BRADY COLUMN: The soul of our nation
Published 9:30 am Thursday, June 30, 2022
William E. Gladstone, that eminent British Prime Minister, and Thomas De Witt Talmage, noted American clergy person, were discussing the problems of the world-questions of state and races and creeds. Quite unexpectedly, Gladstone turned to the great preacher and said, “There is but one question; settle that and you settle all others. That question is Christianity, and it must be settled at home. The homes of the people are the soul of the nation.” In this article, I’d like to expand Gladstone’s words to include “all godly homes” of the people are the soul of the nation.
Yet I wonder if we in this society still believe that — that “the homes of the people are the soul of the nation.”
For some reason, that idea seems a long way from the family feuds of television’s popular family, “The Simpsons.” As humorous as they are — Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie — it is said that the Simpsons hold up a cracked mirror of domestic life in America today. In other words, this animated situation comedy hits remarkably close to too many homes. However, along with Gladstone, I am still convicted that the godly homes of the people are the soul of the nation. And I also believe that the God of the Bible is hinting that. He’s hinting that the home patterned after the example of Jesus is the basic answer to societal problems. In essence, it seems to me that God has given us a number of family portraits in both the Old and New Testaments to serve
as a model for our own family development.
First, in God’s family portrait we see a basis for family stability! The psalmist made it clear when he said, “unless the Lord build the house, those who build it labor in vain” (psalm 127:1).
The hardest thing to hide,” Eric Hoffer reminds us, “is something that isn’t there.” There may be furniture in the home, a television set in the den, a work of art on the wall, a book of the month on the shelf, but it’s an empty house without the practice of the presence of God.
“Unless the Lord builds…” Now, this isn’t saying that we do not build our own homes, or our own cities, or our own provision – we do. Of course, we do. Rather, it is a warning against the foolishness of trying to do these things alone. From the psalmist point of view, the words “in vain” mean that it is ultimately purposeless and worthless without God’s involvement.
And second, in God’s family portrait we see a blue ribbon on children. How needed that “Blue Ribbon on Children” is in our 21st Century Society today! Through our daily news, we hear about all the horrible things that are happening to children in our culture today — abandoned children, abused children, homeless children, refugee children, unloved children, undisciplined children, murdered children, children in poverty and on and on it goes. So how refreshing to hear the psalmist as he describes God’s Blue Ribbon on children. The psalmist says that children are a “heritage” or “gift.”
One scholar says that this should be translated “assignment.” Our children are God’s assigment or commission to us. And the psalmist calls children “a reward.” Not a curse, not a tragedy, not an accident — children are the expression of God’s favor. It is thrilling to see our children through the lends of Scriptute as God’s trophies.
Let me bring this to a conclusion. A few years back in Houston, Texas, a two year old child was summoned for jury duty. Halford Luccock, a Yale Divinity School professor, commenting on the error said, “That was a divinely inspired mistake for the child is the final jury before which our civilization will be tried.” So, how we treat children is the final test.
One more time. The godly homes of our people are the soul of the nation!