For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD…
I. The OBLIGATION we are under to maintain the worship of God in our families.
1. And here we will first of all observe that family worship is reasonable in itself. Shall the father of a human family be respected in his person, acknowledged in his authority, and loved for his paternal kindness; and shall the one common Father of all, the Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier of mankind, and the God of all our mercies, remain unrespected, unacknowledged, unloved?
2. Moreover, family worship comes recommended to us by many scriptural examples. Joshua's well-known determination was: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." When David had brought the Ark of the Covenant from the house of Obed-edom, and set it in the midst of the tent which he had pitched for it, he "returned to bless his house." Job, fearing lest his sons in the unchecked gaiety of their hearts should blaspheme the Lord, "rose up early in the morning and offered sacrifices for them all," and "thus did Job continually." Cornelius was "a devout man — one that feared God with all his house, and prayed to God alway." We read of the Saviour praying with His disciples as well as for them, and often did He privately instruct them.
II. The ADVANTAGES derivable from family worship.
1. The continuance and prevalence of piety in our families is, in a good measure, assured by family worship.
2. Family worship, too, when prudently conducted, is attended with this advantage — it tends to promote unity and peace in households.
3. Another great advantage resulting almost necessarily from the practice of family worship is the preservation of a sense of Divine anal spiritual things in the mind.
4. A further advantage derivable from family worship is the efficiency it gives to ministerial labour.
5. And whatever advantage the worship and service of God in our families failed to produce, our performance of a plain and acknowledged duty would bring with it its own rich reward. As in Psalm 19:11, we read, "In keeping God's commandments there is a great reward."
III. The EXCUSES made for neglecting family worship.
1. An excuse made by many for neglecting family worship is want of ability to pray in the presence of others, or to lead a family's devotions. Now, it so happens that this is almost the only case in which people pretend to have a very mean opinion of their own abilities. But, admitting you have no ability to do so, you may seek and ask it.
2. Others, again, will say, We fear being ridiculed; we fear we shall be thought too strict and precise in our domestic habits. Here, however, I would observe: The irreligion of the multitude should be a powerful incentive with us to cherish religious habits and the fear of God in our houses.
3. Another excuse urged by some is, We have no time. Bring this excuse to the Bible. Abraham had flocks and herds exceeding many, and very much cattle. Job, too, had the same. Joshua was the leader and commander of all the armies of Israel. David occupied a throne, and had all the cares of government on his mind. But have you really no leisure? — none for amusement?
4. A final excuse we shall notice is this, Fear of personal restraint. This excuse, if we mistake not, lies at the root of almost every other. Let the heart be examined, and many a one will find there, "I am fearful of a restraint upon myself; I am afraid if I have daily family worship in my house I shall not be able to indulge myself and enjoy the world as I am disposed to do; more will be expected from me then than is expected now; I must be consistent; if I say, 'Hallowed be Thy name,' I must not take the name of God in vain.
(W. Mudge, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
WEB: For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of Yahweh, to do righteousness and justice; to the end that Yahweh may bring on Abraham that which he has spoken of him."