Derek Prince - The Father As A Prophet
Let’s look at the father’s responsibility as prophet. You can put it this way. As priest he represents his family to God. As prophet he represents God to his family. That again is the special unique privilege of every father. Let’s look in Ephesians 6:4. Paul says: And you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Whose responsibility is it to teach the children the truth of God’s Word? I didn't hear, that was a very timid answer. Who usually does it? The mother. Is that God’s order? No.
And you know what happens if that’s the way it’s done, little Johnny grows up and when he’s about 12 years old he says: I want to be a man like my father. He doesn’t go to church, he doesn’t read the Bible. So, I don’t have to. Understand? The problem about the woman doing it is, God bless the women who do it, but the problem is that the boys get the impression that Christianity is something for women. And if you’re going to be a real man, you’ll go a different route.
Colossians 3:21, Paul says something that goes together with that other passage: Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. See, there’s a middle line. On the one hand, exercise discipline. Don’t let them become undisciplined. For some years I was principle of a college for training teachers in East Africa. One of the things that became very clear to me is if you cannot discipline children, you cannot teach them. That’s why there are so many untaught children in contemporary culture, because there’s no discipline. Without discipline it is impossible to teach.
I tell you, I would not for a million dollars a year be a teacher in our present culture. It’s an impossible task. So, if you’re going to teach, you have to maintain discipline. But at the same time, Paul says, don’t provoke them. Don’t discourage them. Don’t be harsh and critical. Don’t cause them to give up. If you’re continually pointing out to your child that he’s wrong, he’ll come to the point where he’ll think: It’s no good. I might as well not try, I can’t do it right anyhow. So there’s this middle ground. But the responsibility is that of the father.
Then in Deuteronomy 11, Moses gives some amazingly wise advice on how fathers should fulfill this responsibility for the spiritual instruction of their family. Deuteronomy 11, beginning at verse 18. And the essence of the responsibility is to bring God’s word to your family. Deuteronomy 11:18: Therefore you shall lay up these words (and these are addressed to fathers) Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. In other words, what’s to be conspicuous in your life? The Word of God. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.
In other words, every situation in a family’s life is an occasion for teaching scriptures to them. Don’t confine it to a religious setting on one day in the week. I have ministered to the children of quite a number of ministers over the years. Some of them are the worst rebels. What I discovered about them was that for most of them, their religion they viewed as a special suit they put on to go to church on Sundays, wore in church, came back home, took it off and put it in the closet and didn’t wear it again till next Sunday. See, that was partly their parent’s fault because if religion is worth anything, it’s got to be part of the daily life of the home.
My first wife, before I married her, was mother to these girls for about 18 years on her own. Very short of money, often without any promise of food for the next day. But one thing she did was to get the children praying with her. She said: Children, we’ve got nothing for breakfast. We’d better pray. They prayed, food came, that taught the children more about God than a dozen lessons in Sunday school. Understand? They saw God answers my prayer. Don’t ever keep children out of your spiritual life. Bring them into it. If you’re going on holiday, all pray together about the holiday. Where you’ll go, what you’ll do.
If one of the children has a problem at school, don’t just correct them, say: Let’s pray together about it. Because if children learn to pray, they’ll grow up believers. I can say that out of experience. I think none of our girls have ever been without temptation, believe me. They’ve all had their trials and their problems. But basically, if you talk to them, they’ll always remember something in their life when God dramatically intervened.
I remember one of the girls who is not really part of our family, she closed a big iron door on her toe and almost cut the toe off. Lydia called her and prayed, and the toe was healed. Well, that girl was not by any means a model Christian but she never escaped from the fact that she knew she had a toe because her mother prayed. My youngest, my English daughter was about eighteen. She was with us in Kenya when we were serving there. We went to a conference in Mombasa and met there a dear brother who is with the Lord now. Elizabeth (that’s her name) was very short-sighted and her eyesight was deteriorating. Every year we had to get her thicker glasses.
We said: Brother Mattson, would you pray for Elizabeth’s eyes? He prayed, she took her glasses off. We didn’t tell her to do that. So a few days later we wondered how she was doing. How are your eyes? we said. Well, she said, he prayed, didn’t he? She had 20/20 vision. She later became a nurse and never had to wear glasses. She went through her tests but one thing she knew, God is real, He answers prayer. That’s a kind of anchor when people are carried away in the tide of this world. Let them remember something that happened in the home when you prayed with them and God answered. See, don’t keep children out of your spiritual life. Bring them into it.
I have a friend who is a close friend of mine, a minister. He has four daughters. They were like Philip’s daughters, they were all virgins and they prophesied. One of them is married now. But they all prophesied. Each of them had a special prayer ministry. One would pray for finance, another would pray for healing, another would pray for another aspect. But that family has stuck together and those girls are rooted in Christ because they shared in the spiritual life of the home. You don’t bless children by taking all the responsibility from them. On the contrary, the more you commit to them, the stronger they’ll grow. You’ve got to do it with wisdom.
Finally, just one other picture of a father as prophet, the one who represents God to his family. I have taught so many times on that scripture: As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the son of man. And I pointed out all the awful evils of the day of Noah, which is all true and it’s happening in front of our eyes. But one day I found out something else, there’s a good side to that. Hebrews 11:7: By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
So there’s another aspect of Noah’s day. Noah, the righteous man, heard from God about the disaster that was coming, made preparation and saved his family. Now I really believe that we’re living in days when we’re going to have to be like that. I think more and more sudden disasters are going to sweep the earth. It’s no longer safe to travel by air. You never know when there will be a bomb on the plane. But if you have the insight of Noah, you’ll know how to save your family, how to protect your family. Incidentally, this is just a little light relief for a moment.
But I heard about a man who was very nervous about traveling because he was afraid that there would be somebody on the plane with a bomb. So a statistician told him: Well, the chances of one man on the plane with a bomb is 1 in 450,000. But the chances of two men on the same plane with a bomb is 1 in 5 million. So, after that he always carried a bomb, you see! That’s not recommended for the example of Noah.