Stan Cox


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The Responsibilities of the Husband


As Joshua addressed the people on the eve of his death, after they had occupied the promised land, he made a statement which clearly shows the influence of a man as the head of his own house.  He said, "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15).

Joshua's proclamation was a challenge to all of Israel, and indicates that a nation's well being is largely attributable to the leadership of the home.  As the head of the home, the primary responsibility of the Husband/Father can be summarized in this way.  He determines by the force of his will, his good example, and his love for God and family, that his home will serve God.  It can rightly be stated that any man who does not make it his primary goal to have a God fearing and obedient family will fail in his responsibilities to them.

Though the world is not comfortable in expressing the need for the man to head his home in this way, the godly wife will welcome it.  She understands her need to submit to her man's position as head of the home, and welcomes his careful and resolute  determination  to  lead his family in the way of righteousness.  "In the way of righteousness is life, And in its pathway there is no death" (Proverbs 12:28).

Regarding the husband's treatment of his wife, Peter wrote, "Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered" (1 Peter 3:7).  The idea of the understanding and honor  due the wife is indicative of her worth to her husband.  A husband is to treat her in accord with the moral standard to which God has obligated him.  He is to recognize her as physically delicate, and as an equally deserving spiritual being.  As such, his behavior toward her is to be gracious and gentle.  The abuse, both physical and verbal, that many wives suffer is the shameful behavior of men who are failures in the sight of God.

The Godly Husband

The man who is pleasing God  with regard to his familial obligations is characterized by several important attributes.

  • Selflessness.  The entire concept of love (the agape kind) necessitates selflessness.  Love, "does not seek its own" (1 Corinthians 13:5).  Rather than seeking his own welfare, the godly husband is concerned with the welfare of his wife and children.  He is willing to sacrifice that they may prosper, even to the giving of his own life.   In fact, the picture of Christ's sacrifice for the church is the standard to which God calls the man.  "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her" (Ephesians 5:25).

  • Kindness.  The treatment of Ruth by Boaz is a beautiful picture of great kindness.  Boaz treated her with great respect and deference when he first met her, and behaved honorably in taking her to be his wife.  He was aware of her great sacrifice in staying with Naomi, and said to her, "The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge"  (Ruth 2:12).  Not only did he take care of her physical needs in allowing her to glean "even among the sheaves", but he also delighted to take her as his wife, and fulfill his duty as a relative of Judah.  Such kindness is to be emulated by the husband to his wife.

  • Affection.  The Love song between the Beloved and the Shulamite expresses the appropriate affection that a man should have for his wife.  The intimacy between them permeates his words to her, "You have ravished my heart, My sister, my spouse; You have ravished my heart With one look of your eyes, With one link of your necklace. How fair is your love, My sister, my spouse! How much better than wine is your love, And the scent of your perfumes Than all spices!" (Song of Solomon 4:9-10).  It is significant that the Beloved expresses his love for her.  It is not enough to love, the expression of affection is greatly needed by the weaker vessel.

  • Courage.  Finally, the husband and father must be virtuous!  This is the sentiment expressed by Joshua in his address to Israel when he said, "But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15).  The ungodliness of the world clamors for compromise and conformity.  It takes strong leadership for a family to remain pure in the face of such unrighteousness.  The courage of conviction steels the godly husband and father to stand for what is right in the face of opposition.  He will not allow his sons to be carried away by false teaching (cf. Titus 2:6-8); he will not allow his daughters to sully their reputation by immodest dress (cf. 1 Timothy 2:9-10); and his headship is not burdensome to his precious wife (cf. Ephesians 5:28-29).

Conclusion

The godly husband puts his family, and especially his wife, before all save God Himself.  He especially elevates the needs of his family above his own.  His position of authority and headship carries with it the potential for abuse, and he is ever cognizant of his great responsibility before God.  He adores his family, but does not let his affection for them cloud his good judgment as he cares and provides for them.  May God supply men such as this in all our Christian homes!

 

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