Previous article in this series: December 15, 2011, p. 132.
It cannot be overemphasized that our covenant children must be raised in a way that is antithetic to the philosophy of the world. This is as true for our daughters as it is for our sons. We need to warn our daughters continually about the ungodly philosophy, lifestyle, behavior, and even dress of the world. The truth and reality of the covenant is maintained in our home and our churches when our daughters are raised to be spiritually separate from the ungodly world in which we live, and radically different in the whole of their thinking, conversation, and behavior. The world lives at enmity against God under the inspiration of the Evil One. It flaunts a lifestyle contrary to all the commandments of God, to all that is holy and beautiful before God. This world is not improving, contrary to what many imagine. The modern world has more and more power to influence our covenant children in the philosophy it promotes in its schools and every sphere of our society. This philosophy is strongly promoted by the prominent and popular women leaders of our day, many advocating radical feminist ideals, promising to liberate the women of our day from what they characterize as some sort of evil bondage and suppression. The power of the media and advertising, Facebook and texting and social media, and every new electronic invention is being used for promoting the philosophy of our times. Love for the covenant of God and love for the beautiful covenant young daughters He has given us must motivate us to warn them continually as they are growing up in our homes.
Having said all of this however, it must also be emphasized that the instruction of our covenant daughters, as of our sons, must be centrally positive. The antithesis cannot be maintained unless our children know the blessed and glorious thesis of being sons and daughters of the covenant who were saved from this ungodly world by the wonderful grace and love of God. Our children must be constantly encouraged by the rewards promised for godly covenant living and the great significance of the lives of God’s people in the sphere of His covenant.
Consider some of the beautiful statements in Scripture that speak of the blessed hope and glory particularly of the daughters of the covenant. In Psalm 144 the daughters of the covenant are compared to polished cornerstones of the palace of the king. The reference is to the palace of King Jesus, the Lord of lords and the King of glory. In the Psalter these words are versified, “whose daughters fair a queenly race are like the cornerstones that grace the palace of a king.”Proverbs 31 defines for us a truly virtuous woman. She is said to be extremely rare among the women of the world. She should in fact be greatly cherished and treasured for what God made her to be. She is described as being truly intelligent, having understanding far greater than those priding themselves in knowledge and understanding in the world. She is said to be wise and highly gifted. She truly knows what is right and good. She is very busy and industrious. She is most beneficial to her God-given husband in supporting and serving him in marriage and in his daily occupation. She is a great blessing to the covenant children born from her womb and nurtured on her lap, taught the truth and ways of the Lord from childhood on. She blesses those children with tender affection and great godly concern. She exercises great influence on her children in the formative years of their lives. She is the great role model for them in her own behavior, which will be the pattern for how they must live also in years to come.
Recently conducted studies and surveys have indicated the powerful influence of a good mother. She will affect the psychological well-being and personal stability of her children. She is a great inspiration and motivator for future success of these children in school and in their earthly careers and calling. She will be a pattern for the future to help her children to make good choices for life partners and to be able to establish lasting and strong loving marriages and homes of their own.
The godly mother has potential far greater than the humanistic mothers of the world. She is a great influence in the spiritual development and future role of her children in the church and kingdom of Christ. She is declared by God Himself to be worthy of praise and the source of great blessing. By her service to her own children, she wins their love and respect and praise, which will be one of the greatest joys for her in her own life, when her children are out of the home and living on their own. Her husband, if he is godly, knows her great worth and honors her in love for what she has done and does.
In I Peter 3 the apostle warns wives about the vanity of the world and all their self-adornment and self-promotion. Then he speaks of the true adornment and beauty of the daughters of the covenant. This beauty and glory is not physical and outward and sensual. Such beauty is of little lasting significance. It is soon gone, when women grow older and find themselves little regarded after they have lost the imagined eternal youthfulness they had pursued. The true beauty for godly women is the inner spiritual beauty of the heart. This is a beauty that is precious in God’s sight. It is the true beauty of holiness and of the fear of God. This beauty is possessed by those whom God has chosen and redeemed in Christ and sanctified by His Spirit and made glorious in His own sight. They are those who live out of faith in Jesus Christ. Their strength and joy and hope is in Him and in His approval on their lives.
There are certain definite virtues of life and behavior spoken of in connection with the true beauty and real significance of godly women. The beautiful young girls of the covenant must be trained in such a way that these virtues grow and increase in them and prepare them for true Christian living.
Godly modesty is one of these great virtues. This modesty is the opposite of the pride and scandalously immoral behavior of the women of the world. The world glorifies women who are attractive in face and body and shape and dress and who are able to excite the sinful passions of men. This is all considered to be a great source of pleasure and entertainment in the world. Very young girls are taught the world’s philosophy on this. They are learning to refine this as a kind of science in their lives. Millions of dollars are spent on this by the world. Most movies of the world have sexual attraction and depraved lust as their main themes. These are promoted as though they are the greatest excitement imaginable and something to be pursued by all. Glossy magazines displaying popular women on their front pages promote this. The songs and dances of the world are all about this. Diets and exercise are promoted and popular for these reasons.
But our beloved covenant young daughters must be taught from childhood about the true beauty of godly virtues, and the inner spiritual beauty of the heart. They must be taught that there is no greater joy and blessing and fulfillment than in serving God in His church and kingdom and in a life devoted to His glory. Modesty, the fear of God, godly humility, holiness before God, love for God and true love for the neighbor, meekness and kindness, care and compassion for others, faithfulness and steadfastness in the principles of God’s Word no matter what the personal cost to oneself—these are glorious virtues in the sight of God.
The virtuous woman is the one who has great wisdom, usually taught to her by her godly mother and father in the days of her childhood. She has a wisdom that far excels the boasted wisdom and knowledge of this world. This wisdom has great practical benefit for her in her own personal life to bring the assurance of the favor and blessing of God and peace and joy and satisfaction to her. This wisdom will enable her to seek sincerely the salvation and true good of others whom she serves.
The inspired apostle Paul summarizes the instruction that must be given to the younger women in the church when he advises pastor Timothy how these members of the church must be instructed in the truth. “I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan” (I Tim. 5:14).
If God’s covenant is to continue in our generations, in our homes and families, our daughters must be trained in the way of the covenant. They must be taught how to be faithful wives and mothers, how to build spiritually strong and beautiful homes, and to raise a new generation of God-fearing members of the church of the Lord.
Our daughters must be taught to be “keepers of the home.” They are to be guardians of the home, keeping it from the evil influences of the world and its destruction by the devil. They must be devoted to creating a spiritual atmosphere in the home with godly order and discipline. Our daughters must be trained to work diligently in making their homes a happy and wonderful place to live, a healthy environment for the raising of children, and a pleasant place for exercising Christian hospitality to those that in the providence of the Lord might enter the home and be invited to experience its blessedness. This calling requires the godly virtues of humility and self-sacrifice.
One author that I have often read in the course of my pastoral ministry put it well when he made a list of what is required for being a godly mother in a Christian home. Consider this list. The godly mother in the covenant home must be a child psychologist and a gifted educator of children, a highly qualified nurse and a medical practitioner, a home economist, an interior decorator, an expert dietician, and a gifted artist who is willing to share her God-given talents to train others in the finer things of life. More things I am sure could rightly be added to this long list. All these are practical gifts, virtues that will bring greater benefits to others as well. Well-trained godly daughters will grow up to be of greater and more lasting significance than the women of the world who might excel even to the point of becoming CEOs in the rich and powerful corporations of the world, or popular politicians, making decisions about world affairs and the course of the nations of the world.
God does not intend that all young women marry. He does not give children to all. Many of the same virtues, gifts, and training of young women mentioned above will also equip those who in the providence of the Lord remain single all their life and those who do not receive children. Consider how many single women are mentioned in the Bible and praised for their role in the church and kingdom of God. Think of Mary and Martha and all the other devoted women who served the Lord during His earthly ministry. Some of these were married, some were single all their life long. Think of Dorcas, who lived in Joppa. She is said to have been “a woman full of good works and alms deeds.” Think of Lydia in Philippi, whose heart the Lord opened. She was one of the first converts in Philippi. After her conversion she opened her home to serve the newly formed church in Philippi. Think of Priscilla, who was prominent in service of the Lord in several churches. Think of Phebe, whom Paul calls “our sister in the Lord and servant of the church” (see Rom. 16). Read the last chapter of the book of Romans and pay attention to the many women listed there and the greetings and the praise addressed to them. Not all of these were married. A number were single. They were dearly loved by the apostle of the Lord and highly respected in the church.
What is most significant about all of those mentioned above is the fact that all of them, by the grace of God in their lives, loved the Lord, His truth, and also His church. They made the care of the church and her members the central focus of their lives and were ready to serve her with great zeal, self-sacrifice, and devotion. What great service they accomplished for the glory of God and the great benefit of His beloved church.