Mistakes For Fathers To Avoid

by Pastor Art Kohl

 

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Copyright © 2001-97
Permission granted to freely copy.

Scripture verses in this booklet are from the King James Holy Bible.

Table of Contents

Mistake 1 – Honoring Your Children Above The Lord
Mistake 2 – Warning But Not Restraining His Children
Mistake 3 – Partiality
Mistake 4 – Worldliness
Mistake 5 – Incest
Mistake 6 – Drunkenness
Mistake 7 – Nakedness
Mistake 8 – Provocation
Mistake 9 – Covetousness
Mistake 10 – Adultery
Mistake 11 – Prejudice
Mistake 12 – Quitting
What Will It Be With Your Family?

Mistake 1 - Honoring Your Children Above The Lord

I Samuel 2:29,“Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?”

Notice in this verse that Eli honored his sons above the Lord. We will see that this is a very costly sin of a father. Eli was the Priest in the days of Elkanah and Hannah. They became the parents of the great prophet Samuel.

Eli’s house was a wreck. He was a horrible father. He made many mistakes that are recorded for us in the Scriptures. As fathers we can study Eli to be sure that we do not make the same mistakes. Although I hurt for Eli, I thank God this history was recorded for modern fathers to ponder and be sure we are not making these same errors.

Eli’s sons are described for us in I Samuel 2:12. It says, “Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord." We see the problem immediately. Eli’s children did not know the Lord; yet they were involved in religious practices. It says in I Samuel 2:13-17, “And the priests’ custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand; And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh, unto all the Israelites that came thither. Also before they burnt the fat, the priest’s servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw. And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force. Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord: for men abhorred the offering of the Lord.”

They were considered children of the devil. Our foremost responsibility as fathers is to be sure that our children are saved. They need to hear the gospel from us. It is not enough to hope that they hear the gospel in Sunday School, Junior Church, from the Pastor, or some children’s program in the church. Preeminently they must hear the gospel from us. The Bible says in Malachi 4:6, “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." The Lord wants our hearts toward our children. What greater way can we show our love to our kids then by sharing the gospel with them! Have you ever taken the time to explain the gospel of salvation to your children to make sure they were in Christ? Think of this story. Eli was the priest of the Lord, and yet his own sons knew not the Lord. Do not become so busy in your Christian service for the Lord that you forget your own children. In the Song of Solomon 1:6 it says, “They made me the keeper of the vineyards, but mine own vineyard have I not kept.” I wonder how many men there have been in the ministry or busy in the church who will have that sad testimony at the end of their lives?

Eli not only failed to reach his sons for the Lord, he honored them above the Lord. As a result, the Lord said in I Samuel 2:30-35, “Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father’s house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house. And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever. And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart: and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age. And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them. And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever.”

The Lord's judgment was pronounced and executed against Eli and his sons because of this sin. Do you honor your children above the Lord? The Bible tells us our God is a jealous God. He will not take second place to anything or anybody. Nowhere in the Bible does it tell us to put our family before the Lord; but often it tells us that we must put the Lord before everything. One example is Matthew 19:29 which says, “And everyone that hath forsaken houses, or brethren ,or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my names sake, shall receive an hundredfold and shall inherit everlasting life.”

Fathers let us not commit this sin today. We need to turn our hearts towards our children but not away from the Lord. We need to teach our children to know the Lord. We need to honour the Lord before our children so they can see that they have a Daddy who loves God and honors God above all things.

It grieves the Lord to see fathers who do not bring their children back to church on Sunday nights or Wednesday nights. They may have their children involved in Little League baseball, soccer, football, hockey, and all kinds of activities that they put before the Lord. Sometimes some fathers are governed by their children. Their children do not want to go to church, do not want to read the Bible, do not want to pray, etc. They then let their children dictate what they will do or not do. Some fathers live their whole lives for their children and for their children’s comfort, never asking the Lord what He would have them to do with their lives. Any father who honors his children above the Lord will ruin his house, because he is not doing what Jesus told him to do. Jesus said in Luke 6:49, “But he that heareth and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.” As you have read this you have heard the word of God. Now we need to either do it or not do it. If we do not honor the Lord above our children, the ruin of our house will be great.

Mistake 2 - Warning But Not Restraining Your Children

In chapter one we saw Eli as a father committing two grievous sins. First, he did not bring up his children to know the Lord. Second, he honored his children above the Lord. Now in this chapter we see another sin of a father. Here Eli warns his children but does not restrain them. In I Samuel 3:13 it says, “For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.” The Lord’s judgment was going to come severely on Eli and his sons because his sons continually made themselves worse and worse, and Eli restrained them not.

The word “restrain” means "to hold in, keep in check, prevent from acting, hold back, to take away the liberty of." Notice in the story of Eli that he did sufficiently warn his sons. It says about his sons in I Samuel 2:17, “Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord;... .” These were very sinful boys, and Eli did warn them as a father. It says in I Samuel 2:22-25, “Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress. If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them.”

As we can see, Eli warned his sons quite well, but the Lord wants a father to do more than just warn his sons or his children. He wants fathers to restrain their children. A good father will have rules, standards and convictions for his home and will expect his children to obey them. He will not tolerate rebellion. He will not tolerate any breaking of the rules. He will restrain his children. It is not enough just to warn our children, we must restrain them. It is very clear and evident by this story.

It has been my unfortunate experience as a pastor to not only see some modern fathers who do not restrain their children, but far worse than Eli, they do not even warn them. They just let whatever is going to happen take place. We see children and teenagers out on the street late at night. We see teenagers alone in cars and going places on so called “dates.” We see fathers taking a passive role in the upbringing of their children rather than an active role. This must change. The father is the head of the home. Evangelist Lester Roloff once said, “We live in a day where everything rules the home, except the man and the Lord. And we live in a shameful day.” Fathers, you are to rule your wife and children and have them in subjection as you follow the Lord. We need to get back to having strong fathers and leaders in our home. The very last verse of the Old Testament is Malachi 4:6, in it the Lord says “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” Notice fathers are supposed to turn their hearts to their children and children to their fathers. It is a dual responsibility, one of leadership and one of obedience.

In closing this chapter let me say that fathers need to rule their house by prudence. Prudence is a Bible word. It means forethought. A good father will give much thought to the future. He will explain his standards to the children before he has to deal with a problem. For instance:

  1. Children should know when they are little kids that they will never be allowed in a car or alone with someone of the opposite sex until their wedding night.
  2. They are going to be in Church every single time the doors are open: Sunday morning, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, and Revival Meetings.
  3. Daughters should always dress modestly, in modest skirts, in dresses, and in blouses.
  4. Sons should keep their shirts on in public places. A wise father spells out the rules before a situation comes and not after. Children find much security in knowing that their parents have laid down the boundaries for them early in life.

And then when the boundaries are laid down you need to enforce those rules as long as they live in your home. You must restrain them and make them abide by your rules. Eli did not do this. He warned his sons very well, but he did not restrain them. Unrestrained children will always gravitate towards evil because of human depravity. As a result, he paid the price of the horrible judgment of God on his family. Fathers, do more than just warn your children; restrain them in love and expect them to obey.

Mistake 3 - Partiality

Isaac married Rebekah when he was forty years old. Twenty years later she had twins. Their names were Esau and Jacob. As the boys grew, Esau became a great hunter and outdoorsman. Jacob stayed on the plains as a farmer dwelling in tents. Then in Genesis 25:28 we read this sad commentary on this divided family, “And Isaac loved Esau because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.”

Parental partiality ruined this family. It is clearly stated that the father loved one of his sons above the other. Likewise the mother loved one of her sons above the other. The story is quite familiar and most of us know that Jacob and Esau lived as archenemies all their days. Jacob stole Esau’s birthright which Esau despised. Later Jacob deceived his father when he could not see very well and stole Esau’s blessing. Esau then vowed that he would kill his brother Jacob. Except for the power of prayer, Esau probably would have killed Jacob, but God changed his heart. I wonder as I read this story if any of this had to happen. I wonder if this mother and father had loved their children equally if there would have been peace in their family all of their days?

How sad it is to see a father love one of his children above another because he is more talented, has similar likes and dislikes, is athletic, is good-looking or is talented whereas his other children might not be. Yet this is the way it is with some parents and it is wrong. Some parents love a particular daughter above their other children, maybe because she is prettier or more talented or whatever. Partiality sows the seeds of jealousy and envy in children and the scriptures ask in Proverbs 27:4, “Who can stand before envy?”

Sin has a way of visiting the next generation. Sure enough, it came knocking on the door of Jacob’s heart when he became a father. Just like his father Isaac, he also had partiality as a father. In Genesis 37:3, we have this very sad commentary about Jacob’s parenting. It says, “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him."

Israel is Jacob. His sin as a father is obvious. He loved Joseph more than his other ten living sons. As an indication of his partiality towards him, he gave him a coat of many colours. This bred jealousy in his brethren which turned to hatred. Notice the phrase — “they hated him.”

Fathers, you can save yourself an injured family if you will be impartial and love all of your children. The seeds of hatred, jealousy and envy are often sown by parents themselves. The Bible tells us that partiality is a sin. In James 2:1 it says, “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.” And then in verse nine it says, “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.” It is clear that to have respect of persons is to commit sin. It is also clear from the story of Isaac and Jacob that for a father to respect one of his children and to be partial towards him above any of the others is to commit a very costly sin that adversely affects his children and the next generation.

Fathers please consider these Scripture verses forbidding partiality. Leviticus 19:15, “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgement: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor.” Job 13:10, “He will surely reprove you, if ye do secretly accept persons.” I Timothy 5:21, “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.”

Mistake 4 - Worldliness

Abraham and his nephew Lot left Ur of the Chaldees and journeyed toward Canaan (Genesis 12:5). After leaving Egypt they came to the South of Canaan. Then the narrative continues in Genesis 13:5-13, “And Lot also, which went with Abram, had flocks, and herds and tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.”

Abraham had become very rich (Genesis 13:2). As we have seen in this story Lot also had become very rich. Their herdsmen began to have contentions among them. Consequently they had to divide and each go their separate way. So Abraham gave Lot the choice of which way to go. Lot made a fatal mistake. He made a decision that would ruin his family based on what his eyes saw. The lust of the eyes caused Lot to choose the city of Sodom near Gomorrah. It was a beautiful place in which to live. These cities were attractive to the flesh. However, it says that the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly. Lot chose his dwelling place based on the lust of the eyes. Spiritual factors aught to determine where we live, not worldly considerations. He was concerned more with his desires than the spiritual needs of the family.

In II Peter 2:8 the Bible says this about Lot, “For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;” Notice Lot was a righteous man. Also notice Lot had a righteous soul, but in seeing and hearing the ungodly deeds of the men of Sodom and Gomorrah Lot vexed his righteous soul. The word “vexed” means, “he wore himself out” — spiritually speaking.

As the story goes on, God chose to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. He told Lot to extricate his family for the Lord would destroy that city. When Lot went to his sons-in-law it says in Genesis 19:14, “But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law.” How sad. He had no credibility with his own sons-in-law and they were destroyed in Sodom.

However he did try to escape with his wife and his two daughters. In Genesis 19:26, His wife looked back as God rained fire and brimstone from heaven on Sodom and Gomorrah. She became a pillar of salt. In Genesis 19:30-38, you can read how his daughters made him drunk, committed incest with him and subsequently became pregnant by their own father.

Men, Lot chose the world. The results: His sons-in-law died in God’s judgment. His wife turned into a pillar of salt. His daughters committed incest with him. Consider this outline about Lot:

1. He lost:

  • His testimony.
  • His riches.
  • His place.
  • His home.
  • His business.
  • His temporal future.

2. His grandsons (Ammonites and Moabites) became enemies of God’s people.

3. He is a picture of the carnal believer in I Corinthians 2:10-15, who loses all rewards and is saved “yet so as by fire.”

What horrible results for choosing worldliness over spirituality.

What is worldliness? Worldliness is defined in I John 2:16. It says, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." We see therefore that the lust of the eyes is worldliness. This was Lot’s sin. What a horrible price a father pays for being worldly rather than spiritual. In James 4:4 the Bible says, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

Mistake 5 - Incest

In Genesis 19:30-34 we read, “And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.” When a father has sexual relationships with his own children, it is called incest. That is what happened in this story. Incest can be committed by other members of the family also. The dictionary defines incest as; “the crime of sexual intercourse between those so closely related that their marriage is prohibited by law.”

This is a horrible and wicked sin. Can a Christian commit this sin? Yes! I Corinthians 5:1-5 says, “It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. An ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” In this case it was a son committing incest with his mother or perhaps stepmother. In Lot’s case it was a father with his daughters. In either case it was wickedness “as is not so much named among the Gentiles.”

I grieve in my heart to know of several women who grew up with incest in their family. They were abused by their fathers. It is disgusting and they still feel dirty in their spirit, although it was not their fault. There is no excuse for this. The mental anguish and years of pain they feel because of the overpowering and inordinate affections of their father is almost unbearable. It will affect them for the rest of their lives. Thank God for salvation and the Spirit of the Lord that can give them liberty and healing.

This kind of man should be out of the Church until they confess, repent, and forsake this wickedness.

What was the result of Lot’s incest with his daughters? They became with child. They both had sons. One was named Ammon. He became the father of the Ammonites. The other was Moab who became the father of the Moabites. Thus Lot fathered by his own daughters two grandsons who became vile enemies of God’s people Israel.

Study sometime the people of Ammon and Moab. How sad that a Christian man commits an ungodly sin and produces not only an unchristian seed but an anti-christian seed. Does it surprise us that the Moabites hired Balaam to curse Israel, and Balaam told the Moabites to use their women to seduce the men of Israel? Sin always has a way of repeating itself. It is by far best not to commit the sin (Galatians 6:7-8).

Mistake 6 - Drunkenness

In Genesis 9:20-27 the Bible says, “And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.”

We see Noah after the flood, beginning to be a farmer (v20). He planted a vineyard, drank the wine, and became drunk. Drunkenness was the sin of Noah which in turn affected one of his children.

But first notice how drunkenness affected Noah. It says he was uncovered within his tent. Drunkenness can lead to nakedness. Nakedness leads to the curse of God. The Bible says that no Christian should serve alcohol to somebody else because it could produce nakedness in that person.

In Habakkuk 2:15-16 it says, “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness! Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the Lord’s right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory.” Notice the word woe. That word means the judgment of God is upon the person who gives alcohol to somebody else.

In America we live in such a naked country because we live in such a drunken country. Men are taught to drink beer from their youth. Beer commercials saturate television programming. Nakedness is the result of alcohol breaking down the inhibitions of an individual. When those inhibitions are broken down by alcohol, he or she could shamelessly expose his or her body.

You would think after Noah had witnessed God’s wrath on the whole earth, he would have more fear of the Lord in him, but who can underestimate the power of alcohol.

Now notice the effect it had on one of his children. In Genesis 9:22, Ham saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers Shem and Japheth. They respected their father so much they put a garment on their shoulders and went backwards into the tent, covering their father’s nakedness. Ham looked on his father’s nakedness. As a result, Ham’s descendents were cursed. We will see this in a further study when we study the horrible sin of nakedness. But for now remember man’s drunkenness led to nakedness which in turn led to a curse on Canaan.

In the last chapter we saw Lot drunken two nights in a row. It must have led to nakedness in his case also for he had incestuous relations with his two daughters two consecutive nights. Drunkenness is a wicked sin. Read Genesis 19:30-38, to remind yourself of Lot’s story.

Mistake 7 - Nakedness

In Genesis 9:20-27, we saw the story of a father named Noah, who had become drunk, was naked and uncovered within his tent. We quoted these verses in chap- ter six. One of Noah’s sons, Ham, the father of Canaan saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brethren without. Noah’s other sons, Shem and Japheth, took a garment and laid it on their shoulders and went backward and covered the nakedness of their father. As their faces were backward they did not see their father’s nakedness. When Noah awoke he said, “Cursed be Canaan, a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.”

God considers nakedness and immodesty a very serious sin. Nakedness and immodesty effect societies and generations. Most of the time when we think of immodesty we think of the need for women to dress modestly as is instructed in I Timothy 2:9. The reason for that is very obvious as men are stimulated by sight more than women. Men also are to dress modestly, not only to avoid stimulating women but out of respect for the body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

When we look at Canaan’s life we see that he was cursed as well as those that proceeded from him. Consider some of Ham’s children besides Canaan. In Genesis 10:19-20 the Bible says, “And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even Lasha. These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations.”

Consider that Canaan would eventually have children like Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim. These would then form cities named after themselves. We are all familiar with what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. The Bible says, the men of the city were wicked before the Lord exceedingly. When angels arrived in the city, it says in Genesis 19:4-8, “But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof." As we know, the men did not listen to Lot and tried to storm the house. They were stricken immediately by the Lord with blindness and then later with fire and brimstone from heaven. Where did this sad story start? When a father exposed his nakedness and the nakedness led to the curse of one of his grandchildren.

As I think of the history of America, I think of how prohibition ended in 1933. Liquor was then allowed to be sold publicly and openly. In 1934, a law was passed in our country allowing men, for the first time ever, to take off their shirts in public. Since 1934 more and more of the human body has been allowed to be seen in public. We are now a country that for the last four generations has become more and more perverse in its sexuality, just like Sodom and Gomorrah. Nakedness leads to sexual sin and sexual sin leads to perversion and perversion leads to the wrath of God upon a country.

In Exodus 32, three thousand men died in one day from God’s judgment. Moses, their leader was also very angry. In verses 19 and 25 of that chapter we read the reasons why both the Lord and Moses were angry. One of the reasons was because the people had become naked. In Leviticus 18:6-7a, the Bible says, “None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the Lord. The nakedness of thy father, or the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover.”

II Chronicles 28:19 says, “For the Lord brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for he made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the Lord.” In Mark 5:15 after the Lord cast out a legion of devils from a man in Gadera, the Bible says this man was found sitting, clothed, and in his right mind. In John 21:7, when fishing one day Peter did a very strange thing. As he discovered that the Lord Jesus was on the shore watching him, he put his fishers coat on, jumped into the water and swam to shore. It tells us he did that “For he was naked.” In Revelation 3:18 the Bible calls nakedness a shame.

Fathers, do not walk around your house, in front of your children, or in public without any clothes on. Keep your shirt on, keep your pants on. Teach your children by your example that the body is the Temple of the Holy Ghost; it belongs to God and not to us. We are to hold it up in the highest respect. Do not expose your nakedness to anyone but your wife (Genesis 2:25). Teach your boys to respect their bodies. Teach your girls to respect their bodies. A father’s sin of nakedness can affect his children.

When the tabernacle and later the temple were to be built, there was to be an altar in it. However the Lord did not want any steps going up to the altar. Why not? The answer is given us in Exodus 20:26, “Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.” Often, when climbing steps, parts of a person’s body that otherwise are not revealed can be seen, especially in the way men and women dressed in Bible times. The Lord wanted to make sure that never happened inside of His temple. Today, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Also the Priests were instructed in Exodus 28:42, “And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach.” The loins and thighs of a man were to be covered if he were to be a Priest of the Lord. Men, modesty is required of us according to the Holy Scriptures.

Please ponder the words of our Lord through the apostle Paul in I Corinthians 6:19-20, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Mistake 8 - Provocation

Provocation means “to provoke, to make angry, or to irritate greatly.” Kids are not ours to mistreat. We must remember foremost that they are God’s children. In I Samuel 20:24-34, we read this story, “So David hid himself in the field: and when the new moon was come, the king sat him down to eat meat. And the king sat upon his seat, as at other times, even upon a seat by the wall: and Jonathan arose, and Abner sat by Saul’s side, and David’s place was empty. Nevertheless Saul spake not any thing that day: for he thought, Something hath befallen him, he is not clean; surely he is not clean. And it came to pass on the morrow, which was the second day of the month, that David’s place was empty: and Saul said unto Jonathan his son, Wherefore cometh not the son of Jesse to meat, neither yesterday, nor today? And Jonathan answered Saul, David earnestly asked leave of me to go to Bethlehem: And he said, Let me go, I pray thee; for our family hath a sacrifice in the city; and my brother, he hath commanded me to be there: and now, if I have found favour in thine eyes, let me get away, I pray thee, and see my brethren. Therefore he cometh not unto the king’s table. Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou son of the perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own confusion, and unto the confusion of thy mother’s nakedness? For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die. And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said unto him, Wherefore shall he be slain? what hath he done? And Saul cast a javelin at him to smite him: whereby Jonathan knew that it was determined of his father to slay David. So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did eat no meat the second day of the month: for he was grieved for David, because his father had done him shame.”

Here we see a father, named Saul, provoking his son Jonathan to wrath. In the New Testament in Colossians 3:21 the Bible instructs fathers, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” Saul did the very opposite. He provoked Jonathan and called him names. Not only did he disparage his son by calling him a name but also attacked his son’s mother. He called Jonathan, “thou son of a perverse, rebellious woman.” Fathers should never call their children names, unless they are names of endearment. There is a tremendous power in praise. Praise will encourage our children to develop all of their abilities. Praise will help our children to attempt many different things. However, according to this verse, provocation will discourage our children. Thus, a father stifles his children’s creativity and limits a child’s ability to develop talents that can be used for God. So a father who provokes his children, is sinning against God.

Jesus does not take very lightly the way we treat children. Some of his harshest words were towards those who offended children. For example, Jesus said in Matthew 18:6, “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” This warning is repeated in Mark 9:42 and in Luke 17:2. Fathers, we should heed that warning. No, we are not going to lose our salvation, but it does show the special place that children have in the heart of God.

So in Ephesians 6:4 we are told what to do. It says, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” We are responsible for bringing up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The word nurture means “education or training.” It implies disciplinary correction that is done in love. It refers to instruction. Yes, there are times when we must discipline our children, but it must be done in love. I Corinthians 13:5 says, “Charity is not easily provoked.” Fathers, if you are having trouble being provoked or find yourself always provoking your children, then you need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will give you charity. Pray for it and charity will cause you not to be easily provoked.

The result of this sad story is that Jonathan and his father Saul always had a strained relationship rather than a loving relationship between father and son.

Please note that the word “admonition,” as seen in Ephesians 6:4 above, means “to call attention to, to mildly rebuke or warn.”

Mistake 9 - Covetousness

In Joshua 7:20-26 we have this story, “And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it. So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it. And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them to Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the Lord. And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.”

A father by the name of Achan committed the sin of covetousness. In verse 21 he said, “I saw” and “I coveted” and then “took them.” Covetousness affects the heart but begins with the eyes. The eye affects the heart (Lamentations 3:51). Achan saw some clothing and some money (silver and gold). He then coveted the clothes and the money and took them and hid them in the midst of his tent. What Achan failed to realize was that, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good,” (Proverbs 15:3).

Joshua had led the children of Israel across the Jordan River and on to a great victory over the city of Jericho. Their next battle was at Ai. Joshua and the children of Israel failed to pray and with confidence in their flesh went up against Ai with about three thousand men. The men of Ai put them to shame and killed thirty six of Israel’s men. They caused the nation of Israel to become cowards. The Lord revealed to Joshua that the reason they lost was because there was sin in the camp. Someone had stolen an accursed thing and hid it among their stuff. That person was Achan. Think of it, Achan’s sin of covetousness caused thirty six men to die. Also it caused all of his sons and his daughters to die and cost him his own life.

God hates covetousness and so should we. The Bible says in Proverbs 28:16, “...he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.” The Lord promises longevity to those who hate covetousness, but Achan who loved covetousness had his life cut short. When Moses needed help governing Israel in the wilderness the Lord told him to pick out seventy elders to help him. They were to be men who “Fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.” (Exodus 18:21).

What is the problem with covetousness? Colossians 3:5 tells us. It says “...Covetousness is idolatry.” Covetousness is when people make idols out of the world and the things of the world. Things like clothes, money, cars, houses, property, etc. They begin to live for these things and love these things more than they love God. In I John 2:15-17 the apostle John tells us, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” John would end his book by saying in chapter 5:21, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” Idols, fathers, are anything we desire in our hearts more than God. This killed Achan and his family.

Hundreds of years later in I Chronicles 2:7 Achan is called the "troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the thing accursed.” What a sad name to have as a father. How many fathers have troubled their families by coveting? It has caused them to get deeply in debt. It has caused them to buy things that they wanted rather than things their wives and children needed. It has left their wives and children without necessities for life. It has caused them to rob God of His tithe and the church of offerings. Thus covetousness causes a man to be a troubler of his family and his church. May the Lord help us to repent of covetousness and realize that “a good name is rather to be chosen than great riches and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” (Proverbs 22:1). “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind . . .” (Proverbs 11:29a).

Mistake 10 - Adultery

In II Samuel 11:1-5 we read this infamous story about King David, “And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David tarried still at Jerusalem. And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and inquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house. And the woman conceived, and sent and told David, and said, I am with child.”

David was already married. He should have been out to battle but he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He saw a beautiful woman, lusted after her, and took her. As a result she became pregnant. This story only gets worse. He tries to cover up his sin by calling the woman’s husband home from the war. He hopes that her husband will lie with her so they can say the child is his. Her husband does not lie with her. David decides to have her husband killed so he can marry her and still cover up his sin. David has him killed. Nine months later a child is born. At this time the Lord speaks to David through the Prophet Nathan. The Lord knew all along and David’s adultery could not be hid.

What a horrible effect this has on David’s family. Up until that time this family had been pure and blessed of the Lord. First, note that the son died. You can read that story in II Samuel 12. He was only seven days old when the Lord took him. This caused David to have a broken heart. Next, David’s family was plagued with sexual sin because of his poor example. David’s son Amnon in II Samuel 13, loved his half sister Tamar. He ended up raping then hating her. As a result, David’s other son Absalom killed Amnon two years later after harboring hatred in his heart for Amnon because he had raped his sister. Think of it, this was all in the family. When a father loses his purity his family could become plagued with sexual sin.

Consider also Absalom. David, his father, committed adultery with one woman in private, but what did Absalom do? In II Samuel 16:20-22 it says, “Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give counsel among you what we shall do. And Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Go in unto thy father’s concubines, which he had left to keep the house; and all Israel shall hear that thou art abhorred of thy father: then shall the hands of all that are with thee be strong. So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his concubines in the sight of all Israel.” What David his father did in private with one woman Absalom did in public with many women in the sight of all Israel. As the story goes on, Absalom loses all respect for his father and conspires to take away his own father’s kingdom. What a horrible sin adultery is. It is one of the most selfish sins that a man can commit. To think that a man will for a few moments of pleasure allow his family and his own credibility to be destroyed!

Our Lord said in the ten commandments, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” Exodus 20:14. Jesus also addressed this subject by saying in Matthew 5:27-28, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Our Lord stresses that adultery is wrong but goes much further by stating that we ought not to even lust after women in our own heart. Proverbs 6:25 says, “Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.” And the Apostle Paul warns us in Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

Avoid the judgment of God. Do not commit adultery physically, or in your heart. Be pure. Love your wife and children with a pure heart. Do not be like David. One moment of weakness ruined his family. Consider in closing that his son Solomon had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned away his heart, I Kings 11:3. What David thought would be a few moments of pleasure ended up ruining his whole family. Do not commit adultery.

Mistake 11 - Prejudice

The Apostle Peter once said, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons,” Acts 10:34. Without a doubt God has no prejudice. If anybody had a right to hold a grudge against somebody it would be the Lord. It would be against all people for we killed His Son. The slaying of Jesus Christ on the cross was caused by red people, black people, white people, yellow people of all races, nations, kindreds, and tongues. The greatest injustice ever suffered was suffered by the Lord Jesus Christ because of all of us. But the Lord forgives us and in the last book of the Bible, in Revelation 5:9 it says, “For thou wast slain, and hast redeemed to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” So the very people that did the Lord injustice he forgave and redeemed. His example should be followed by all of us no matter how badly we may have been hurt by some other race of people.

However, in the book of Esther we read the story of a father named Haman. We read of his prejudice against Jews. By the time we get done reading, we not only see that his prejudice kills him but also affects his sons in that they are put to death. Thus it is possible for a father to have prejudice and have that sin affect his children. I wonder how many children through the ages have died in race riots, gangs, wars, or world wars that were all started because of the prejudice of their fathers or forefathers. Would to God that we would love the world just as the Lord loves the world. We need to get over prejudice. Heaven will have people of all races, nations, skin colors, etc. enjoying the presence of God.

In Esther 3:1-6 we read this story of Haman, “After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him. And all the king’s servants, that were in the king’s gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him. But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence. Then the king’s servants, which were in the king’s gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king’s commandment? Now it came to pass, when they spake daily unto him, and he harkened not unto them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai’s matters would stand: for he had told them that he was a Jew. And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.”

Because Haman did not like one Jew he wanted to destroy them all. That is prejudice. He devised a plan for their extinction. Part of that is recorded for us in Esther 5:13-14, “Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the King’s gate. Then said Zeresh his wife and all his friends unto him, Let a gallows be made of fifty cubits high, and to morrow speak thou unto the king that Mordecai may be hanged thereon: then go thou in merrily with the king unto the banquet. And the thing pleased Haman; and he caused the gallows to be made.”

However the tables turned against Haman. Esther the Queen was able to persuade king Ahasuerus to let the Jews live. In turn Haman was hung on the very gallows he had made to hang Mordecai the Jew. You can read that in Esther 7:10. Later when the Jews were saved from extinction the king ordered the execution of all of Haman’s sons in Esther 9:14. So one father’s prejudice led to his death and to the death of his sons. What a wicked sin it is to be prejudiced or to be a racist. The Lord hates it for he loves all whether we love them or not.

Let us consider the admonition of James the apostle who said in James 2:9, “But if ye have respect of persons ye commit sin and are convinced of the law as transgressors.”

The prophet Jonah manifest prejudice against the Ninevites. God dealt with him. The Lord showed Jonah that He loved the Ninevites though Jonah hated them. Every person is made in the image of God. When we hate a person because of race or ethnicity, we are striking out at the image of God.

Mistake 12 - Quitting

When hard times came to Elimelech he did not endure, but sought fleshly relief. The story is found in the book of Ruth 1:1-3, “Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem-judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem-judah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there. And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.”

Elimelech was Naomi’s husband. He had two sons, Mahlon and Chilion. Things were not going well in Bethlehem their home town. There was a famine in the land. So he left Bethlehem (the house of bread) and traveled in the country of Moab (the land of scarcity) with his whole family. By the end of this story we find that not only did Elimelech die in Moab, but in verse five of chapter one it says that Mahlon and Chilion died there also. Thus Naomi ended up a widow with no sons and much hardship. When she came back to Bethlehem, she said, “I went out full and the Lord hath brought me home again empty.” (Ruth 1:21). She realized then that she should have stayed in Bethlehem. Her husband had made a mistake to run from the hardships. They were in fact full, lost everything and came back empty.

As you read through the story in the book of Ruth you will find that most people stayed in Bethlehem. In fact it says in verse six of chapter one that “Naomi had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.” If Elimelech would have stayed there he would have seen that the Lord did provide for the people

of Bethlehem. Often fathers quit too soon. When hardships come they do something drastic by taking things into their own hands rather than trusting in the Lord. Elimelech sojourned we are told. The word “sojourned” means “to pass through.” We find, however, that though his intention was to pass through, he ended up staying in Moab for ten years (Ruth 1:4). How many times it happens that someone leaves the house of the Lord, only intending to pass through the world to see what it’s like, but ends up staying there until death. The apostle James said in 1:15, “Sin when it is finished bringeth forth death.”

I am sure if Elimelech could live his life over again he would have stayed in Bethlehem and endured hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (II Timothy 2:3). Fathers, do not be afraid of hardness. Do not run when hardships come. Stay put. Work your way through them. Wait on the Lord till his blessings come again. It takes no character to quit. Anyone can be a quitter. Naomi his wife had to endure three funerals within ten years that maybe could have been avoided. When she came back she said, “Call me not Naomi (pleasant), call me Mara (bitter), for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. Why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me and the Almighty hath afflicted me?” (Ruth 1:20-21).

It certainly is sad to see the bitterness some wives must endure because of their husband’s decisions. Fathers, learn how to pray and ask guidance from the Lord before moving, running, or quitting. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths.” The Lord wants to direct the path of all fathers for their wives’ and children’s sake. Let the Lord do it. Talk to Him about all your decisions. And without fear face all your hardships knowing that the Lord will eventually visit you with bread.

What Will It Be With Your Family?

Sometimes fathers are heartbroken as their children go astray one by one. They inventory their life to see what went wrong. They say to themselves, “I gave them everything they ever wanted. I paid for their education, I paid for their car, I paid for their clothes, their food. I took them places, I took them shopping. We went on vacations and trips, I did everything with them and they’ve still gone astray. Why?” Eli honored his sons above the Lord also. He met all their needs, except their spiritual needs. He put that last when it should have been first. Fathers, let us remember Eli’s sin of honoring his children above the Lord.

Now contrast the story of Eli who did wrong by honoring his sons above the Lord to that of Abraham who was asked by the Lord to sacrifice his son Isaac. The story is found in Genesis 22:1-19.

As Abraham was about to slay his son Isaac, the Lord stopped him and said, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him: For now I know that thou fearest God, SEEING THOU HAST NOT WITHHELD THY SON, THINE ONLY SON FROM ME,” (vs 12).

Abraham put the fear of God before family. Because of this the Lord blessed Abraham, “And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall posses the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice,” (vs 16-18).

Now one final thought. Aside from the obvious bad examples of the fathers described in this article, we can conclude that “success” in child training is not easily reduced to simple formulas. Godly homes usually produce godly children except for an occasional “black sheep” who had received the same training and advantages, yet chose to reject the light. God had three sons: Adam (Luke 3:38), Israel (Hosea 11:1) and Jesus. Only one of them obeyed Him fully. That was Jesus. Adam was redeemed and probably got his life in order and Israel will someday be saved (Romans 11:26), but who would dare blame God for failing as a Father?

Every believer in Christ is a son of God (I John 3:1-2). How many are obeying Him fully? Again we would not dare blame God for failing as a Father. As a father He is perfect (Matthew 5:48). Every child is possessed of a fallen nature and a free will. Some choose to reject light (Cain, Adam, etc.). In the final analysis, if any of our children turn out, it is by the grace of God. However our influence as fathers should not be underestimated (Proverbs 17:6). You can protect your credibility and lend power to your example and words by avoiding the mistakes described in this article.

- Pastor Art Kohl (May 8, 2001)

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