BEING THE PRIEST
OF YOUR HOME
by Rich Murphy
We don't have a submission problem in our church, we have a leadership problem. In many families, the woman is de facto head of the house, because the man isn't.
Why? Because men haven't been taught how to be men. Our society has drawn a picture of men as bumbling, incompetent idiots who need a woman to show them how to pour water out of a boot. Don't believe me, just look at any sitcom on television today.
There are two major roles that men hold in the marriage, that as priest of their home, and that of being a servant leader.
MEN AS PRIESTS
Men have been called to be the priests in their home. As such, the Old Testament priest serves as an example of what we are to do. There were several things that a priest had to do, that we today, need also to be doing.
First of all, a priest had to keep himself undefiled by sin. Since he had to make sacrifices for the people, he couldn't be in a place of sin himself. Every time a priest came on duty, the first thing he did was to make atonement for his own sin, before being in a place to intercede for the people. If the high priest was in sin when he went into the Holy of Holies, he would die.
In our families, we must become the example of Christ. As our wives strive to submit to us, we should be so much like Jesus, that they are submitting to Him. Just as Jesus was without sin, we too must endeavor to be without sin.
In Old Testament worship, one of the main functions of the priesthood was to offer sacrifices for the people's atonement for their sins. They would collect the sacrifices and offerings of the people, and give them to God, keeping the portion for themselves that God had commanded.
Fortunately for us, Jesus has made the one and only sacrifice for us. We no longer have to slaughter animals in order to bring the blood before the altar of God. All we have to do is repent and ask for forgiveness, it is already provided. Our children need to see us as willing vessels, quick to repent and ask for God's forgiveness. It is only through our example that they will learn to turn to God, instead of running away from him.
Our offerings today are either financial offerings, or time offerings (spending time serving the Lord in the local church). When we neglect to give to God what belongs to God, we are robbing our families of the blessings that He has in store for them. It is God who gives us the ability to gain wealth, that is used to support our families (Deuteronomy 8:18), none of us are capable of doing it on our own.
Prayer & Intercession
Women tend to be more comfortable praying than men are. For some reason, men tend to leave this area to their wives. However, as priests, the man should be the number one prayer warrior in the family.
"But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." (1 Corinthians 11:3) As head, men are in a unique prayer position. They, and only they, can offer prayer protection and covering to their wives and children. Nobody else is in the unique position to offer that protection.
Satan desires to attack and destroy your family. But "No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house." (Mark 3:27 & Matthew 12:29) How does Satan bind you? By keeping you from praying. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:12) This battle is one that can only be won in prayer. No matter how strong a man is physically, no matter how good a fighter he is in the physical, he can't use that to protect his family. It is only by battling in prayer that men can truly protect their families.
Priests are required to become the experts on God's Word. When the people need instruction in God's ways, they are the ones to do it. When the "book of the law" was found in Ezra, it was Ezra, acting as high priest who read it to the people.
In our families, it isn't the woman's responsibility to teach the children about God's ways, it's the man's. Yes, the woman can assist with the instruction, but if the man doesn't take the leading role, the children won't take it seriously. If they don't see their father reading the Bible, they won't read it either. Even if mom studies the Bible regularly, as long as dad doesn't, they will see that they don't have to either.
In ancient Israel, it was the man who taught his family the Word of God. Even in more recent times, the Jewish people still have their family worship centered around the role of the father. All of the Jewish festivals, which God established, are celebrated in the home, directed and taught by the father.
Paul said "women keep silence in the churches...if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home..." (1 Corinthians 14:34-35) Part of this was because the Jewish synagogue could be a very noisy place, as they discussed scripture, seeking to understand. Since the women and men sat separately, it would cause a disturbance for a woman to ask her husband a question across the room. However, Paul also makes it clear that a woman is to ask her husband, learning from him.
MEN AS LEADERS
God has given men the responsibility of being the head of the home. I stress the word "responsibility" there. It isn't that men have special privileges. It's that they have a job to do, which they will answer to God for.
Anyone who truly knows anything about leadership knows that the old adage about "rank hath it's privileges" is phony. There are very few, if any, privileges that go with rank, and the ones that might be there, don't in any way make up for the burden of the responsibility. If one is more concerned about taking those advantages, than taking the responsibilities, they can't lead anyway, because nobody would follow them.
What is Leadership?
Leadership is the process of inspiring people to accomplish a common goal. In the military, that common goal is the mission. Taking the next hill, defending their site, or destroying something that belongs to the enemy. In business, that goal may include making a profit, satisfying the customer, or having the best product in the market. In a family, the goal is serving God and raising our children.
A true leader is a servant. Jesus, while celebrating the last Passover meal with his 12 chosen disciples, took on the role of a servant, and washed their feet (John 13:4-14). Not only was He acting as a servant, but the job He chose to do as a servant was usually left for the lowest servant in the house.
There are four requirements to be a leader:
Direction and Guidance
To lead, you must have a vision. Otherwise, all you are doing is leading your family into a pit. "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." (Proverbs 29:18) God has a task for your family, something that He has called you to do, not just you as an individual, but your family as well.
God also has a vision for how your family is to function. He's written that plan in his Word. A good leader will study the plan, making sure he understands it, before bringing the plan before his people. You must be sure of the plan, sure of every detail. Otherwise, you can't give adequate direction and guidance. A plan that isn't presented in a clear, definite form won't be followed. There is no reason to follow it, because the leader himself isn't sure where he is going.
Leadership and Responsibility
As leaders, men are responsible to God for everything that happens in their families. Don't try telling God that you delegated it to your wife, He won't listen. You're the one He holds accountable. If your children end up in sin, because they haven't been taught to follow His ways, God won't ask your wife, He'll ask you. If you haven't taught them, their blood will be on your hands.
Proverbs 22:6 says: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." It doesn't say he might, it says he will. God has built a training mechanism into us that causes us to return to the ways we learn as a child.
The interesting thing, is that Proverbs was written to men. Solomon, who was "wiser than all men" (1 Kings 4:31), wrote Proverbs as instruction to his sons. "Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many." (Proverbs 4: 10) and "Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way." (Proverbs 23:19) Training of children is the man's responsibility. He can have his wife help, but he is the one accountable to God.
Everything that happens in the home is the responsibility of the man. When there is a problem, it is up to him to find out what the root cause for that problem is, and fix it.
If the house isn't kept clean, it isn't the woman's fault, it's the man's. Oh, she might be the one who actually does the housework, but it's him that decides the level of clean that's acceptable. If he doesn't care, than she probably won't do any more than is necessary. But, if he sets a high standard, she'll do everything she can to meet it.
Leaders in Front
To lead requires being out in front. It is impossible to lead from behind. All you can do there is push. When you are trying to lead from behind, you can't maintain the vision or direction. Instead, you end up following those you've put in front.
When you stay in front, you set the example. Your kids may not always listen to what you say, but you can be sure that they're watching what you do. The same goes for your wife. You can tell her that you expect her to pray and study the Bible, but if you don't she won't. She has been designed by God to be a follower, and will follow in whatever direction you lead.
When you are out in front, you earn respect. Those who are following will look up to you as an example, and desire to have what you have. This gives you the ability to mold and shape them, passing on the lessons that you have learned.
Material in this teaching taken from "And God Created Sex" by Rich & Deborah Murphy, Copyright © 1997.
Copyright © 2001 by Richard A. Murphy, Maranatha Life All rights reserved.