1. MAN AND WOMAN
a. Why did God create people—and how was this purpose reflected in the creation of Adam and Eve? Isaiah 43:7; Genesis 1:27.
“Human beings were a new and distinct order. They were made ‘in the image of God,’ and it was the Creator's design that they should populate the earth.”—The Review and Herald, February 11, 1902.
b. What is so significant in the fact that the Creator made them male and female? Genesis 2:18; 1:28; 3:20.
“It was not [God’s] purpose that man should live in solitude. He said: ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him’ (Genesis 2:18).”—The Adventist Home, p. 25.
“Man was not made to dwell in solitude; he was to be a social being. . . . God Himself gave Adam a companion. He provided ‘an help meet for him’—a helper corresponding to him—one who was fitted to be his companion, and who could be one with him in love and sympathy.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 46.
“[Christ] who gave Eve to Adam as a helpmeet . . . ordained that men and women should be united in holy wedlock, to rear families whose members, crowned with honor, should be recognized as members of the family above.”—The Adventist Home, p. 159.
2. A PRIVILEGE AND A DUTY
a. Historically, how did the people of God consider the privilege of having children? Genesis 30:1, 2; Psalm 127:3.
“Children derive life and being from their parents, and yet it is through the creative power of God that your children have life, for God is the Life-giver. Let it be remembered that children are not to be treated as though they were our own personal property. Children are the heritage of the Lord, and the plan of redemption includes their salvation as well as ours. They have been entrusted to parents in order that they might be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, that they might be qualified to do their work in time and eternity.”—The Adventist Home, p. 280.
b. To what extent are parents responsible for the spiritual upbringing of their children? Isaiah 8:18; Hebrews 2:13.
“Christ was once a little child. For His sake honor the children. Look upon them as a sacred charge, not to be indulged, petted, and idolized, but to be taught to live pure, noble lives. They are God’s property; He loves them, and calls upon you to cooperate with Him in helping them to form perfect characters. . . .
“He does not despise, neglect, or leave behind the children of the flock. He has not bidden us move forward and leave them. . . . Parents are required in His name to lead them along the narrow way.”—Ibid.
“Our most precious time belongs to our own flesh and blood. Never let your child hear you say, ‘I cannot do anything with you.’ As long as we may have access to the throne of God, we as parents should be ashamed to utter any such a word. Cry unto Jesus, and He will help you to bring your little ones to Him and to keep them out of the power of the enemy.”—The Review and Herald, July 16, 1895.
c. What will be the reward of faithful shepherds in the home? 1 Peter 5:4.
“If you would meet God in peace, feed His flock now with spiritual food; for every child has the possibility of attaining unto eternal life. Children and youth are God’s peculiar treasure.”—The Adventist Home, p. 280.
3. CONSIDERATION FOR CHILDREN
a. When mothers were bringing their children to be blessed by Jesus, what did the disciples try to do? Matthew 19:13–15.
“In the days of Christ mothers brought their children to Him, that He might lay His hands upon them in blessing. By this act they showed their faith in Jesus and the intense anxiety of their hearts for the present and future welfare of the little ones committed to their care. But the disciples could not see the need of interrupting the Master just for the sake of noticing the children, and as they were sending these mothers away, Jesus rebuked the disciples and commanded the crowd to make way for these faithful mothers with their little children. Said He, ‘Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 19:14).”—The Adventist Home, p. 273.
b. How does God regard children? Matthew 18:1–4, 6.
c. What is one of the reasons why we should not neglect our children? Matthew 18:10.
“Children are committed to their parents as a precious trust, which God will one day require at their hands. We should give to their training more time, more care, and more prayer. They need more of the right kind of instruction.”—The Adventist Home, p. 161
“If we desire our children to love and reverence God, we must talk of His goodness, His majesty, and His power, as displayed in the works of creation and in the sacred word. If we desire them to love and imitate the character of Christ, we must tell them of the sacrifice which He made for our redemption, of the humility and self-denial, the matchless love and sympathy, displayed in his life on earth, and then tell them that this is the pattern which we are to follow. . . .
“Remember that your sons and daughters are younger members of God’s family. He has committed them to your care, to train and educate for heaven. You must render an account to Him for the manner in which you discharge your sacred trust.”—The Review and Herald, June 13, 1882.
4. FAMILY UNITY
a. Around whom do most things in the home revolve? Why? Proverbs 31:10–13, 25, 28. Why do you think unity, order, tidiness, and discipline in the home are essential for the general well-being of the family?
“Mothers, make yourselves as attractive as possible; not by elaborate trimming but by wearing clean, well-fitting garments. Thus you will give to your children constant lessons in neatness and purity. The love and respect of her children should be of the highest value to every mother. Everything upon her person should teach cleanliness and order and should be associated in their minds with purity. There is a sense of fitness, an idea of the appropriateness of things, in the minds of even very young children; and how can they be impressed with the desirability of purity and holiness when their eyes daily rest on untidy dresses and disorderly rooms? How can the heavenly guests, whose home is where all is pure and holy, be invited into such a dwelling?
“Order and cleanliness is the law of heaven; and in order to come into harmony with the divine arrangement, it is our duty to be neat and tasty.”—The Adventist Home, p. 254.
b. What must the father convey to his wife and children as the head of the household? Why? Psalm 103:13.
“The husband and father is the head of the household. The wife looks to him for love and sympathy, and for aid in the training of the children; and this is right. The children are his as well as hers, and he is equally interested in their welfare. The children look to their father for support and guidance; he needs to have a right conception of life and of the influences and associations that should surround his family; above all, he should be controlled by the love and fear of God and by the teaching of His word, that he may guide the feet of his children in the right way. . . .
“The father should enforce in his family the sterner virtues—energy, integrity, honesty, patience, courage, diligence, and practical usefulness. And what he requires of his children he himself should practice, illustrating these virtues in his own manly bearing.”—The Ministry of Healing, pp. 390, 391.
5. EVERY CHRISTIAN HOME A BETHEL
a. Narrate Jacob’s experience at Bethel. Genesis 28:16–19. How do you think Christian parents can transform their homes into a Bethel (the house of God)?
“Our homes must be made a Bethel, our hearts a shrine. Wherever the love of God is cherished in the soul, there will be peace, there will be light and joy. Spread out the word of God before your families in love, and ask, ‘What hath God spoken?’”—The Adventist Home, p. 19.
b. Discuss the development of a child’s character in relation to home influences and the condition of society. Galatians 6:7–9.
“As the youth are educated, and as their characters are molded in their childhood to virtuous habits, self-control, and temperance, so will their influence be upon society. If they are left unenlightened and uncontrolled, and as the result become self-willed, intemperate in appetite and passion, so will be their future influence in molding society. The company which the young now keep, the habits they now form, and the principles they now adopt are the index to the state of society for years to come.”—Ibid., p.15.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. In creation, what evidence shows that Adam was made a sociable being?
2. In the matter of procreation, what shows that Jacob understood that God is in control of events?
3. What lessons can we learn from Jesus treatment of children?
4. How are the parents’ roles to complement each other?
5. In what way does the home influence affect the children and the society in which they live?