Donald Karnes - Home

God has a big stake in the Home. It is there individuals are shaped. God is looking for homes where He can move and make history. Thus, so much depends upon parents. Blessed are those who feel the weight of responsibility for the household they have brought into being, of making it a godly home. Parents, who neglect this most important side, will have to answer for it at the Judgment Bar of God. The family takes precedence. It makes society possible. A true home is the sanctuary of the family. The church depends so much on the home; even the State needs such for its existence. Religion, government, and morality all begin at the family level. Destroy the home and you destroy the family, the church, and even society. Anarchy and chaos result. The enemy is aiming to defile this sanctuary.

 

The home is much more than four walls and a roof overhead. It is not a question of furniture or finery, car or location; rather a place of family love and family spirit. I like the simple way a four-year-old child put it. Her parents were seeking lodgings. Someone asked the child, "So your parents are looking for a home?" "No!" was her reply. "We already have a home; we are looking for a house to put it in." A home is the beginning of love and warmth, of understanding and knowledge, of up-bringing and mutual respect. Home is our first protection and provision, first shelter and security, first experiences in life of obedience and happiness.


Children must be taught. This vital training is first and foremost accomplished in the home. It is the best place for the formation of character. Church and school can never be a substitute of the home. No child can easily erase the memory of godly parents, nor forget respect  and authority taught and maintained in the home.

 

The Gospel says little about our Saviour, with regard to the home where He was reared. Yet there is no question as to the character and kind of parents who founded this most important home in History. Joseph, her husband, being a just man while he thought on these things, beheld the angel of the Lord appeared saying, "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee, Mary thy wife." In all Jewish history, no one inspired them as did David, the faithful shepherd boy who rose to the king and prophet, etc. It must have been a great encouragement to Joseph, amidst his troubled thoughts, when God spoke of him as David’s son. We don’t read in the Bible one word that Joseph ever spoke, but we do read of four times that God spoke to him. And what’s more important? Each time the Lord spoke to him there was unquestioning obedience. Joseph did as the angel of the Lord had bidden. Earlier, Mary manifested  the same unswerving obedience, "Behold the handmaiden of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word." What a wonderful background to this couple who made the greatest of all homes, worthy of God's own son.

 

Joseph and Mary made the long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem to keep the decree of Caesar, that all the world should be taxed (enrolled). It was an order from imperial Rome, requiring them to make this long, hard journey, by foot or by donkey: a 100 miles, at such a critical time, just as the child was about to be born. They did not seek any excuse to evade the command of a pagan emperor, but plodded on carrying it out in every detail though at the time they did not know that God was using him as an instrument to fulfill Scriptures. After such faithfulness, they could have expected a better end to a long, trying trip. What a reception! She brought forth her first-born son, wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room in the inn. They could have had some doubt about the rightness of such a place or the wisdom of such a sacrifice and obedience: Born in a stable! Laid in a manger!

 

However, when the Shepherds came and told their story, how an angel, backed by heavenly Host revealed, "Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour and this shall be a sign unto you. Ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." What blessed assurance! After all the stable, the manger was the right place. The shepherds visit must have repaid them a 100 fold for any humiliation and hardship they needs must have experienced.

 

Everything that follows in this chapter helps us to understand better the kind of parents God chose as guardians of His Beloved Son. Nothing passed unobserved, nothing was taken lightly: Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Even the circumcision and naming of the child: in God's time and as the angel had said. How long did they stay in Bethlehem? Their desire to accomplish all things as written reveals the precise time in these verses: when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord, for a male child that took 40 days (Leviticus 12:2-4). No time was lost in presenting him to the Lord, that he be called holy. Right from the beginning, they wanted Gods help and blessing upon the Holy Child entrusted to their keeping.


The long trip to Bethlehem, the sojourn there and also the going up to Jerusalem had consumed their meagre resources. How unworthy they must have felt when they could not afford the usual required sacrifice of a lamb, and so must resort to the provision God had made for the poorest of the poor - two pigeons or a pair of turtledoves. It also indicates that the Wise men, with their wealth of gold and gifts, had not yet visited them. What divine timing seen in all!


They met the true prophet of God, Simeon, who came into the Temple at the time when the parents brought in the Child Jesus. He revealed somewhat of the rough and rugged road before them. The prophetess, Anna, came in also in that instant and gave thanks. Again they tarried not, no time lost. When they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. Home again, after an eventful assignment.