Jonathan and Sarah Edwards had ten dedicated, godly children. A study of their 729 descendents over five generations showed that 300 were preachers, 65 were college professors, 13 were university presidents (this was in the days when colleges and universities were godly institutions), 60 were authors, 3 were congressmen, and one was a vice president. By contrast, the ungodly Mack Duke and his brother married sisters, and the study of their 1026 descendants over five generations showed that 300 died an early death from wicked living, 140 spent an average of 13 years in the penitentiary, 190 were prostitutes, and 100 were alcoholics. It cost the State of New York $1,200,000 to take care of all those derelicts.
Needless to say, our parenting has consequences. Dad, do you see the future of your family as YOUR responsibility? Do you see the future of your church as YOUR responsibility? Do you see the future of your country as YOUR responsibility?
Ezekiel 22:30 says, “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.”
What charts the future of families? What might we say is the line of demarcation between “success” and “failure,” as defined not by the world but by the Lord Jesus.
- Success & failure are not financially determined– Judges 6:15, 8:20- Money does not guarantee a blessed family. It cannot buy what is needed most, but what is needed most is made available to rich and poor free of charge.
You might even consider the family of our blessed Lord. Luke 2:24 certifies that Mary and Joseph brought turtledoves as an offering to the Lord. Someone said that our Saviour, by coming in a state of poverty, has shown that it is not dishonorable to be poor. No station is dishonorable where “God” places us. Consider II Corinthians 8:9.
Consider Luke 16 and the accounts of the rich man and the beggar. God undoubtedly shows us a contrast of those two men!
- Success & failure are not socially determined– Take two authors of inspired Scripture. First, you have Paul, who, according to Philippians chapter 3, was a Hebrew of Hebrews, of the tribe of Benjamin, of the stock of Israel. Then, you have Amos, a southern farmer from Tekoa.
- Success & failure are not scholastically determined. Education is not the answer. Many have gone to private schools, Ivy-league educated, and so forth, and succeeded to Hell, and many an illiterate in the jungles of a distant land are residents of Heaven. Education is not the answer.
Let us hear from the word of God for a moment: (Deut. 30:19-20)
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
Getting serious about fatherhood is recognizing three truths; being genuine, being generational and being godly.
We do not need perfect fathers; we need a revival of real fathers with a developing heart for the things of God. How simple does that sound to us? Just be real!
We are not to be fake, phony, formulated…no masks…make-up or manipulation….no shroud…no surface stuff…Just real men with a real heart for God overcoming real problems by the Word of God! It is my expectation that my children are not looking for a perfect Dad. If they are saved, they have one of those in Heaven!
Those in ministry I have spoken to with families that honor God ALL say the same thing- BE REAL! Do not be a fake or phony. What you are in public is what you are to be in private. Be real!
Part of being genuine is having a plan and a purpose. Most men have career goals, personal goals or fitness goals. Being manly is striving for greater things, becoming better or more equipped. Why not our families? Do not live a life of vision without devising a scriptural vision for your family!
Would you develop a family mission statement?
The purpose of the family God has entrusted to me is to serve God faithfully and joyfully by…
- finding the specific calling of God for each of my four children
- training them up in the way that they should go
- maintaining and cultivating a thriving relationship with my wife so that when our children are grown we are lovingly connected together.
- Our purpose is not only to be saved and church-going, but soul-winning and church-growing agents.
From the earliest days of the domestic narrative, two distinct lines begin their formation in Scripture. The godly line and the ungodly line. Adam and Eve had two children, Cain and Abel. Cain and Abel were two divergent people with two divergent professions but two divergent “programs” of atonement.
Cain brought of the fruit of the ground, and Abel brought an animal sacrifice to God. Abel was accepted but Cain was not accepted. Although both boys had learned biblical atonement from their father (Genesis 3:21), Cain chose to go it his own way.
In anger he slays his brothers, the godly seed, and you can hear the excitement of Hell, as Psalm 12:1 became the life verse of the damned, “Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.”
Chapter four of Genesis begins with an EXECUTION [of Abel] but ends with an EXTENSION [the birth of Seth]. Verse 25 says, “And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: for God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.”
It was the extension of this godly line we must consider. That from father to son must be carried on the ways and proper worship of God. Scripture is full of such references (Psalm 78:2-4, Deuteronomy 6:2, 7, 20, II Timothy 2:1-2, Psa_71:18; Deu_11:19; Jos_4:6-7, Jos_4:21-24).
We must get serious about getting the truth to the next generation, beginning at home.
Every father should desire to reflect the nature of God to his children and not be ashamed to see the righteous things he has done before God reflected in the lives of his children.
America’s fatherless home is the greatest calamity to sweep our land. Let’s get serious! Let’s get sober! Let’s get scriptural! Let’s stand for our families!