Jesus would have nothing to do with the idea that greatness is connected to pride, pomposity, aggrandizement, grandeur, or anything that makes men think of themselves as being important. "And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knows your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God." (Luke 16:15; Deuteronomy 6:13; 10:12, 20; John 12:26) In John 13:13-15 Jesus stated, "Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you." and in verse 17 adds "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."
This is the application of Biblical headship — leadership in service. Starting in your own home, whether young or old, serve the members of your family with cheerfulness and loving care. In this manner build the disposition, character and skills for expanded leadership and headship and this will show you are prepared for increasing duty and responsibility to men and to God. Joseph in Egypt (Genesis ch 39-47) was taken from youthful arrogance through paths of submissive service to national administration of a food planting, storage and distribution program. Do you know the historical account of the "captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife?" (2 Kings ch 5) It tells us how one little servant changed the course of a nation by helping her master to know where to turn for special help.
Biblical headship and leadership has the long-term perspective. It is not so much about the immediate, the pressing, the next thing though these are part of life. This leadership is about the lifetime frame of reference, the generational viewpoint, the good seed sowing everywhere, everyday perspective. It incorporates the spiritual guidance of the family as Moses states in Deuteronomy 7:9, "Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, who keeps covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations." (Deuteronomy 6:7; 11:19; Psalm 34:11; 1 Samuel 12:23)
Biblical headship is not about elevating the family above others, but it is about placing them in heart, mind and soul under the authority of God and into the delegated stewardship he intended. (Genesis 1:26-27) "Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons." (Deuteronomy 4:9) "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sit in thine huse, and when thou walk by the way, and when thou lie down, and when thou rise up." (Deuteronomy 6:7; Proverbs 9:9)
Biblical headship means: to provide, to protect, to defend, to grow, to develop, to lead, to guide, to bring the family to maturity, to be responsible for their education, to teach and develop their skills, to assist in their emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical growth and development before God and men, to assist your wife to become a faithful friend, a Christian encourager, someone noble and true, to prepare your daughters to become better persons and mothers, to train your sons to become noble men and diligent fathers, to prepare each one to be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ, to teach them to be mature and responsible, to honor parents and grandparents, to respect those in authority, to show how to solve conflicts, to apologize for doing wrong, to restore damages by restitution, to forgive others, to simply dismiss faults, to harbor no grudge, to be merciful even as you want mercy for yourself. Some examples to consider are:
"And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:15-21)
1 Samuel 25:1-42 gives the account of Nabal's wealth, of his character and the results of his folly leading to "it came to pass about ten days after, that the Lord smote Nabal, that he died."
An important text in Ezekiel 46:18 says, "Moreover the prince shall not take of the people's inheritance by oppression, to thrust them out of their possession; but he shall give his sons inheritance out of his own possession: that my people be not scattered every man from his possession." This verse reminds us (among other things) to pass the inheritance of God's word, an intimate relationship with Him, the wisdom and education of a life's journey with God to the next generations. And to give what you already possess in your head and heart and life, not what belongs to another. This was the folly of Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20:12-18 where Hezekiah received ambassadors from the King of Babylon and "showed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah showed them not."
Instead of showing them the God of Israel who had done miracles for them, giving the Babylonians the privilege to know the God of creation, revealing the wisdom of God's teaching and demonstrating the fruit of God's ways, Hezekiah showed them material things. And God said they would return again to take those same things. "And Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord. Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord." It should have been that the Babylonians would come again to take to their own country all the truths of God instead of all the trinkets humans treasured.
Instruction of Children
God carefully instructs us to teach our children as stated in Deuteronomy 4:9, "Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons." He states it again differently in 6:6-7 "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sit in thine house, and when thou walk by the way, and when thou lie down, and when thou rise up." We are not to neglect prayer for God's intervention in the minds and hearts of our family as Samuel states in 1 Samuel 12:23, "Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way." Nor are we to elevate human affection above God and His word as Jesus instructs in Matthew 10:37, "He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."
Apostle Paul speaks of the benefit of careful instruction for children when he refers to Timothy's past in 2 Timothy 1:5, "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also." He also refers to his own early instruction in Acts 26:45 saying, "My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews. Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most strait sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee." In Matthew 19:14 "Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven." Later Jesus added in Matthew 18:3, "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
"Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whore-mongers and adulterers God will judge." (Hebrews 13:4) This is consistent with God's template given in Genesis 2:18-25 and His stern instruction in Leviticus 20:10 "And the man that commits adultery with another man's wife, even he that commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death." Again God instructs in Proverbs 6:32, "But whoso commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding: he that does it destroys his own soul" and his own family, too because "out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." (Matthew 15:19) These are the things that are patterned by a man in rebellion against God and will cascade out through his family, "for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." (Exodus 20:5b-6)
Since the case for marriage1, 2, 3 is abundant in its benefits for the family and especially the children, and since divorce is treated by God as a violation of an oath of covenant, Jesus says in Matthew 5:32 "But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery." Again in Matthew 19:8 Jesus explained further that "Moses because of the hardness of your hearts permitted you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so." Jesus also asked this question in verses 4-6, "Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Apostle Paul gives further warning in 1 Cor 6:9-10 saying, "Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Cor 5:11-13; 6:9-11)
The spouses for sons and daughters are to be taken from amongst God's people as Apostle Paul instructs in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
The Biblical family had significant cohesion in its care and concern for family members. A widow could choose to stay with her husband's family or return again to her father's household for care and provision while hoping for remarriage. (Genesis 38:11; Leviticus 22:13) Much more than this was also revealed in Numbers chapter 30 concerning a wife or daughters, "These are the statutes, which the Lord commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, between the father and his daughter, being yet in her youth in her father's house." Biblical headship also meant that the final decision rested with the husband/father regarding choices of their wife or daughters.
God also gave a lot of freedom to daughters as revealed in Numbers 36:6-8, "This is the thing which the LORD doth command concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying, Let them marry to whom they think best; only to the family of the tribe of their father shall they marry. And every daughter, that possesses an inheritance in any tribe of the children of Israel, shall be wife unto one of the family of the tribe of her father, that the children of Israel may enjoy every man the inheritance of his fathers." Here we have a complementary statement by Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:39 when he says, "The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord."
Since a believing widow may only remarry one who believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior it would be the same for unmarried daughters and sons. The head of the family must model a noble marriage with his wife, teach his family how to live in relationship, seek out and consent to appropriate marriages for his children. Accordingly, Biblical headship is built upon knowing and obeying God and teaching others to do the same so that God's blessing will be upon them.
Naomi and Ruth in the Book of Ruth were remarkable women who understood God's principles. Even when Naomi's husband made a poor choice to leave the land God promised to bless, Naomi honored her husband. She revealed her love for God to the wives her sons choose. When her husband and their husbands all had died she sought their long term well-being amongst their own people. But Ruth's heart was knit to Naomi both in endearing affection and in her growing love for the God of Israel. After returning to her homeland, Naomi carried out the family duty of seeking out a good and godly husband for Ruth who became King David's great-grandmother. [See: Endnotes A.]
The marriage ceremony reveals the authority of the father when this question is asked, "Who gives this woman in marriage?" Each daughter is inherently understood to be bound to her father until marriage transfers her to become united to her husband. The daughter is not chattel but a loved and valued person brought into existence via God's provision of procreation who is to reflect the image of God to others in the world. The care, provision, protection, development, education, supervision, guidance, et cetera by the Biblical father shows the great importance of a woman and her influence upon the next generation. All of this done in preparation for transfer by her father to her husband as a Biblical head is consistent with the Genesis account of woman made from man and brought to him as a suitable helper. [See: Part 1: Laying Down The Basis]
How does a father transfer Biblical headship to his son? The scriptures are amazingly quiet on this process of direct father to son transfer. There are, however, some notable passages about King David that must be considered. David passed to Solomon the position of family patriarch and kingship in 1 Kings 1 (1 Kings 3:6-7; 1 Chronicles 28:9; 2 Chronicles 1:8-12) after neglecting the issue until pressed to act appropriately by his son Adonijah's rebellion. (1 Chron 22:6-13, 19; 23:1; 28:4-10; 29:20-25) And this was after what Absalom had done some time before and died for his insurrection and malfeasance. (2 Samuel 15-18 ch)
These passages help us to understand that fathers need to be proactive with instruction and training in righteousness, preparing their son(s) toward establishing their household(s) in marriage and in giving the blessing of delegated authority derived from God and passed through Noah through their lineage to this day. [For one example see: Endnotes B.] It is much better to instruct and guide each child while they are growing up and then give to them the admonition of David than to wait like David who finally said: "And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever." (1 Chronicles 28:9)
In contrast to David, there is an effective father with lasting results whom God has blessed: "The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father's commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me. And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you: Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever."(Jeremiah 35:17-19; read:1-25) "If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne [of Biblical headship/leadership] for evermore." (Psalm 132:12)
A. "To all the girls who are in a hurry to have a boyfriend or get married, a piece of Biblical advice: "Ruth waited for her mate Boaz." While you are waiting on YOUR Boaz, don't settle for any of his relatives: Broke-az, Po-az, Lyin-az, Cheating-az, Dumb-az, Drunk-az, Cheap-az, Lockedup-az, Goodfornothing-az, Lazy-az, and especially his third cousin BeatinYou-az. Wait on your Boaz and make sure he respects Yo-az." (www.iLoveLifeQuotes.com)
B. Our son had a group of godly youths that he would assemble to play tag football. He gathered them on the Saturday after his 18th birthday and they played through the late morning and came into our home for the noon meal. I had quietly planned for that day. While our family and these friends were in our kitchen together I spoke to them and said it was a day to celebrate. I commended our son for his growth, development, conduct and vision before God and men. Then I asked for all those willing to put their hand upon him directly to pray with me over him. At that moment I gave him my blessing, prayed for his continued journey before God and gave him formally to God to be directly responsible to God while still being his father and delegated head. And then I asked for anyone to pray for him as God led, which many did. Later he expressed that was the scariest day of his life.
1. The Case for Marriage, www.lookinguntojesus.info/Pages/TheCaseforMarriage.html, accessed 11/15/2012
2. Things A Father Does Best, www.lookinguntojesus.info/BSTopics/BibleMen/ThingsAFatherDoesBest.html, accessed 11/15/2012
3. Things A Mother Does Best, www.lookinguntojesus.info/BSTopics/BibleMen/ThingsAMoherDoesBest.html, accessed 11/15/2012
And to make thee high above all nations which he hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honour; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the LORD thy God, as he hath spoken. Deuteronomy 26:19