July 21, 2017

The American Home (2)

Bob Jones Sr.

This article first appeared in the first issue of the magazine, Faith for the Family, published March/April, 1973.It is reproduced here by permission.

This is the SECOND of three parts • Part One • Part Three

In Part One, Dr. Jones introduces his theme and his concern for Christian homes. In this second part he will begin to draw some principles based on ideas he finds in his text, Deut 22.8.

The Rooftop — Its Uses

“When thou buildest a new house, then thou shalt make a battlement for thy roof, that thou bring not blood upon thine house, if any man fall from thence” (Deuteronomy 22:8). We read in the Bible four purposes for which the housetop was used.

First, it was a place of service. Rahab was on the housetop drying flax. Every home ought to be a place of service. Everybody ought to have a job around the house, and we certainly should not add to the burdens that someone else has. You should not put any weight on your mother’s shoulders when she is carrying all she can carry. You should be the kind of son or daughter who lifts the load. When a weary husband comes home, he ought to find a place where he can get a way from the day’s strife and turmoil. Yes, the home ought to be a place of service. You can dry somebody’s tears and lift the load from someone’s tired shoulders. You can be a burden-bearer at home. How wonderful life would be if all did their part.

The home is woman’s rightful place. The general rule is that God made women for homes. Sometimes, of course, there are exceptions. Sometimes God calls women into other areas of service. But the Bible emphasizes “keepers at home.” I know some women in this country who run around from place to place and think they are Bible teachers. Or they are out in politics o somewhere and let their houses go topsy-turvy. You know, there is a good deal of “old-time religion” in soap and a rag. There is old-time practical religion in keeping the floor clean. There is good “old-time religion” in darning the clothes of a little child. There is good “old-time religion” in a girl’s helping her mother around the house.

Another thing about the old-time housetop is that it was a place of recreation. The happiest place in the world ought to be the home. But there is hidden danger, too. David was on the housetop the night he fell into sin. What a warning that is to us! He was on the rooftop, probably looking at the stars. All at once he looked across the court — and there was a woman undressing. David said, “I’d better look the other way.” But he didn’t. Listen. It is not the first look that damns you. It is the second look. You may not be able to avoid the first look; but you can escape the second look. Whenever you keep looking toward danger, you will wake up in the midst of it. What a fearful thought! I never think of somebody’s falling into sin that I do not think of David, the man who wrote the Twenty-third Psalm. What a pity that his name was soiled and the pages of Holy Writ blotted! It does matter what goes on around the house. It does matter what you do, what you see, and what you hear. It does matter!

Home — place of recreation. What is sweeter than a little baby? The sweetest music the world ever heard since the morning stars sang together is the laughter of a little child. What would a home be without babies? What would a home be without children? What would a home be without Mother? What would it be without Dad?

Of course, we do not have perfection in this world, but we should strive after it. You say, “I can’t make my home what it ought to be.” Well, make it the best you can. If you cannot reach the ideal, just go in that direction.

Another thing about the housetop that we read in the Bible is that it was a retreat in time of battle. When there was fighting in the streets, the people went home. Nowadays some people go home to get into trouble. But every home ought to be a retreat from battle. Every home in the world ought to be that kind of home. Do you know that you can stand almost anything in the world if you have the right kind of home? If a man can go home at night and prop up his feet, everything is peaceful. But you know, sometimes men do not have that kind of home. Maybe their wives are out in society running around. Maybe burdens are added at home. But it is wonderful to feel that when the battles are hot and you cannot stand it, you can go home and have a little retreat. That is what home should be — a little oasis in the desert. It should be a wall behind which you can hide from the enemy. It should be a place where somebody says kind words to you after you have heard only mean things all day.

I know some people, though, who keep everything disturbed all the time. This should not be the atmosphere of a home. You can add sunshine and happiness to your home; and if you fine girls marry someone who is out in the world in work, you do not know how much you can help him by just not adding any extra burdens to those he already carries. When you men get out in the world and come home at the close of the day, come with peace in your heart. Come back to home. That is the way it should be.

Did you ever meet one of these people who every time you see him and say “It’s a nice day,” he will answer, “Yes, but…”? Or, “That is a nice man.” “Yes, but …” I know some folks who consider themselves decent who can out-“but” any billy goat that ever butted. “But … but … but …” Somebody said, “Everything in the world was made wrong — nothing was made right. Look at that little acorn on that great big oak tree and that big pumpkin: on a little vine, for instance. You know that the pumpkin ought to have been on the oak. That little vine cannot crawl any farther because that pumpkin holds it back. If I had made things, I would have done it differently. I would have put the pumpkin on the oak and the acorn on the vine.” About that time the acorn fell down and hit him on the head; and he said, “Hmmmm … What if I had made things?” Most of the trouble you have is going to be your own fault. There are exceptions to this. But the general rule is that if there is something wrong at home, there is something wrong with you at home. And usually, just a little common sense can fix it.

All right, what else? Home should be a place of prayer. Peter was on the housetop praying. That was not a bad place to pray. Those roofs were flat. There people were near to God and could look up and talk to their Father. You cannot have a Christian home without prayer. I remember when I was just a boy that my father came home from a service and said, “I’m going to set up a family altar.” He got down the family Bible and read it. I had not been converted yet, but I remember the sense of awe that came over me. Every day after that we had family prayer. If my father was away from home, somebody else had the prayer. I remember that just before he died, my father said, “Son, sit down here by the bed. Let’s have some prayer.” I sat down beside his bed. I read the Word of God and prayed; and then my father began to sing, “Jesus, Saviour, pilot me Over life’s tempestuous sea.” He sang on until he got to the part that goes “‘Twixt me and the peaceful rest, Then, while leaning on Thy breast, May I hear Thee say to me, ‘Fear not, I will pilot thee!’” And then he died. I tell you — you can go to Hell from a home with a family altar in it, but it is not easy.

To be continued…


Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., was the founder and first president of Bob Jones University.


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