almost impossible because of unruly children and teenagers. What has happened? There may be many aspects in the answer to that question but surely one huge, significant factor is the failure of the family unit.
Traditional families have been maligned and undermined for years. The very word “family” has come to mean almost anything – odd assortments of people living together under one roof whether married or not, heterosexual or homosexual – almost any composition of individuals are called “family”.
As we move into a discussion on family failure and the challenge to fathers to take the lead, I want you to notice the order in which God places the family. When He talks about honouring fathers and mothers, he places fathers first. Although this concept is almost totally rejected in many quarters today, it remains the biblical position.
The Bible makes a man the head of the family. This is not a superiority, but rather a function. We can’t all be in charge and there can only be one chief in the family. God has placed the responsibility for this upon the man. The Israelite family was patriarchal. Genealogical lines of families were always traced according to the father’s line, never the mother’s line – not because the mothers were unimportant, but simply because God places the responsibility for the family first and foremost upon the father.
I know that in this day and age statements like the above sound archaic and retrograde. It may even sound chauvinistic and discriminating, but it is most definitely not so. Rather, correctly understood it provides a good pattern for orderly family management when it is adhered to humbly.
There must be order in society and that order cannot be made up by us. We have tried that and the results are plain for all to see. Let’s listen to God’s order for a change. His instructions for orderly family living, places a huge responsibility upon the father and that orderliness is finally carried out into the wider society. In what way the father should carry out this responsibility we will see tomorrow.
Almighty God, we thank you that in the midst of the turmoil in our society you have not left us without instructions. Please help us to take your teachings seriously, and to live orderly lives to the glory of your name. Amen