Family Devotions: A Mark of God’s Peculiar People

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. 1 Pet 2:9

Look back to what you were before your conversion. Whenever you are tempted to be proud of your present standing, remember the horrible and miry clay out of which sovereign grace alone has plucked you. When you are on the throne, recollect the dungeon from which the grace of God uplifted you. When you are in full possession of your spiritual faculties, and are rejoicing in the Lord, do not forget the time when you lay sick, even unto death, until the Great Physician passed that way, and healed you.

What a great change conversion is! And what a great change conversion Works! How wonderful is the effect of regeneration! We had not obtained mercy, but now we have obtained mercy; we were not a people, but now we are the people of God.

How the apostle (1 Peter 2:9) delights to set forth these contrasts between the past and the present of the Lord’s chosen people! By remembering what we were, we are made to appreciate and enjoy more what we now are. We may well praise him who has wrought this wondrous change in us. We were not His people, we were sinners of the Gentiles, not the chosen Hebrew race. In times past, we were not worthy to be called a people, but we are now the people of God. We had not obtained mercy, we had not even asked for it; some of us were so blinded by our self-righteousness that we did not know we needed God’s mercy, or did not want it; but now, we have obtained mercy.

Christians are a special people because God has purchased and preserved us for Himself. We are His possession now. We are distinct from the world and we are called to live our lives as people in the world but not of it. Jesus said concerning His disciples, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:16).

Today, let us rejoice that we are God’s peculiar people and victoriously walk in His marvelous light. May our words as well as our actions truly declare His praises!

Are we the children of the Lord our God? Are we separate from the ungodly world, in being set apart to God’s glory, by the purchase of Christ’s blood? Are we subjects of the work of the Holy Ghost? Lord, teach us from these precepts how pure and holy all thy people ought to live!

Be encouraged today, daily prayer: Father, as we deal with the temporal demands of this day, may the principles that guide us be of eternal origin. We seek not to blend in with the world but to be the salt of the earth. You have made us a peculiar people who are called to be the light of the world. May our light shine for all the world to see so that our good deeds bring praise to Thy holy name. Amen.

Ye are the salt of the earth: …Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid…Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matt 5:13-16)

“Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.” (Psalm 78:1-8)

For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.

Psalm 78 takes us back to Mt. Sinai and the Covenant made with Israel there. God promised to be the God of His people, to be their Friend, and God told them that they would be His special and peculiar people. As His peculiar people, they were given the law of God, representing their duty in His covenant with them. Should they break the law, they would be violating the covenant.

These verses tell us that the content of this Psalm is for the children and generations to come. These verses give the goal in teaching our children the testimony and law of God, the biblical history of Israel and God’s dealings with them in grace.

As many families know, family devotion is a difficult task. Though many reformed families know its importance, being disciplined enough to have family devotion is very challenging every week.

Along with Sabbath observance and the catechizing of children, family devotion has lost ground. Fewer and fewer households are taking it seriously. We should be persuaded that family worship is as needed today as it has ever been in the history of the church. The reasons we do not and would not do family devotions are as much as the amount of lesser things that fill each day.

In addition to public worship, it is the duty of each person in secret, and of every family in private, to worship God. Family devotion or worship, which should be observed by every family, consists in prayer, reading the Scriptures, and singing praises; or in some briefer form of outspoken recognition of God. Parents should instruct their children in the Word of God, and in the principles of our holy religion. The reading of devotional literature should be encouraged and every proper opportunity should be embraced for religious instruction.

If there is nothing from Monday morning to Saturday night, the church is left with precious little time in Sunday school and worship to fill the spiritual void of a week of confrontation with the fallen world and our fallen natures.

So how does one become motivated to have “the want to want devotions”? We should make family devotions a “real” priority in our families. It is often a high priority in our families that is not “real”. We would rather jog, read mountains of magazines, and have lots of other mediocre excuses for not doing family devotions. We must recognize that family devotions are foundational to Christian living in the home.

Family worship and devotions are a vital part of the thriving Christian family, making time for it should be a priority. If you have to give up some event or adjust schedules, do it! Your family’s eternal souls are far more important than soccer games and careers. By establishing a consistent and daily family worship time, you are leading your family to a deeper devotion to God, the Word, His people, and the generations to come. The teaching of our children is important as it touches on every aspect of their being; their mind, their heart and their behavior.

Let me conclude by emphasizing that this is a command and a calling. It comes especially to parents, but also to the whole church. There is a generation arising in our midst. There is a world and a satan out there attempting to draw them away. How will they be kept? Yes, only by God’s grace. But grace never means carelessness. On our part, they will be kept only by diligent teaching. God will use that to continue and preserve His covenant.

Proverbs 4:1-27 Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding… Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

For our children, we pray that they will take heed to their father’s or parent’s instruction during family devotions or family worship. For ourselves, we pray that the Lord will give us the will and the strength to instruct our children in our home. In this way, we show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.

Written by: Daniel Teo | Issue 5