Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 8, 1971
NUMBER 38, PAGE 5c-6

God's Home-2

What Is The Home?

Jefferson David Tant

There are varied descriptions of the home. A boy says — "A place to eat;" a girl remarks — "Where I stay between midnight and daylight;" a wife declares — "Where I work the hardest and am appreciated the least;" a husband complains — "Where I am looked on as a money tree;" some families admit — "Where we fight our private battles with no holds barred;" a modern working man may sigh — "Where I meet my wife going out to work when I am coming in;" and some husbands and wives may confess — "Where we satisfy our fleshly appetites."

But in a more positive vein, these quotations give the brighter side: "Home is where our stomachs get three meals a day and our hearts a thousand;" "Home is where we complain the most and have the greatest blessings;" "Home is where the heart is, in dwellings great and small; and there is many a stately mansion, that isn't a home at all." Edgar A. Guest painted a beautiful picture in words with his poem, "Joys Of Home:"

Curling smoke from a chimney low, And only a few more steps to go.

Faces pressed at a window pane Watching for someone to come again.

And I am the someone they want to see —

These are the joys that life gives to me.

So let me come home at night and rest With those who know I have done my best;

Let the wife rejoice and my children smile, And I'll know by their love that I'm worthwhile.

For this is conquest and world success —

A home where abideth happiness.

In a more technical sense, the dictionaries variously describe the home as "One's dwelling place; that abiding place of one's family;" "The abiding place of the affections, especially domestic affections;" "One's native land or place;" "The social unit or center formed by a family living together;" etc. The Bible likewise uses the word in different senses: "A house or dwelling; the inhabited house" (Paul taught from "house to house," Acts 20:20); "A whole clan or tribe of people with a common ancestor" (. . ."lost sheep of the house of Israel, Matt. 10:6); "One house together with the property and possessions attached to it" ("Thou shalt be over my house. .," Gen. 41:40); "By metonymy, the inmates of a house, all the persons forming one family, a household," ("peace be to this house," Luke 10:5). This latter definition is the home we shall study, and includes not the dwelling, but the family unit, the home, whether in tent or castle.

The components of the home are, of course, the husband and/or father, the wife and/or mother (hence, marriage is usually a part of the home), and children, whether natural or adopted. The home with children is the particular concern of our study, although many of the matters to be discussed apply to any home.

The Bible teaches there are certain functions to be carried on at home, in the family sphere. It is a place to eat and drink (Acts 2:46; I Cor. 11:22,34). We know that food and feasting are a function of the family relationships, and not a work of the church, some brethren notwithstanding. The home is a place to show piety to and requite parents (I Tim. 5:4). Some folks can put on a good show in public; they can teach and preach; but it avails naught if piety does not begin at home. The home is also a place to work (Titus 2:5). A woman may have great success in the business world, and have great fame in many fields, but if she neglects her home, she has failed in the greatest mission God gave woman. The home is a place to show hospitality (I Tim. 5:10). This is a requirement by God. Those who are so withdrawn, or selfish, or busy that they cannot share their home with others are missing a great joy of life, and cannot really claim friendship with God (Matt. 25:43). The Bible also teaches the home is a place of guidance or ruling (I Tim. 5:14). "The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world." Similarly, the home is a place of upbringing or training (Eph. 6:4). A father may be a financial wizard, and have great respect among men, but if he has not the respect of his children and family as a spiritual guide, he is nothing. Again, the home is to be a center of religious activity. This must include the teaching of God's word (I Cor. 14:35; Acts 20:20; 5:42; II Tim. 1:3-5). A child cannot learn God's word and go to heaven on two or three hours of teaching a week by church any more than he could get a secular education and graduate on the same amount of time (Deut. 6:6-9). This religious activity must also include prayer (Matt. 6:6; Acts 12:12). A child that only prays with the family at meal time is missing a great spiritual influence on his life. And finally, the home is a place to show love. Just because you have a house does not mean you have a home. Just because you have a marriage does not mean you have a home in the best sense of the word. As one writer put it, "It takes a heap o' lovin' to make a house a home." How true.

The origin of the home is as old as man, himself. Jesus refers to God's joining Adam and Eve as the beginning of marriage, hence of the home (Matt. 19:3-9). Some sociologists are still trying to discover the origin of marriage, though, just as some scientists are still trying to discover the origin of the universe. We hope they stop long enough some day to read the right "textbook."

We have long taught that God ordained three institutions: the home (Gen. 2:18-25); the civil government or state (Rom. 13:1-7); and the church (Matt. 16:18). These three divine institutions are not only related, they are interrelated. The home is the oldest, and is the basis of the other two. Therefore the kingdoms of this world and of God both depend on the home for citizens, and will get no better citizens than the homes prepare.

In all matters, our homes here on earth should truly be a preparation ground for the final home of the soul? To help us achieve this goal, the next lesson will deal with "The Home As God Would Have It."

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