Joshua, as the spiritual head of his family, declared: “…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” In other words, no matter what the decisions the other Jews made concerning obedience to God, Joshua said emphatically that his family would choose obedience.
How could he make such a statement? Didn’t his kids and grandkids have minds of their own? Couldn’t they choose to worship idols, no matter what Dad said?
Of course they could. But here’s what I hear Joshua saying:
“My family will know the truth about God because I’m going to tell them. I’m going to raise them to fear God, to love God, to serve Him according to His Word – which I will teach them. If they choose to disobey God, they are going to know what that choice entails because I will tell them exactly what the consequences of sin are. And I will do everything in my power to help them choose obedience.”
I don’t see Joshua’s declaration so much a commitment for his family, as a commit for himself to be the spiritual head of his family.
So who is the spiritual head of your family? Many households depend on the mothers to read the Bible stories, say the blessing at mealtime, be sure the kids are in Sunday School. I’m thankful for women who take on this role in their families, especially if the husband doesn’t step up. I know there are lots of moms who have had the privilege of praying with their young children to receive Jesus as their Savior. What a precious moment that must be.
But there is something about a Dad gathering up the children around him to read and explain Scripture, to pray aloud with them, then boldly living his faith in front of them. The picture of family according to God places the husband as the spiritual head, like God is the head of His spiritual family.
I am not about to get into a gender role debate. I’m a woman. I know I am capable of guiding children in the truth of Scripture. I know mothers are an essential part of their families’ existence. I’m not discounting their importance. But if I believe the Bible, I must believe we women need to allow our husbands to lead. It’s God’s design.
So men, is it time you stepped up and became the spiritual head of your family? Your children are watching and learning, watching and learning. They see through you much more clearly than you think. What do they see?
Can you, with Joshua, commit yourself to raising your children to worship God, to choose obedience rather than sin? That is your calling, your responsibility, your privilege. Your child’s eternal soul may live in your home today. But one day, that little one will go out on his or her own. Are you preparing them? Or are you hoping someone else will do that for you?
Don’t drop the ball, Dads.