July 17, 2011 – July 23, 2011
“For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord.” Genesis 18:19.
Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 125, 140–144.
“One well-ordered, well-disciplined family is a greater power in demonstrating the efficiency of Christianity than all the sermons in the world.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1118.
1 THE EXAMPLE OF ABRAHAM
- How did Abraham order his household? Genesis 18:19; 26:5. What promise was given to him and to us if we follow the same guidelines? Genesis 28:14; Galatians 3:6–9.
Note: “Of Abraham it is written that ‘he was called the friend of God’ [James 2:23]. … It is God that speaks. He who understands the thoughts afar off, and places the right estimate upon men, says, ‘I know him.’ ” Patriarchs and Prophets, 140, 141.
- What were Abraham’s and his wife’s attitudes? Hebrews 11:8–11.
Note: “Abraham’s unquestioning obedience is one of the most striking evidences of faith to be found in all the Bible. … Relying upon the divine promise, without the least outward assurance of its fulfillment, he abandoned home and kindred and native land, and went forth, he knew not whither, to follow where God should lead.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 126.
- How did Abraham lead so many individuals in the right way? Psalm 145:18.
Note: “Abraham, ‘the friend of God,’ set us a worthy example. His was a life of prayer.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 128.
2 WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE WELL-ORDERED?
- Describe heaven’s first law. I Corinthians 14:40.
Note: “Order is heaven’s first law, and the Lord desires His people to give in their homes a representation of the order and harmony that pervade the heavenly courts. Truth never places her delicate feet in a path of uncleanness or impurity.” Counsels on Health, 101.
- How do we teach this? Romans 2:21.
Note: “Begin early to teach the little ones. … This work of teaching neatness and order will take a little time each day, but it will pay in the future of your children, and in the end it will save you much time and care.” Child Guidance, 111.
- If we have not been taught these habits, how can we learn them? James 1:5; Psalm 25:9, 12.
Note: “Help must be given … to those who seem to have no sense of the meaning and importance of cleanliness. They are to be taught that those who are to represent the high and holy God must keep their souls pure and clean, and that this purity must extend to their dress and to everything in their home, so that the ministering angels will have evidence that the truth has wrought a change in the life, purifying the soul and refining the tastes. Those who, after receiving the truth, make no change in word or deportment, in dress or surroundings, are living to themselves, not to Christ.” The Adventist Home, 22.
- What else is included in the concept of godly order? Psalm 108:2; I Thessalonians 5:5–8.
Note: “How prevalent is the habit of turning day into night, and night into day. Many youth sleep soundly in the morning, when they should be up with the early singing birds and be stirring when all nature is awake. …
“If the youth would form habits of regularity and order, they would improve in health, in spirits, in memory, and in disposition.” Child Guidance, 111, 112.
- What did Jesus teach us about the small details of life? Luke 16:10; 24:1–3, 12; John 20:7.
Note: “They [the disciples] saw the shroud and the napkin, but they did not find their Lord. Yet even here was testimony that He had risen. The graveclothes were not thrown heedlessly aside, but carefully folded, each in a place by itself. … It was Christ Himself who had placed those graveclothes with such care. … In His sight who guides alike the star and the atom, there is nothing unimportant. Order and perfection are seen in all His work.” The Desire of Ages, 789.
- Where is this to be implemented? Numbers 24:5–7.
Note: “The home must be kept pure and clean. Unclean, neglected corners in the house will tend to make impure, neglected corners in the soul. …
“If parents desire their children to be pure, they must surround them with pure associations such as God can approve.” Child Guidance, 114.
“Remember that in heaven there is no disorder, and that your home should be a heaven here below. Remember that in doing faithfully from day to day the little things to be done in the home, you are a laborer together with God, perfecting a Christian character.” Ibid., 110.
“The house of God is often desecrated, and the Sabbath violated by Sabbath-believers’ children. In some cases they are even allowed to run about the house, play, talk, and manifest their evil tempers in the very meetings where the saints should worship God in the beauty of holiness. And the place that should be holy, and where a holy stillness should reign, and where there should be perfect order, neatness, and humility, is made to be a perfect Babylon, ‘confusion.’ This is enough to bring God’s displeasure and shut His presence from our assemblies.” Ibid., 540.
“While we are to guard against needless adornment and display, we are in no case to be careless and indifferent in regard to outward appearance. All about our persons and our homes is to be neat and attractive. The youth are to be taught the importance of presenting an appearance above criticism, an appearance that honors God and the truth.” Counsels on Health, 102.
4 GOOD DISCIPLINE
- What does discipline mean and what is its purpose? Hebrews 12:7–13.
Note: “If you want the blessing of God, parents, do as did Abraham. Repress the evil, and encourage the good. Some commanding may be necessary in the place of consulting the inclination and pleasure of the children.
“To allow a child to follow his natural impulses is to allow him to deteriorate and to become proficient in evil. Wise parents will not say to their children, ‘Follow your own choice; go where you will, and do what you will’; but, ‘Listen to the instruction of the Lord.’ Wise rules and regulations must be made and enforced, that the beauty of the home life may not be spoiled.” Child Guidance, 234.
- What is the difference between punishment and training? Deuteronomy 21:18–21; Proverbs 22:6.
Note: “Children are the heritage of the Lord, and unless parents give them such a training as will enable them to keep the way of the Lord, they neglect solemn duty.” Child Guidance, 229.
“Parents, you should commence your first lesson of discipline when your children are babes in your arms. Teach them to yield their will to yours. This can be done by bearing an even hand and manifesting firmness. Parents should have perfect control over their own spirits and, with mildness and yet firmness, bend the will of the child until it shall expect nothing else but to yield to their wishes.” Ibid., 230.
- What is the result if we are unbalanced in our training? Proverbs 13:24.
Note: “The parent or teacher who … trains the child to self-control will be the most useful and permanently successful. …
“To direct the child’s development without hindering it by undue control should be the study of both parent and teacher. Too much management is as bad as too little. The effort to ‘break the will’ of a child is a terrible mistake. Minds are constituted differently; while force may secure outward submission, the result with many children is a more determined rebellion of the heart.” Child Guidance, 209, 210.
5 THE WAY TO GO
- How do we know what to do? Jeremiah 33:3; Isaiah 30:21; Proverbs 3:5–7.
- Why can we be sure we are not alone in following God’s counsels to train up our children both in the family and in the church? Isaiah 41:10; 40:28–31; Philippians 2:13.
Note: “Your compassionate Redeemer is watching you with love and sympathy, ready to hear your prayers and to render you the assistance which you need. …
“Parents may understand that as they follow God’s directions in the training of their children, they will receive help from on high. They receive much benefit; for as they teach, they learn. …
“Parents, are you working with unflagging energy in behalf of your children? The God of heaven marks your solicitude, your earnest work, your constant watchfulness. He hears your prayers. With patience and tenderness, train your children for the Lord. All heaven is interested in your work. … God will unite with you, crowning your efforts with success.” The Adventist Home, 204, 205.
“Even if the character, habits, and practices of parents have been cast in an inferior mold, if the lessons given them in childhood and youth have led to an unhappy development of character, they need not despair. The converting power of God can transform inherited and cultivated tendencies; for the religion of Jesus is uplifting. ‘Born again’, means a transformation, a new birth in Christ Jesus. …
“He knows that you are doing the best you can, and He will increase your power. He will Himself do the part of the work that the mother or father cannot do.” Ibid., 206, 207.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 What can you learn from Abraham regarding family training?
2 What is heaven’s first law and what does it include?
3 Explain the relationship between the little details of daily life and your spiritual condition.
4 What is true discipline?
5 How can you accomplish God’s design in your family?
Copyright © 2002 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.