The Man of the House

Psalm 128

This psalm a good companion / follow-up to previous – both address family issues. Present text has as primary focus: the man of the house. In this country, though, approx. 10 mil. single mothers in US, 4 of 10 children born to unwed mothers. Many of principles apply to head of home, regardless of gender, apply especially to the man… because of God’s design. Psalm begins with promise, ends with prayer. In between promise and prayer: the man of the house will be blessed if you keep a right attitude/approach/priority on these five things: God, work, family, country, the future.

Now a disclaimer: not applicable only to home where children still present. Definitely useful to people in all stages of life, regardless of family or home situation. Keep in mind for future if you’re not there yet. Encourage others who are there to follow God’s model. If applies directly to your situation, do your best to conform to ideal within parameters of where God has put you.

A. God v.1

duh, of course God should be first, but how?

all Christians know that to be true… intellectually; problem comes in living it out – setting priorities, making choices, consistently demonstrating so others can see

also true all Christians know can expect God’s blessing when he is first; problems with that, though – what kind of blessings, what if God isn’t first all the time

promise is that blessing follows obedience; God has prerogative to bless or not as he chooses, but… typically… and does so often with what holds little value for world

fear him

reverent regard for God tempered with awe and fear of punishment if we disobey him – fear of the Lord really is complete devotion to God

keeps us from doing stupid stuff, particularly things God has told us not to do – obedience that starts with loving God

need to be in a right relationship with him, which means we need to be forgiven sinners – must be trusting finished work of Christ, not own merits to properly fear God

follow him

the fear of God and the keeping of his law, are inseparable; and the root must necessarily produce its corresponding fruit. There is unquestionably no religion without the fear of God, and from this fear the Prophet represents our living according to the commandment and ordinance of God as proceeding.” Calvin

proper fear means God’s priorities are our priorities, following him means doing all things God’s way according to wisdom and discernment he supplies

iow, trust him… in everything… for everything

if God cannot be trusted in all things, he can be trusted in no-thing; right answer – he can be trusted, should be trusted in all areas of life, no matter large/small, public/private

is especially true of things the world speaks loudest about: relationships, child training, moral issues; where God’s truth pinches most is where world protests most

godly man/leader of the house will practice this and lead those in home to do the same, both in and out of the home

B. Work v.2

unlike Solomon, Ecclesiastes, work satisfies when God is first… in spite of the curse

Eccl. 2:22-23 “For what does a man get with all his work and all his efforts that he labors with under the sun?For all his days are filled with grief, and his occupation is sorrowful; even at night, his mind does not rest. This too is futile.”

God graciously gives satisfaction, sense of accomplishment when we approach work with biblical attitude about it

important to recognize – work was part of man’s original design: “be fruitful“, iow, “get to work”; God’s perfect design for mankind is that work be significant part of daily life

does not have to be work in return for income, should be productively occupied, producing with our labor; any governmental or institutional system that discourages work should be outlawed

should be the work God has called us to do

God not involved only in man’s original design, is in individual “personal” design – God has designed each to fit in particular place in his overall plan

God has called each individual to specific vocation, equipped them for that vocation, will give joy and satisfaction when they are occupied in it

done to 1) please God 2) meet responsibilities 3) satisfy godly desires

if seeking to follow vocation designed by God, believe “job” is one he provided, should work so as to please God first, then boss

true whether working for pay, volunteering, fulfilling duties in home, actively retired

should see it as God’s provision to meet our responsibilities to him first, then to others – God uses what we produce to supply need others have as well as our own

it may be God’s provision of way to satisfy our desires that are pleasing to him, things above and beyond actual need

and be sure to instill biblical work ethic in children by example and precept: teach not to expect handout, how to work, gift from God, etc.

C. Family v.3-4

is household / family a train wreck? check out dad, how does he measure up

examples abound, you can fill in family name blank with several different – doesn’t have to be deadbeat, abusive, absentee dad

many present in home, gainfully employed, failing to follow biblical principles and lead home in way pleasing to God

husband who loves his wife…. see what God enables her to do in response

husband who is doing first two right keeps priorities straight at home

“Through marriage we become one another’s hands, ears, and feet. Marriage doubles what had been weak. It is a great joy to our friends, a distress to our enemies. Sorrows shared hurt less; joys shared are sweeter for both; wealth brings greater joy to those who are like-minded. Marriage supplies a lock of self-control over desires and sets a seal on our natural need for friendship…. It is a drink from the household spring from which strangers cannot taste.” St. Gregory of Nazianzus, 4th cent.

wife who has safety and security godly husband brings to home will be attractive and productive, not just children, bringing beauty to home that has little to do with decor

father who trains up children, doesn’t exasperate them, uh-huh, they turn out well

remembers the goal – godly adults – through instruction, training, moves children toward goal, giving both help and responsibility

requires setting achievable goals, rewards for progress, adjusting goals as needed, working to develop necessary skills

applies to both practical and spiritual – healthy dose of both, always keeping in view: God sets standard, for both parents and children

are exceptions, however… God often works within Christian families to raise up more Christians; even if children don’t come to faith before leaving home, if all the rest is in place they will be employable and probably likable!

head of home who provides for his family – yup, a full table (on it and around it) and full plate of blessing

dad/provider keeps in mind – essential provision is active personal presence, providing leadership, example, strength….

message of great hope for the family: God promises productivity, blessing, a future to families committed to his model and method

D. Church and Country v.5

many of God’s blessings come only through the church – godly man of the house is man of God’s house

if God is priority… at start of list, should expect God’s house to be priority – seen as essential to life and health

don’t have to think long or hard to come up with good things we enjoy in the church, only in the church – faith-builders, fellowship

one of strongest indicators – whether children stay in church: godly dad committed to Christ and his church, teaching that to family by consistent example

proper response by godly man of house to God’s blessings: invest in spiritual children within the church, coming alongside other men, standing in for absent men

man God blesses is good citizen in both kingdoms – Christ’s kingdom and country of citizenship

understands that civil authority is established by God and carried out by sinners – civil servants have God-given mandate that may be in competition with personal desires and principles

is important that Christians recognize God expects his people to bring his truth into government – any wall of separation must not keep God out of government even if it keeps government out of church

right attitude toward citizenship of great importance when government is in serious moral decline… like our country now

for evil and evildoers to make progress, even prevail, all good men have to do is… nothing; godly man will do everything legitimate that God gives opportunity and equips for to restrain evil

does so for both present and future good of his family – providing for his family now, training children to be good future citizens

E. Future v.6

looks to the future

considers how interaction with children will bear fruit in grandchildren; stays involved to make sure grands are brought up right

“In the 18th century the goal of parents was to have their children survive to adulthood. In the 19th century, the goal of parents was for their children to get good jobs. In the 20th century, parents want their children to be happy.” Holwick In the 21st century, parents just want their children to leave!

and sees the future – blessed with “long” life

common expectation is that man of the house who does it God’s way will see results of his faithfulness; yes, are exceptions, but they are just that; study showed “regular worshipers live 10% longer than those who never attend” USA Today, 1999

also true, greatest blessings yet to come… in next life; however, God graciously and abundantly supplies many blessings now

just as family is building block of society, so peace in family will bring peace to nation; Jesus said “a house divided against itself cannot stand”; if blocks crumble, so also will what is built with those blocks

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