“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (read 6:6-9)
God’s Design for the Family (4 Snap Shots)
1. A haven of worship
In the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) God teaches us that we are to worship Him comprehensively- with all of life. He immediately follows these verses with clear instruction of how, when, and where this command is to be lived out, taught, and passed on from generation to generation. Clearly the weight of responsibility falls upon parents and it is within the context of the family that the Shema is lived out. Parents, you are the cultural architect of your home. You are to create an environment within the context of the home in order to worship God. Through the Shema God is teaching His people that worship is a 24-7 experience. We have so compartmentalized our lives that we somehow think worship is something that takes place on Sunday mornings and no other time. You never see that in the Bible! Teach your children about private worship- personal worship- worship as life. From a very early age teach your children to pray. Pray with your children. Ask, “What are you worried about? What are you really glad about? Let’s talk to God about that.” The home is to be a haven of worship.
2. A refuge of relationships
Notice, all of this is done together, in the context of life-giving relationships. I call it a “refuge” because the home should be the place where we’re loved for free. Moms, dads, and children are facing relational challenges all day long, often in a harsh and hostile world. We need to find a refuge of understanding and love in the home. Every spouse would do well to ask the question: “What’s it like being married to me?” Every parent should ask the question: “What is it like being my child?” What does my child hear from me? What do they see in me? My life is setting the pace for the kind of environment that is found in my home. By watching me what are my children learning about core values- such as honesty, generosity, perseverance, consistency, responsibility, forgiveness, prayer, and discipline? The home is a refuge for life-giving relationships.
3. A school of instruction
Notice in Deuteronomy 6 the training and teaching taking place is done in the home. This is God’s design. The home is a seminary, a “seed bed” for theological instruction. When we transfer the responsibility of the spiritual nurturing of our children to the church, our kids become “spiritual orphans”. Our kids become spiritual schizophrenics, taught the Word of God at church but at home it’s rarely mentioned. Partner with the church. Be consistent in church attendance, but never abdicate the spiritual formation of your children off to someone else.
4. A place of grace
The home is to be a place where each member is loved with the unconditional and lavish love of God. The home is the place where forgiveness always prevails! You can let your guard down and be loved for free in the home. In the end, we see God’s dream to form a community of people, centered on His love. His dream to have a family that would love freely and be so radically inclusive that every person would be drawn in like a magnet to Him. He dreams of a place where people are embraced with all of their sin and failure and loved into a relationship with God through Christ and then set free into their God-given mission in the world. The home is to be like God’s Church. The Church is a family, filled brothers and sisters- of all nationalities, races, places in life- and God is our Father. Indeed the Church is the very family of God.