321 The Happy Home
Adapted from a Sermon Outline By Dr S F Olford
What is a Marriage without a Home? …. And what is a Home, if it is not a Happy place? Our Homes ought to be places where we enjoy the restfulness of being Undisturbed, and the peacefulness of being Understood. So in the moments left to me today I want to look at Home life or more accurately what I am calling THE HAPPY HOME. In order to do that more successfully I have chosen to preach from today’s
Choral Psalm, – The Psalm 127.
Solomon to whom the Psalm is ascribed, was a man whose wisdom and experience had taught him that without God all is vanity, so he begins this musing on Home Life with a conclusion v1: “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: “
What he is telling us is that The Happy Home must be
Before we can lay the foundation for the home, we must first look at the Foundation for the Marriage, and why God is the only Authorizer and Solemniser of Marriage. We live in a world today where the sanctity and relevance of Marriage is being questioned, and even ignored by many. There are those who argue that Marriage is an unnecessary and out-dated institution and that sincerity in commitment, or genuine love, is all that is really necessary to make a partnership work. In the book of Genesis, God saw and said that “it was not good for man to be alone”( Gen 2.18 ) so he created and brought to him a “woman” to be a help and comfort to him. God authorized and solemnised that union, the union between one man and one woman, and when Jesus was asked for an authoritative statement on marriage he said “what God has joined together,
let not man put asunder”( Matt 19:6)
God has put marriage in place for the Consummation of Human Love, and the Continuation of Human Life! Marriage is “Gods way” and Gods word commands it! You may disagree with it, you may not like it, it may offend you, it may even disgust you that I should be making these claims, but Gods word and way it still is, and whether you approve of it or not, it is settled in Heaven for ever, and cannot, or will not change!
Changing times and trends do not alter Gods mind.
Modern day thinking, and legal opinion, have reduced Marriage to a “Contract” when it is Gods intention that Marriage should be a Covenant. Contracts are made to be broken, Covenants are never broken. Gods desire is that Divorce should not be a word in the Christians vocabulary.
Although I am using an OT reference to make my point, the OT is the NT concealed, while the NT is the OT revealed, but the entire Old and New testament scriptures can be appreciated as the Moral Authority of God since they are Inspired, Inerrant, Indestructible and Infallible! When God gave Moses the 10 commandments on Mount Sinai and Moses brought those Tables of Stone down to the people, Moses did not say “This is Gods word, I hope you will like it”! God is not bothered as to whether or not we like his commandments. While as Christians we are no longer “under the law” but “under grace” we are nevertheless subject to the “moral law” of God as given in the 10 Commandments. His commandments they are, and if we break them, or if our nation break them, then there will be consequences. Many of the anti-social and sectarian problems we face as a nation today, can be directly traced back to our breaking away from the Law of God, often by directly legislating contrary to those laws. What a man sows he reaps, and what a nation sows it also will reap! To play fast and loose with these Moral absolutes is to court disaster! Now I must not ignore that there have been those who have managed apparently, without Gods help to build a reasonably successful Marriage and successful Home life, but that home and marriage can never be what it could have been, since the word of God declares “Except the Lord build the house they labour in vain that build it”! Like it or not, this is what God says, and sooner or later we will all discover that God was right about every matter. None of us are bigger than God, and none of us can beat God!
So then Solomon advises that the truly Happy Home must be Divinely Founded.
He goes on to add that it must be ….
“except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain”.
The vigilance of the watchmen upon our city walls have not prevented the evils of this world penetrating, and bringing havoc and hell to our city streets. In the same way, we may be diligent and vigilant in seeking to protect our homes from the evils of society, but unless the “LORD” keep the city, the watchmen watch in vain! Solomon is reminding us that it is impossible for us, on our own, (or in our own strength) to keep our homes free from those outside evil influences that can destroy our rest and peace, our love and loyalty and our sanctuary and stability. That is why we need Gods help, a help which is available as we defend our homes by what I am calling
The Daily Offering of Prayer
The Daily Reading of the Word
And the Daily Filling of the Spirit
So then let us take a closer look at what I see as this defence mechanism!
The Daily Offering of Prayer. Is there a place of Prayer in your home? A quiet place where you can get alone with God and seek Sanctuary in His presence, ask Him to help you face the day and its pressures and problems. You will soon discover that beginning the Day with God makes all the difference to what strength you have to cope with the things that arise. Knowing that God is ahead of you in each new day will help you to leave
the problems and cares in His keeping. When I was growing up, we never once sat down to a meal, or even a snack without first pausing to thank God for it. In our Home over the Kitchen Table there hung a plaque on the wall which read “Christ is the Head of this House, the unseen guest at every meal, the silent listener to every conversation” Although we often had a very real struggle financially, there never was a day when we did not have “bread enough and to spare” and there were seven hungry mouths around our Kitchen Table!
Then there needs to be the protection of the Daily Reading of the Word. Many of us as believers get bogged down in what we call our Spiritual Duties, and reading the word can often become more of a bind than a blessing. God is not concerned that we read our three chapters a day, but he is concerned as to whether or not we are learning and growing in his word. You can read a whole book in a day, as I often do, but learn a little, or you can reflect and meditate on a few verses which can revolutionise your entire life. Get into the habit of committing to memory the word of God, so that the word might become alive in you. John Bunyan said “The World will keep you from the Word, but the Word will keep you from the World”! God does not want to give you the promotion, the new job, the new house, the pay rise, or even the miracle, but he wants to give you the Word of God, down in your Spirit, for then that word will make you what it says!
Your Home can know a divine protection in the daily offering of Prayer and the daily reading of the word, and then the daily filling – empowering of the Holy Spirit. Paul reminds us that the first fruit of the Spirit is “love” and we will all agree that a home full of love can be a heaven on earth! In the same vein, a home without love may be a “hell” on earth! I believe that when there is the Daily Filling of the Spirit, the result will be
seen in the Husbands loving Consideration of the Wife, the Wife’s loving Submission to the Husband, the Parents loving Devotion to the Children, and the Children’s loving Obedience to the Parents.
“Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain” and the Hymn Writer added, “Bless this House Oh Lord we Pray, make it safe by Night and Day” So then Solomon reminds us that the truly Happy Home must be Divinely Founded, and Divinely Fended.
He goes on to imply that it can be ….
v2: “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.”
The furnishings of a home that really matter, are not those which are secured by endless toil and sleepless nights. Now there is nothing wrong with wanting or having a nice comfortable home, but the most valuable furnishings of any home are not those you can buy in the local shops!
They are what I am calling
The Holy Enchantment of the Home
The Happy Contentment of the Home
And the Healthy Fulfilment of the Home
Let us consider then what I am calling the Holy Enchantment of the home. Someone has said that there are two kinds of Magic, the Magic of Heaven and the Magic of Hell. If your home lacks the romance and reality of that Loving Devotion, Loving Submission, and Loving Obedience of which I spoke a moment ago, then I very much doubt that it is a heaven on earth for you. If on the other hand, there is bitterness, resentment, disloyalty, unfaithfulness, even hatred in your home, then it is more likely a
hellish place, and holds no real attraction or affection in your heart. You may have the latest Hi-Fi , the largest Flat Screen, the sleekest Sofas, and the coolest Refrigerator, but there is no Magic in your Home, and no Meaning in your Life, and no Model for your Children. If you cannot give God place in your Heart,… He will most certainly have no place in your Home!
Without these Divine Furnishings, your Home Life will drive you to despair and desperation. I truly believe that many will wake up this morning to a hang-over, a living room that reeks of Alcohol, and sick, and last weeks wages blown on a party, rising debts, disgruntled and screaming children, and their world around them in a total mess. Satan is delighted, His plan to steal, kill and destroy is working, and God weeps over your condition as I do myself! Give God first a place in your Heart, and then a place in your Home.
This brings me to another important piece of furnishing, what I am calling The Happy Contentment of the Home. Today’s advertisers take advantage of the fact that most of us are usually discontent with our lot! These advertising moguls will assure us that life will be so much better, and we will feel so much more complete with the latest gadget on the market. Indeed many would imply that such is an absolute necessity, and without it we simple can’t survive! The writer to the Hebrews says “Be content with such things as ye have, for he has said I will never leave you” ( Heb 13:5) Simply to have Gods presence with us ought to be sufficient to bring Joy and fulfilment into our lives. It is not without significance that the first miracle which Jesus ever performed, he did so at a “wedding” in Cana of Galilee. (John 2:1 ) He who turned the water of Sadness into the Wine of Gladness on that occasion, can do the same for you and I on every occasion. Happiness is not something that depends on my surroundings or the things I may amass to myself, but Happiness is something inside, it comes from within, and that joy is found in the presence of Jesus, indeed He says it is “fullness of Joy” ( Psalm 26:11)
So we have considered, the Holy Enchantment of the Home, the Happy Contentment of the home, now let us look at the Healthy Fulfilment of the Home. It is never good or healthy for a home to be empty! Most of us will have returned from Holiday to an empty and cold house. It is uninviting and unwelcoming. In fact it does not even feel like “home” and we may want to return to the holiday! God means for our Homes, and particularly our Christian Homes to be places of healthy Fulfilment. In other words he wants us to use our homes, as places of Hospitality, Fellowship and Prayer. Throughout the New Testament and particularly with regard to the early Christian Church, the home was the most important place in the community, not only for the family but for the fellowship of the Church. At a time when there were no such things as Church Buildings or Cathedrals – believers were encouraged to make their homes places of Hospitality; – to invite and welcome others, to share in food and friendship and the home was often the place of ministry, a real practical source of blessing to others. Is your home an “Open House” to others? I try to make a point of having someone to dinner at least once a week, but speaking for myself, I enjoy Scrambled eggs on Toast just as much as a four course dinner, as long as I know it was made for me in your home with love and commitment to Jesus’ Command!
Is your dining room or meal table a place where you get to share the bounty and beauty of the Lord with others. What about those who live alone, or those who are advanced in Years, or those who are homeless, or disabled, … do these frequent your table, your Sunday Lunch or Christmas Dinner? If you are not given to Hospitality, then your home may be furnished with the very best that money can buy, and it may look like “pins in paper” but Gods heart is missing, because your God is your Stuff and not your Saviour!
So then we have seen that the truly Happy Home must be Divinely Founded, Divinely Fended and Divinely Furnished,
Finally, Solomon also shows us a home
Verse 3: “Lo, children are a heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4: As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5: Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: “
Solomon shows us that Gods reward to the happy Home and the Happy Couple is the gift of Children. While I agree with Solomon, and more importantly agree that Gods reward is the “fruit” of the womb as he calls it, It is important to point out that while many desire Children, God does not always grant them that reward. It is also true that many desire Marriage – that partnership with another in daily nearness to love…. And God does not always grant them their desire either. So we ask, why is this? In 1 Corinthians Chapter 7, Paul makes a most exhaustive thesis on the rights and responsibilities of Marriage, and points out that singleness or the life of celibacy is also
a gift from God.
He does not contrast singleness with marriage as making one better than the other, but makes it clear that they are both within the gift of God. So it is with parenthood, if God has rewarded the union with the “fruit of the womb” then that’s his gift, if he has not – that too is his gift! I have known many childless couples, who have been given the gift of adoption or fostering who have made wonderful parents, and yet others who have had no children of their own to look after, but became like parents to many young people who valued their input and affection in their lives. Some who have been childless have become “Spiritual Parents” to many young people who were truly grateful to God for them – and in all of these circumstances Gods blessing abounded.
God may grant the desirability of Parenthood, and who would not desire, the sunshine of little faces, the patter of little feet, the music of little voices, the pressure of little fingers and the love
of little hearts?
However with the desirability of Parenthood comes the Responsibility of Parenthood.
Solomon likens the Children to “Arrows in the hand of a warrior.” The flight direction and control of the arrow, depends entirely on how that arrow is produced, polished, pointed and poised! Sadly many of our young “arrows” leave home having been dipped in poison, and go out into the world to pollute and plot against the good of our Society and to bring disgrace and dismay to their parents. Lawlessness, and disregard for life and property is the order of the day for many. Vandalism and violence, anti-social behaviour is their cry to Parents and teachers alike for help. By failing to disciple, to set boundaries, we have allowed them to develop without any true sense of purpose. By failing to teach them Moral absolutes, they have grown up without an understanding of their own worth, or the value of other human life. The responsibilities of Parenting cannot be handed to the governments, or the schools, or the churches, it is the parents that must carry that responsibility, and who must make the steps necessary to bring us back to the word and ways of God in this regard.
I have often said, that I was brought up at the knee of a Godly Mother, and across the knee of a Determined Father! Yet I can truly thank God for them both, and for the wise and loving ways in which myself and my siblings were reared. Speaking at my Mothers Funeral six years ago, I gave thanks to God not for what she had left to me, but for what she had left in me! I owe a great deal to a loving Father and Mother and to their strong discipline and wise counsel. I am a better Man today because of it. Children reward the home, but they also rejoice the home.
“Happy is the man that has his quiver full of them” Nothing can be more rewarding that to see our children mature and do well, and bring joy to their parents hearts. The great Bible Scholar Dr F. B. Meyer, was asked on one occasion to describe heaven, to which he answered, “a playground of little children” and the prophet Zechariah describes the streets of the Holy City as “full of Boys and Girls playing “ (Zech 8:5 ) So then we have seen that the truly Happy Home, must be Divinely Founded, Divinely Fended, Divinely Furnished and Divinely Favoured!
Now this final Word
Some time ago I found this beautiful poem which I believe sums up what I have been trying to say in this message today, and I end with it, … it is entitled
The Happy Home
Happy the Home when God is there And love fills every breast,
Where one their wish and one their prayer And one their Heavenly rest
Happy the home where Jesus name Is sweet to every ear
Where Children early lisp his fame And parents hold him dear
Happy the home where prayer is heard And praise is wont to rise
Where parents love the sacred word, And live but for the skies
Lord let us in our homes agree This blessed peace to gain
Unite our hearts in love to thee – And love to all will reign
And may God Bless Your Home and your Heart. Amen