Derek Prince - The Father As A King
All right, we’re going on now to the father as king or governor. 1 Timothy 3:4–5. speaking about an elder: One who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence. For if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God? The word there is rule or govern. That’s the third aspect of the ministry of Christ... of the ministry of the husband. He represents Christ as priest, as prophet, as king. What’s the job of a king? To rule or to reign, that’s right.
Now, this is kind of dropped out of a lot of thinking today. We live in an atmosphere where authority is almost a dirty word. But the fact of the matter is without authority, all you have is anarchy. So, we need authority. And above all, we need the authority of the father in his home. What’s always impressed me is God’s statement about why he chose Abraham. Let’s turn to Genesis 18 for a moment, and we’ll read verses 17-19. But let me point out about the very name of Abraham. You know his original name was Abram which in Hebrew is Av ram, which means exalted father. Then when God made His second and eternal covenant with him, He changed his name to Av ra ham which means father of a multitude. But the essence of Abraham’s character was that he was a father, it was as a father that God chose him, because He wanted a new nation to come from him.
And the Lord here in Genesis 18 reveals why he chose Abraham. There were hundreds of thousands of men on earth at that day, and amongst all of them God picked out one man to be the privileged, unique head of a new race. And the Lord said: Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing? Since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him. For I have known him in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of the Lord to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has spoken to him.
Why did he choose him, what did he see in him that made him eligible? There’s two ways of translating that. I prefer the old translation which says: I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, that they will keep the way of the Lord. This other translation says: I have known him, I have chosen him in order that he may command his children and his household. But whichever translation you use, the fact of the matter is the feature of Abraham’s character that made him eligible for God’s choice, one of the most privileged positions in history, was that God could rely on him to command his children and his household.
There is a time for the father to command. There are situations in which orders have to be given and rules have to be observed. I tell you one thing, if you want to produce an unhappy child, withhold discipline from him. The most unhappy children are the ones who have no discipline in their lives. And they’re the most insecure because a child likes to have boundaries that give him a security. I remember my African daughter once, when she was about 16, was going through some of the problems that teenagers go through, although she’s a very sweet Christian girl. She wanted to do something that was really not wise or right. She looked at me and said: Can I do it, will you let me? And I said: No, I won’t because it will be bad for you.
You would have thought she would have been upset. But I saw in her face, she was relieved that I had set a boundary. She didn’t have the strength in herself to make her own boundary but she was grateful to me for setting a boundary. It is unfair to turn children loose, especially in the world as it is today, and make no boundaries. The boundaries should be simple, practical, and you should be able to explain them to children. Why don’t we watch such and such a program on television? Well, because it’s very undermining to your spiritual and moral life. Of course, that’s one of the major problems we have today. I think probably in most households today one of the greatest responsibilities of the father is to check the use of television. For me it’s simple, I never turn it on.
But that's not everybody's solution. And I’m not recommending that. I’m not saying that makes me more spiritual than anybody else. I just dislike television. To me it’s an interruption of the things that really matter. If I want to find out what’s happening in the world, I buy a weekly news magazine. Then I don’t waste my time listening to commercials and getting a whole lot of information which is absolutely unimportant the next day. But I know that I’m an exception. That’s all right. I’m not worried, don’t be upset about me. But notice the other thing that the Lord said about Abraham in that passage. Since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation. I want to tell you for sure that a nation is no greater than its fathers. If the fathers fail, a nation is sure to decline. The strength of every nation is in the character and integrity and strength of its fathers.
In Romans 4:11-12 (we don’t need to turn there), we are told that Abraham is a father to all those who walk in his steps. In other words, it’s not enough just to say: I’m born again and therefore Abraham is my father. We have to walk the way he walked. And in no area is it more important than in the family. Then we need perhaps for a moment just to consider one other man who was very close to Abraham, and his name was Lot. If you study the career of these two men, they went through a lot together. Every revelation Abraham had... Did I say something wrong? They went through a great deal together.
Then they came to the place where they were going to separate. And you know what a perfect gentleman Abraham was. He didn’t say: I’m going to choose this. He said: Lot, you choose. Whatever you don’t choose, I’ll take. And he was the senior man, the man with the real knowledge of God. He didn’t grab, do you know that? Somebody said God gives his best to those who leave the choice to Him. Are you willing to do that? Abraham said: God, I know you have the room. So Lot headed for where? Sodom. What attracted him? Basically money, prosperity. Lot was a lover of the world and the things of the world. We read the end of that chapter, he was headed for Sodom.
The next time we read about him he was right inside Sodom and a kind of respected citizen. Then came the time when God was going to pronounce and bring judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. Because of Abraham’s intercession, God sent two angels to get Lot out of Sodom. They said: Have you got anybody here, sons or daughters or sons-in-law? Warn them, because God is going to destroy this city. And Lot went to talk to his sons-in-law, and said: God is going to send judgment. They laughed at him, they couldn’t take him seriously.
So eventually he escaped with his wife and two daughters. His wife didn’t make it because she was turned into a pillar of salt. He left the rest of his family in Sodom. What I want to point out to you is this. Lot led his family into Sodom but he couldn’t get them out again. What a responsibility. Fathers, where are you leading your family? What is it that motivates you? Do you love the world and the things of the world? You’re in danger of going the way of Lot.