The Dancing Puritan

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Case For Family Worship

Are you stuck in the present? After all there are bills to pay and schedules to meet. You may be finding it difficult to think much beyond the next hour. You certainly cannot live anywhere but the present because the past is gone and the future is not yet. However, you might be so stuck in the present that you are missing the bigger picture. That can be true in every area of life including family life.

Much of what we learn about the family in Scripture is from a Hebrew perspective. Hebrew family life was deeply rooted in the past and was purposeful about the future. Where did the Jewish people develop such a multi-generational perspective? Their visionary outlook on family life came directly from God.

Deuteronomy chapter 6 describes Israel’s theology and practice on many fronts, including the family. The Israelites were to know and love God. They were to remember the promises that God had made to their forefathers (3). The fathers imbibed the truth about God and allowed it to burn with the hot iron of conviction upon their hearts so that they could teach their sons and grandsons.

When you engage in family worship you embrace a multi-generational view of family life. Your vision dips into history where you meditate on God’s faithfulness to ages past. Standing on a firm historical foundation you then invest biblical truth in the present generation with the objective of making a godly impact on future generations.

The Hebrew view of family life embraced an age-to-age philosophy. God taught their forefathers. The forefathers passed the faith down to their children. The children passed the faith onward to their children. You must do the same.

Resting on that foundation, consider this biblical framework for family worship.

Visionary Thinking is Essential in Family Worship. Family Worship requires a look back to the lessons of biblical history and then a look forward to our grandchildren. We must learn to think beyond the next bill we have to pay.

Biblical Knowledge and Wisdom is Required in Family Worship. 

And these words that I command you today must be on your heart (Deuteronomy 6: 6). 

The truth that God is one and must be loved, feared, and obeyed first captured the hearts of the fathers who then passed the faith on to their children. J.A. Alexander in his book, Thoughts on Family Worship, wrote:
There is no member of a household whose individual piety is of such importance to all the rest as the father or head. Where the head of a family is lukewarm or worldly, he will send the chill through the whole house.
Diligence is Required When Leading Family Worship (6: 7-8). In leading family worship you are aiming to pierce the hearts of each member of your family with truth about God. When you lead your children to worship God you are seizing opportunities to teach at all times (sitting, walking, bedtime, morning) as well as more structured times of instruction. You look for ways to keep truth about God and the call to love Him constantly before the eyes of your family (8-9).

Blessings are Promised to Those Who Practice Family Worship. God gave promises specific to Israel (Deuteronomy 6: 2-3). The Apostle Paul lifts those promises and applies them to Christian parents and their children (Ephesians 6). You have every reason to be hopeful for the spiritual well-being of your children as you lovingly and joyfully expose them to God.

What are some of the reasons that you should engage in family worship?

In the midst of plenty (or lack) there is the temptation to forget God (Deuteronomy 6:10-12; Proverbs 30:8-9). Family Worship is an important arrow in the quiver of God's truth that you can draw from to hit the bull’s eye of memory. Your aim is to stir up, in every member of your family, an active remembrance of God.

We are constantly tempted to worship other gods (Deuteronomy 6:14-15). Other gods can take the form of a job, technology, sports, popularity, people, or anything else. A god is what we devote an inordinate amount of our time, money, energy, and we invest hope in. We are idol worshippers when we buy into the promises of peace, prosperity, popularity, or whatever the god may be offering. Family Worship is a reminder that God is to be the sole object of our faith and obedience.

We are challenged with the idea that God is not trustworthy (6:16-17). Family Worship provides an opportunity to learn from biblical history that God, who was faithful in ages past, is faithful now, and will be faithful in ages to come.

Family Worship gives us opportunity to declare the gospel (6:20-25). As Hebrew parents recounted how God delivered them from Egyptian slavery to the Promise Land; you have a similar opportunity to recount how you were delivered from slavery to sin, are being delivered daily from the power of sin, and will one day be delivered to heaven where there is no sin.

Is Family Worship worthy of your time? Yes! From age-to-age God’s design is that we declare "the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done” (Psalm 78:4).

Remember the past. Engage the present. Invest in generations to come.

Ray Rhodes is President of Nourished in the Word Ministries and Books That Nourish. He leads family worship conferences and marriage retreats and serves as pastor of Grace Community Church in Dawsonville, GA.. He is married to Lori and they have six daughters. Ray is the author of seven books including three on Family Worship. You can order Ray's books at Books That Nourish