The First Home
May 14th, 1978 @ 10:50 AM
OUR FIRST HOME
Dr. W. A. Criswell
5-14-78 10:50 a.m.
Once again it is with gladness that we welcome the throngs and the hosts of you who are listening to this service on radio and who are sharing the hour with us on television. This is the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas bringing the message entitled Our First Home. This is Mother’s Day, but the message will be just turned in a little different way, and the reason for the turning will be very obvious. It is because of the day, and the hour, and the time in which God hath cast our life and lot. It is not the day as it was when my mother brought me up as a little boy; it is in another world, it is in another time, it is in another age, and the message today is addressed to this day and this hour. Our text will be a passage in the second chapter of Genesis beginning at verse 18:
And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man
should live alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
And out of the ground the Lord God formed all the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field; and He brought them to Adam. And he gave names to all cattle, to the fowl, to the beasts [Genesis 2:19-20].
But for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam,
and he slept: and He took one of his ribs and closed up
the flesh instead thereof: and of the rib which the Lord God
had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought
her unto the man.
And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh
of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was
taken out of Man.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother,
and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
First, the divine intention: "The Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him" [Genesis 2:18]. That word, "I will make him an help meet for him" would be an old English way that has lost its expressive meaning for us today. I will make him a helper as his counterpart. I will make him a helper suitable for him. I will make him a helper like him.
And the reason for it, the inspired record says that God formed, made, created the beasts of the field the fowl of the air, every living creature [Genesis 2:19]. But out of all of the creation of God there was no one like Adam himself. He wasn’t like a bird. He wasn’t like a beast. He wasn’t like a creeping thing. He was not like a star, or an ocean, or a continent, or a rock. There was nothing in all God’s creation that was like Adam, and the Lord God had previously said, "It is not good that the man should live alone" [Genesis 2:18]. But there wasn’t anything that God had created that was like him – that was suitable for him – an help, as his counterpart. So the Lord God said, "I will make for him somebody like him, suitable to him, "a counterpart to him" [Genesis 2:18]; isn’t that a remarkable thing in itself? The Lord God made all of the starry firmament and said, "It is good." And the Lord God made the beautiful and verdant earth and said, "It is good." And the Lord God made all of His creation and said, "It is very good" [Genesis 1:3-31]. But when the Lord God saw the man living alone, even in the paradise of Eden, He said, "It is not good" [Genesis 2:18]. The Lord therefore created for Adam a helper suitable for him, somebody like him, a counterpart to him. And the book says, "The Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and as he slept He took one of his," and that’s a strange translation here, tsela‘, "and He took of Adam’s tsela‘ and closed up the flesh thereof [Genesis 2:21]. And the tsela‘ which God took made He a woman and brought her unto him" [Genesis 2:22]. The only place in the Bible that word tsela‘ is translated "rib" is here. Everywhere else in the Bible – and it’s used again and again – it is always translated "side." The side of a hill, the side of a house, the side of the ark, the side of the tabernacle, always it is "side." Only here is it translated "rib." Nor have I been able to discover in fifty years of trying why they translated it "rib." It was just their idea. So let’s take it as God wrote it:
And the Lord God took of the side of Adam, and closed up the flesh thereof. And of the side which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man.
In a beautiful passage out of Matthew Henry – the greatest devotional expositor commentator who ever lived; over three hundred years ago did he write and yet today his beautiful devotional passages speak to our hearts. Matthew Henry pointed out, "God did not take the woman out of the man’s head that he might dominate over her, or from his feet that he might trample upon her, but from his side that he might protect her, and from near his heart that he might love her."
So you find in the Bible many repercussions of that magnificent, creative work of Almighty God. Paul will write in the eleventh [chapter] of 1 Corinthians, "The woman is the glory of the man" [1 Corinthians 11:7]. And out of the passage that you just read, "For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones" [Ephesians 5:30]. Then he quotes:
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, be
joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is
a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
This is God’s own creation that she should be like him. Whether it is the church and our Lord or whether it is the wife and her husband, she is his counterpart made to help him. So Adam says, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called ishah because she was taken out of ish. She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man" [Genesis 2:23].
Now may I revert to the purpose of her creation? Twice is it avowed, "I will make him an help meet for him, suitable for him" [Genesis 2:18]. And the avowal was made again, "There was not found an help," a counterpart, his other side, "an help for him like him" [Genesis 2:20]. So the Lord God made the woman to be a helper to the man, to stand by his side, to further his cause and work in the earth, to encourage him, to hold up his hands; God made her to be a help for him. And when that sacred purpose, that divine intent of team is in a home, you have illimitable strength and an unbeatable team. But where the reverse is true, it works for weakness and for disintegration.
Some time ago I read an article in a famous world magazine. It was entitled ‘Nine Words that Can Stop Juvenile Delinquency.’ It attracted me and I looked for the author of it. And it is written by the senior judge of Brooklyn’s highest criminal court, and I read it and was amazed at what I read. Every criminal court’s judge in this country is sickeningly aware of the terrible fact that teenagers are replacing adults on the criminal dockets. When a crime is done, I just take it for granted it is done by a youth; it is an exception when it isn’t. It has seemed to me that something down deep, simple but basic, must have disappeared from our way of life to have caused this revolt toward crime among our young people. What was it? He continues, "I found the nine-word principle that I think can do more for us than all the committees, ordinances, and multimillion dollar programs combined." Then he names those nine words that will obliterate juvenile delinquency: One, "Put"; two, "father"; three, "back"; four, "at"; five, "the"; six, "head"; seven, "of"; eight, "the"; nine, "family." "Put the father back at the head of the family."
"The American teenager has been raised in a household where ‘obey’ is an outlawed word. How many parents have stood before me after I have sentenced their children to prison and asked, ‘Judge what did I do that was wrong? I sacrificed for him, gave him a good life, put him through school.’ They did not teach their child discipline. When I was sixteen and my father told me to be home at a certain hour, I got home. Every time Mother overrules Father, undermining his authority and standing in the child’s eyes, she knocks a piece off the foundation on which the child stands."
And when I read that article, my mind reverted back to the Word of God. "I will make an help suitable for him" [Genesis 2:18]. She is to stand by his side, and uphold him, and help him. And if the woman is not prepared to do that, she ought not to marry. It’s that simple; if you want to be a career woman and if you want to give your life for the advancement of your own cause, wonderful. There’s nothing against it, just don’t marry. But if you marry, God’s intent is that you be a helper, and a strengthener, and an upholder in what your husband is trying to do. And if you have children in the home – and we shall speak of that in a moment – then your place is to magnify him as the high priest and as the disciplinarian in the home. That’s God, that isn’t I.
All right, number two: I have spoken of the divine intent, "God said I will make a helper suitable for him, his counterpart" [Genesis 2:18]. Number two, the sacred intimacy: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother," the sacred intimacy, "and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh," the sacred intimacy.
So God created man in His own image, in the image
of God created He him; male and female created He them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful,
and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and over
every living thing upon the earth have dominion.
The sacred intimacy that God intended and created in the home; it is a family circle. For not only that they be together – a team working together and she helping him in the task to which he’s given his life – but in that home there is a divine and heavenly intent: they are to be fruitful, and to multiply, and to replenish the earth [Genesis 1:28]. This is the cradle of human existence. It is the divine intent and purpose, that in that intimacy in the home, that children be born. And without that intimacy and without that blessing from God, the human race would cease to exist, and heaven would be un-peopled. It is God’s intent therefore that in the circle of the home children should be born and be brought up in the love and nurture of the Lord [Ephesians 6:4].
Now dear people, that is why the Bible has such abhorrence of homosexuality: the purpose of the marriage bed is not only that the couple be together – sealed together in a divine and holy intent – but also that it be the cradle, that it be the womb, that it be the matrix of the human race. That is God made them male and female [Genesis 1:27] – never two men; never two women in bed – always male and female, the man and his wife. So in the Bible you have a deep-seated and everlasting abhorrence of two men in a bed or two women in a bed. He will say it like this: Leviticus 18:22, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination." He will write again in Leviticus 20 and [verse] 13:
If a man lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
And that is carried throughout the Word of God. There is an abhorrence of God toward homosexuality. This works for the disillusion and the destruction of the very moral fiber of a nation, and you see that in the first chapter of the Book of Romans. And this is the first time in my life, after fifty years of preaching, I have ever read it publicly, "Wherefore God," talking about the Greco-Roman world:
Wherefore God gave them up to uncleanness through
the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies
between themselves . . .
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections:
for even their women did change the natural use into that
which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the
woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with
men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in
themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
Paul is avowing there that God’s great indictment and judgment upon the Greco-Roman world was this thing I have just read – an abomination unto the Lord.
So, may I make a deduction? The obsession of the American nation with sex is a new development in our culture and in our life. And it is gradually working for the disillusion of the home, and the family, and the ultimate disillusion of the nation. We will not live beyond the destruction of the family. We are facing anarchy, and chaos, and the judgment of Almighty God.
For years now there have been more divorces than marriages in Dallas county. For years that has been true of sections of our nation like Los Angeles. It is becoming true of the whole nation, and consequently there is a tendency on the part of our young people not even to get married. They live together in dormitories, they live together in apartments, they live together with no thought of the intent and purpose of God in building a sacred and holy household. Do you think God up there in heaven judged Sodom and Gomorrah [Genesis 19:24-29], and will not judge us? Does He change? [Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8].
Look in the sixth chapter of 1 Corinthians; I want to point out something to you: "Know ye not," he says in verse 9, "that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived" [1 Corinthians 6:9]. Now, everything He is going to mention of these who do not inherit the kingdom of God in this ninth verse, every one of them is sexually conditioned. All right let’s read it, "Be not deceived: neither fornicators," that can be used for sexual illicit intercourse outside or inside marriage. Usually it refers to sexual intercourse without marriage. "Fornicators nor idolaters," the way the ancients worshipped Aphrodite, and Astarte, and Venus was by the use of temple prostitutes, "nor adulterers," that’s when you are outside of marriage, "nor effeminate," you know that as lesbians, "nor effeminate," nor lesbians, "nor abusers of themselves with mankind." I want you to look at that word, arsenokoites – translated here, "abusers of themselves with mankind." ArsÃ©n is "male"; koite is "bed." And koite came to be used to refer to illicit sexual intercourse. So arsenokoites is "male homosexuality" [1 Corinthians 6:9].
And lest we think he just happened to say that incidentally and peripherally and not centrally; in the letter that he wrote to his son in the ministry, 1Timothy, chapter 1, verses 9 and 10, "The law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient." Then he goes on, "For whoremongers," for arsenokoites, "for them that defile themselves with mankind"; male homosexuals [1 Timothy 1:9-10]; it is a fierce thing that God says about that, and it is not incidental.
I have heard over the radio some of these who propose to defend that way of life in America, saying, "Back there where you read in Leviticus – how about all the other laws in Leviticus that we don’t observe today?" My brother, that is not incidental to the Mosaic legislation, that is a part of the in-woven fabric of the Word of God. All the way through – not just there – all the way through there’s no exception to it. If you are a Christian, and if you believe in God, and if you believe in the Bible, you cannot defend that aberration; you cannot.
Now, I have one other word before I go to the next point here that God has revealed to us in our first home. This thing of the magnification of sexuality on television, endlessly; in the movie house, shamelessly, in pornographic literature, poured out like a cesspool open on the streets and in a thousand other permissive ways; in my humble opinion, every time you have a lecture on it, every time you call young people together to discuss it, every time you put courses in school to confront it, every time it is mentioned you just that much more excite a youngster – make him the more curious – you are not going to settle anything.
In my humble opinion – after looking at fathers, and mothers, and homes, and young people as a pastor for over fifty years now – in my humble opinion, the only thing that needs to be taught about sex is this: according to the Word of God it is contained in the framework of the home, of a marriage. And when times comes to be married, go see a doctor and let him talk to you about all the things that pertain to the beauty, and the cleanliness, and the healthfulness of that relationship, and that’s all. The rest of it is just curiosity; the rest of it is just exciting interest and proposes no problems, solutions at all. That is all; nothing else to be said when time comes for you to be married. They come to me – I always have a couple come to me before they’re married – I don’t talk to them about that. I say to them, "You go to the doctor; go to the physician and talk to the physician. And let him tell you how to make your marriage beautiful, and precious, and healthful." And that is enough – nothing else, just that.
All right number three – number one was "The divine intent," that woman standing by the side of the man is to be his helper. God made her for that holy purpose. Number two: in the sacred intimacy of the building of that home lies the destiny of the race, of the church, and of heaven, in the children that God gives us. Number three: the new unity; "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they two shall be one flesh" [Genesis 2:24]. The sacred unity, a new unity; and how beautiful to look upon it. God has placed in the heart of this young fellow to love this sweet girl. And she, in God’s will, has responded, and now they have a home of their own.
I think it is a beautiful, beautiful thing how Eliezer was sent by Abraham to Haran to find a wife for his son Isaac [Genesis 24:1-9], and in the providence of God, Eliezer met Rebekah [Genesis 24:10-]. And the family called Rebekah and said unto her, "Wilt thou go with this man?" She said, "I will go" [Genesis 24:58]. And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent and took Rebekah. And she became his wife, and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death, beautiful [Genesis 24:67]. Now Isaac and Rebekah have a home.
In a survey that I read, the number one reason for trouble in the household and the number one reason for divorce is this: the interference of in-laws, and parents, and interested family members. Let them find their solutions; love them, pray for them, answer their questions when you’re asked. Give them advice when they want you to, but just let them be. They are a new home. They are a new unit and they will prosper if you will just let them work out their own problems. Number two in that survey I read – the second big reason after the first, the interference – the second big reason for the disillusion of the home, for divorce, for trouble, is financial; trouble with money.
The chairman of our deacons was describing the beautiful family, and he said when they married the young husband said, "I’ll take care of all the big problems and my wife will take care of all the little problems. And after all these years and years, we have been living together beautifully and happily. For I take care of all the big problems – inflation, peace, war in the Middle East, and the United Nations – all of these tremendous world-wide problems. And my wife, she takes care of the little problems: how we shall spend my salary, how we shall raise the children, the kind of a house we shall buy and live in, all these little problems she takes care of.’" Well, however we work it out that’s just fine, but it needs to be worked out.
There is no institution in this earth but that is headed for the rocks if they don’t solve their financial problem. That’s true in a bank, it goes bankrupt; that’s true in a business, it’ll go to the wall; that’s true in America, if America does not come to grips with its financial confrontation we are headed for economic chaos as surely as God lives. And it’s true in a home; I don’t care how much you love her or she loves you, if you don’t solve your financial problem you’re headed for deep trouble.
I talked to one of the finest businessmen in America. He lives in another city; a magnificent businessman. He said to me, "Poor, just out of school with nothing at all, I fell in love with this girl." And I know both of them well, "I asked her to marry me; and she said, ‘I will, if you will promise me that a tenth out of everything that we make we will give to God.’"
He said, "A tenth, a tenth? I’m struggling to exist; how could I give a tenth to God?" She said "If you will promise me we will give a tenth of everything we have to the Lord, I’ll marry you." Well, he said, "It wasn’t anything for me to do but to say ‘yes.’ And I said ‘yes’ in order to marry that girl." He said "In these years since, I don’t know how we have done it, but we have." And he said, "God has blessed us." And he lives in a palatial home, heads a great corporation, is a man of God.
That’s the Lord! And when you have that entity of a new family, do that; build your home financially strong and well. Don’t incur debts you can’t pay, don’t live beyond your means. It will surprise you how you can get along on a very little. I know; when I married I was making twenty-five dollars a month, and after I’d been married some time, making fifty dollars a month – and lived on it. It will surprise you what you can do. Do it! That’s the new unit, your home.
Dear people wait for me; one other, one other and I’ll be through. One other: our home is an altar of intercession and prayer. So He drove out the man. But when He drove him out, the man and his wife, when He drove them out, He did not just leave it there – the man lost in his transgression and the woman by his side – but at the east of the garden of Eden, He placed cherubim" [Genesis 3:22-24]. What does that mean? "He placed cherubim." Dear folks, wherever in the Bible – and it is many, many, many, many times – wherever in the Bible you’ll find cherubim, they are always symbols of grace and mercy, opening the door back to God. That’s the Lord and His blessing upon us in the home.
Where did they know to bring a minchah – an offering – to the Lord called a sacrifice? Where did they know about an altar? Where did they know about intercession? They were taught that at the east gate of the garden of Eden, and that is God’s revelation to us today.
We are going to have trouble, no matter who we are or whom we marry. You are going to have frustration and disappointment, you are going to have sickness, you are going to have sorrow, you are going to have age, and you are going to have death; how do you face it? Some face it in anger and in bitterness. Some face it in drunkenness, and debauchery, and abandonment. But there is another way. As a home and a family you can face it in prayer, in God’s presence, in God’s blessing; you can take it to the Lord in prayer.
I have to close. I remember talking to a man in California; such a godly man. He received word, "Your plant is burning down." He came back and he stood there and watched the last embers burn out. He had a great plant, and he stood there, he said "watching the whole plant burn down," ruined – everything! He said to me, "The family gathered around me." Isn’t that great? "The family gathered around me. And my wife put her arms around me, ‘Husband, God will stand by us.’ The children put their arms around me, ‘Dad, we’ll sacrifice and we’ll pray.’" He said, "Out of the ashes, Phoenix-like, God has given us a plant twice as big, twice as great, twice as affluently successful." And he said, "I place it all at the feet of Jesus. When the family gathered around me and said, ‘Dad, we are standing by your side; we are praying it through,’ that’s God!"
The Lord doesn’t let a man down, not when he looks in expectancy, faithfulness, and prayer to Him. And when he has around him that godly mother and wife and those precious children, he is unbeatable because the Spirit of the Lord is in it.
As we sing our hymn of appeal, I shall be standing right there by the side of that communion table, and while we sing the hymn of appeal, a family you to come, giving heart in faith to Jesus, putting your life with us in the church, a couple you, or just one somebody you, while we make the appeal, while we sing the song, come. There is time and to spare. If you’re on the topmost balcony, in the last seat, down a stairway, down an aisle, "Here I am, pastor, I’ve decided for God and I’m on the way." Do it. Angels attend you as you come, while we stand and while we sing.