Next to God and His Word, my family is my most prized possession. They truly are a gift from God. Nothing and no one brings me joy like my family does.
Psalm 128:1-4 says, Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labor of thine hands: happy shalt thou be and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord.
Many times I have gone into someone’s house and seen a decoration of some sort with the words “home sweet home” on it. When you see that, you know what it means—this is the place we call home, and there is nothing like it.
Dr. Lillian B. Yeoman, a highly respected leader in the healing revival, referred to this psalm as the “home sweet home” psalm, and I agree wholeheartedly with her—it does not get any sweeter than having my wife and children with me. The psalm is a picture of the way God intended for the family to operate, and it contains promises to the man who fears the Lord.
It is interesting that God connected the fear of the Lord with a man’s natural family. The fear of the Lord is not a hard thing to understand—it is simply seeking God and His Word for direction and answers above ALL other sources.
Proverbs 9:10 says The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom… It takes wisdom to raise a family, and it takes wisdom to keep a family. In the book of Proverbs the word “wisdom” is found 54 times, and the word “wise” is found 65 times. It is obvious that understanding and operating in wisdom is of utmost importance to God, and I want to give you some characteristics of a wise man.
- The wise man has respect for God and His Word. There is a difference between relationship and respect. There are those in the Body of Christ who have a relationship with God but have no respect for what He says. If they did, they would not talk and act the way they do. Proverbs 1:7 says, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Notice knowledge begins with fear and respect for God. If you don’t have respect for God and His Word, you are not wise and you will not reap the benefits of wisdom. You must be willing to receive instruction from the Word of God.
- The wise man listens and learns. Proverbs 1:5 says, A wise man will hear, and will increase in learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsel. The wise man is the one who listens instead of talking. He is the one who hears what is being said. In dealing with the family, men tend to think they know everything and react in such a way that leaves this impression. Be cautious about this. Open your ears—both spiritual and natural—and listen.
- The wise man values and controls his words. Proverbs 10:19 says, In the multitude of words, there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. Control your lips, your tongue and your words if you want to be wise. People get in the habit of saying things without really thinking, and that is dangerous. You can NEVER take back your words. We have to feed the Word of God into our hearts, then learn to talk out of our hearts instead of just off the top of our heads. The wise person’s heart instructs his lips.
- The wise man prepares for the future. Wise people don’t just stumble around with the idea that whatever the day brings is okay. The wise man looks ahead and prepares. There is a time for harvest, and the wise man will keep this in mind. When children are young, that is the time to plant. They grow up faster than you realize, and when they do, you want a great harvest as a result of the good seeds you sowed into them. Phyllis and I purposed to take every opportunity available to sow the Word into our children when they were young. Today, we see them doing the same thing with their children—how rewarding that is! The seed of God’s Word is to be planted with the future in mind.
I recognize that children can sometimes do things we never imagined they would do, but don’t let that deter you from what the Word says. The enemy knows that the most likely avenue he can use to get you off course with God is to come against your kids, but that does NOT mean he wins. Continue to follow the instruction in Psalm 128—fear the Lord and walk in HIS ways. Respond in love and compassion to your family and be the peacemaker. Remember that harvest time is coming, and you will experience great blessing where your family is concerned.
To all you fathers, I pray that your Father’s Day is one in which you will experience the fruit of your labor. Enjoy your families! Recount how great the Lord has been to you. Finally, let’s all take time to give honor and praise to the Father of fathers. He is so good to us all and deserves ALL of our praise and honor.