The ark has arrived in Jerusalem and David has been celebrating and praising the Lord for this tangible evidence that God has come among His people. After his celebratory praise we read Then all the people left, each for their own home, and David returned home to bless his family (1 Chron. 16:43). I want to focus on David here and learn:
- Church and home are not enemies in the service of God. David had enjoyed His time in the Lord;s place with the Lord’s people, but now it was time to return home. So we learn that there is a time for each.
- Moreover, we learn that the time celebrating with the Lord’s people was actually beneficial for his home life. He would now go home and be a blessing. The spiritual energy developed “in church” would be expended for God among his family. Church and family can and should go together. this means that that the family do not begrudge Dad being in church, but rather love it because they know that blessings are bestowed to them as a result.
- He actually went home. He was not a stay-away husband and dad. He was there among his family. It is a disastrous development for our society that Dad’s are absent from families. Dear brother in Christ you need to have time in your family.
- He goes home to bless. There seems to be a purpose here. He actually goes into the home with a goal of blessing. This means interaction with your wife and children. It means that you purpose to do good.
- He wants to serve. Many husbands and fathers treat home as a hotel where they get board and lodging and a bit of pampering. But no! It should not be. Home is to be a place where I engage and bring blessing.
If you are a Christian man anticipating being married then be aware of the call for you to caringly lead your wife. I particularly want to urge you to think about your responsibility to lead your wife spiritually. Your wife will flourish through your exercise of servant leadership. If you wimp out and expect her to lead spiritually or if you act out the domineering tyrant role you have failed in the godly call upon you.
So what are you to do?:
- You are to lead your wife in church attendance. Church on a Sunday should not be greeted with a should we or shouldn’t we dilemma. Rather, unless health, hazard or hardship get in the way you will be there. I particularly urge husbands to think about your first Lord’s Day together as husband and wife. I find it shocking that a husband would cop-out and not make sure that the first Sunday morning of marriage finds them among God’s people to worship the Lord.
- Right from the start make your home a place of worship. You must be leading in this. There should not be a day ever that goes by without you and your wife praying together. Furthermore, you must make sure you read and study the Word together.
Many husbands see it as the main responsibility in marriage to get their wife to submit to them. The relevant scripture says this:
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Eph. 5:21-27)
What do we learn here?
- Relationships between husbands and wives derive their character from v21 which says: submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. In fact v21 is the controlling verse for the ensuing relationships as described in Eph 6:1-9 between parents and children and masters and slaves.
- In marriage there should be this attitude of mutual submission. The husband willingly gives up his rights for the benefit of the wife and vice versa.
- The wife displays this attitude through her submitting to her own husband.
- The husband displays his willingness to give up all for his wife by loving her as Christ loved the church. This is love in its fullness. Our Lord’s love meant that he gave up his life for the church. That is the call to the husband.
- The call upon the husband is not then to get His wife to subject herself to himself. The call of the husband is to give himself for his wife.
- Never does the Word say that the husband’s duty is to get his wife to submit to him. Many men seem to think that this is their “cause” in life. They aspire to a state where their wife is in complete submission to them and view that as their great goal.
- What husbands should be doing rather is striving, with all the enabling of their LORD, to love their wives sacrificially desiring the good for her in every way.
- The more that a husband advances in love then the more he will see his wife responding delightedly to submit to him
- This does not take away from the fact that there are times when husband and wife have to speak about how they relate to one another. This will mean, that for good and proper order, there are times when the husband will ask his wife about her responding to him in submission. This is particularly necessary in bringing up children for example. The children need to know how the relationships function in the home.
So we conclude that the focus of the husband’s role is to love his wife. Surely we men have got enough to ponder upon in seeking to achieve that. Oh LORD please be my helper to be a loving husband.
(Originally published at Venabling on 26th February 2014)
If you are a husband then you are to be a pastor to your wife. You have a primary duty to be the one who shepherds your wife so that she flourishes and developes in the Lord. You are to protect and provide for her. You are to lead her and your marriage into places where she is well fed and watered. So you must make sure that you are in a church where the Word of the Lord and fellowship in the Lord and service of the Lord is strong.
You have a responsibility to see your wife develop to the glory of God. Her godliness and usefulness is what you self-sacrificially work for. So, as Paul says in Ephesians 5:25-29
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church.
And when you see your wife moving for the Lord it should bring you great joy. John says To the lady chosen by God in 2 John v 4 It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. And so it should be for ourselves, fellow husbands. We do not fear that they might outshine us spiritually or make more impact for the Lord than us. Such thinking is not in our minds because we want her honour and not our honour.
I remember it from probably around 1989 /1990. I was sat in the home of Mr and Mrs Hinton in Ickenham. Mr Hinton was out. Upon his return he immediately went to his wife and kissed her. At this time they would both have been in their late sixties, I reckon. Mr Hinton was a very reserved man, but with an eminently godly character. And he walked in and kissed his wife right in front of me.
So what did all this mean? Two things I want to ponder upon.
The Message To His Wife.
He had been out, but he wanted her to know right away that to be back with his wife was a delight. He wanted her to know that she was the darling of his heart, in human terms. When a husband is conveying such a message to his wife he is providing a healthy environment wherein she can flourish. She knows she has a man who is committed to her. She knows that he is one who cares for her and longs for all that is good in her life.
The Message To All Others.
You might say that this should have been kept private. But knowing that I was sat there right in front of them did not deter him from showing this affection. He was unashamed in declaring that he had deep affection for this woman. This conveys a strong message to all others that he is not interested in any other woman; he is truly the one woman man of 1 Timothy 3:2. Husbands, your children should know, through appropriate displays of physical affection towards their mother that she is special to you.
Now, I am not saying that every husband has to practise what Mr Hinton did. But I am saying that the implications of what Mr Hinton did are worth thinking about.
One of the things for couples to think about when they start to “go steady” together is their conduct towards one another. A basic principle upon them starting to go out together is that they do so with the anticipation that this relationship may lead to marriage. It would be my contention that no Christian couple should link up together unless they have some thought that their relationship may lead to marriage. Of course it may not, but there should be this awareness.
Accordingly the couple will, in their days before marriage, be thoughtful to set themselves to operate in accord with the principles that operate for a married couple. Men do not just become godly servant leaders when they sign the marriage register, and similarly ladies do not become devoted to and respectful of their husbands upon saying “I do”. Therefore, if before marriage these things have not been seen then either party must be concerned and if necessary pull out of the relationship.
To be clear here there are obviously aspects of a relationship which should only be found in marriage such as the sexual aspect. But the ways of operating should be happening right from the beginning of the relationship being forged.
One of the implications of all this is that praying together and reading Scripture together should be embedded within the relationship from the earliest days. Good habits are best started at the beginning. Trying to introduce them later is always hard.