by: Barbara Grande
I like football because it reminds me so much of life as life should be lived. The players are motivated to move forward no matter the cost. They are knocked down, pushed back, and injured, but they do their very best to get back in the game and reach their goal. The cheering crowd is always there too, doing what they can to encourage their team through all sorts of challenging weather. Neither team lets the opposition get them off track, no matter how grim the outlook.
There are couples and families I know of personally who remind me of football. They are united, share the same goals, move forward no matter the cost, cheer each other on, live a life of service to others in their home and abroad, and score big for God’s glory.
My goal is to have that kind of family. One that “presses toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) This goal became a very real challenge to me while reading about a father in the Bible named Jonadab the son of Rechab. Jeremiah 35, tells us that his children had wine set in front of them and they were told to drink it. They refused stating that their father commanded them not to drink wine. Neither were they to build homes, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyards, nor have any all their lives. Later in this chapter, we see that God used them as an example of obedience before the disobedient children of Israel. Here was a family during a very dark period in Israel, who faithfully obeyed their father’s command, yet His own children chose to disobey Him. As a result, God promised the children of the Rechabites that they would have a man to stand before Him forever. After reading this passage, I shared it with my husband. He was very interested in this story. He dug deeper, and discovered a gold mine. We learned that Jehonadab, the first son of Rechab, was an Arab of Palestine. He made friends with Israel and decided to follow their God with all his heart. He is mentioned in 2 Kings 10:15 when Jehu asked, “Is thine heart right, as my heart (is) with thy heart?” Jehonadab replied, “It is.” Jehu then said to him in verse 16, “Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord.” Jehonadab went with Jehu and cleaned up God’s house. We also learned that Jehonadab gave the command to his sons not to drink wine, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyards, nor have them 300 years before the incident mentioned in Jeremiah 35. For 300 years his sons, their wives, and their sons and daughters had obeyed his commands. Because of God’s promise that they would always have a man to stand before Him forever, we have to conclude that somewhere in this world there is a descendant of Jehonadad standing for Him in spirit and truth. When we learned of this victorious family, what a testimony and challenge it was to me and my family.
To have a family like the Rechabites does not just happen by chance. Surely, Jehonadab made some decisions which he stood by and did not budge. His wife, children and their descendants kept those commands as well. As stated in Jeremiah 35:8, “Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our father in all that he hath charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, nor our daughters.” As a wife and mother of six, I know it is not always easy or convenient to abide by God’s commands. It is so very easy to get distracted and off track. If we are determined to be faithful till the end, it is going to take commitment.
Earlier in this article, some couples and families were mentioned whom I consider to be winners. They have overcome the temptation of this world to quit. God has used them to influence others to stand for Him in spirit and truth. Here are some lessons I have learned from them that have helped me to follow my husband, keep our family focused on doing God’s will, and enjoy an abundant life together too.
1. Do not neglect time spent with God in Bible reading and prayer.
I have discovered through Bible reading that God cares very much about our struggles as women, wives and mothers. He heard Hannah’s prayer and gave her a son. He cared about Hagar (a forsaken wife and mother) and Ishmael (her son), and tenderly cared for them when Sarah cast them out into the desert. He provided for widows and took notice of their sacrifices. He healed children. He gave hope and another chance to Rahab the harlot. He tells us to cast our cares on Him for He cares for us. When you discover that God is really for you, the only direction you will be going is forward for Him.
Prayer is an opportunity to lift up our family, church and country before Him, and need I say, each is in dire need of His divine help today. Prayer will also give you a vision for God, and that vision will help you to stay on track.
2. Have Bible time and prayer as a family.
This time is so worth the effort. Our children are young adults now (with the exception of our youngest) but from the time they were infants, we have prayed and read our Bibles together, and it has helped us to care for each other all the more. It also kept us focused on doing God’s will, and reminded us to care about others outside of our home.
3. Get involved in your local Bible believing church.
Hebrews 10:24-25 exhorts us “to consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manners of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
4. Encourage your children to serve in your church.
When they are young they are eager to serve, so let them serve in a way that is appropriate for their age.
Teach them how to get along with others and forgive. The best way to do this is to be an example yourself. I know the temptation to say something unkind or seek revenge. That kind of behavior will only hurt the spirit of a church and discourage many, especially our children who are watching. If prayer and Bible reading are neglected this will be very hard to do.
5. Love, respect and enjoy your spouse and children.
A happy home more often than not encourages your children to want to carry on God’s purpose for their lives. So, have fun with your family on an individual basis and together.
Have a time alone with your spouse each week. Use that time to discuss family issues if necessary, but most of all, let it be a time of relaxation and pleasant conversation.
Every day tell your family that you love them. Do something out of the ordinary for your spouse that says, “I love and appreciate you.” Place your young children on your lap and assure them of your love and God’s love for them. The best time for this is before they go to bed. That is when they seem to need you the most. A kind human touch produces a hormone that promotes well being and gives them the assurance they need. As your children get older, never push them away or seem annoyed when they want to hug you or just be near you. Be approachable to your whole family, this will not be so difficult if you are spending time in your Bible and prayer. Our God is always forgiving and full of tender mercies. Why should we not treat our family the same way?
Practice good manners at home and everywhere you go. Words such as “thank you,” “please,” “may I,” “excuse me” are not expressed as often as they should be. Let us do our part in keeping these practices alive by passing them on to our children.
The foundation to faithfulness is Bible, prayer, church attendance and service to others (in your home and abroad). With a healthy dose of all these we can be like the Rechabites, committed till the end, and our homes will be sweeter indeed when each lives for the other and all live for God.