The following is by Pastor Buddy Smith of Malenda, Queensland, Australia <firstname.lastname@example.org> --
In Genesis 18, God told Abraham his secrets. Not only the blessings of the future, but the impending judgment of Sodom. God tells His friends His secrets. He always has. But God doesn’t tell all His children his secrets, only a select few.
In Genesis 18:17-19, God deliberates over whether to tell Abraham his plans for Sodom. And as He does, he gives us a rare insight into the mind of God,
“Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do? ... For I know him that he will command his children and his household after him...”
If we read the text over slowly and thoughtfully we see that the blessings promised became blessings possessed because Abraham exercised authority in the home. Abraham commanded his children. This does not sound like permissive parenting, does it? This doesn’t even sound like a hen-pecked father, does it?
The word “command” is the same as that used for the words of authority spoken by God to Adam, and to Noah. When God sent Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh, He gave them a charge (command) that Pharaoh must let His people go. “Command” is a word that describes the vocalization of rightful authority. In Genesis 18:19 God said that He knew Abraham and that he would command all those in his household, and therefore God told him his secrets.
So what kind of commanding did Abraham do? Was he the imperious, tyrannical father? Not at all. He was a wise father who commanded from a position of obedience to God. He was IN authority because he was UNDER authority. When God called him out of Ur to Canaan, he obeyed. When God commanded him to circumcise all that were in his house, he did so, AND he was the first in line for the knife (Gen. 17:24-27). When God commanded him to sacrifice Isaac, he obeyed and reasoned by faith that God would raise up Isaac when he slew him.
Was he a willful and stiff-necked father who cared not at all for his children? Of course not. He “fathered” poor silly Lot, and when he was carried away captive by the kings of Mesopotamia, Abraham went after them, and defeated them. At the age of 99. He it was that knew enough about the daughters of the pagan Canaanites that he sent his servant back to Haran shopping for a wife for Isaac. He it was that grieved over Ishmael’s expulsion from the household. He was a tenderhearted father who loved all those in his household.
Best of all, Abraham was a worshipping father. His trail was marked by altars built and sacrifices slain. If you stood near Abraham you could smell the smoke of a thousand burnt offerings.
I was blest to have a father like Abraham. He was a little man physically, but a giant in leadership. He commanded his children and his household after him. He was a soldier in the battalion that crossed the Rhine at Remagen in 1945, the first of the Allied troops into Germany. I was born while he was driving an army truck that pulled cannon. He was under authority in the army and when he came home he was in authority. When he was converted in 1948 he soon found his place in the ranks of the Lord’s army and never went AWOL for 48 years, and was finally promoted to glory in 1996. He was my hero. He knew a lot of secrets he got from God, because he commanded his children after him.