Oh, I've been listening to Nancy Campbell's "A Lovely Home" and it is SO powerful and encouraging!! I wish that you all could hear it and be blessed, but since you can't, I think I will take each part in the four-part series and share with you all the highlights.
The main passage of Scripture used is Numbers 24, where Balaam is speaking prophecies and blessings over the children of Israel. The beginning of the chapter tells us that these are the words of the Lord, spoken through Balaam: "How lovely are your tents, O Jacob! Your dwelling places, O Israel! Like valleys that stretch forth; Like gardens by the riverside; Like aloes planted by the Lord; Like cedars planted by the waters. He shall pour water from his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters. His king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted." -verses 5-7
God looked upon Israel and was delighted by their tents! They weren't beautiful or spacious or luxurious. They were dark, temporary tents made from goats' hair- not made of expensive materials or decorated in fancy decor. He was looking into the heart of the HOME and seeing the FAMILIES of Israel and He declared that they were LOVELY!! God delights in family because He was the author and creator of families! In Jeremiah He calls himself "the God of all the families of Israel."
God painted four vibrant pictures of this "lovely home" in this passage that give us a clearer vision of how he wants our homes to be. The first one is "like valleys that stretch forth". This is a picture of a family that is FAR-REACHING. Motherhood goes far beyond today or tomorrow and way out into the future! Motherhood is a powerful, influential career as children come forth from our homes to affect the nations. In 1 and 2 Kings, immediately after nearly ever king of Israel is introduced, God's Word says, "His mother's name was___________ and He did what was (good or evil) in the sight of the Lord." The mother's influence affected not only her son, but an entire nation for good or evil! One powerful example is Hezekiah, who "clinged to the Lord." He CLINGED to the Lord! His mother's name was Abbiah. Interestingly, his father was a very wicked king, Ahaz. Despite his wicked father, the influence of his mother caused Hezekiah to cling to the Lord. Another powerful example is Obadiah, who "feared the Lord greatly." He was a governor in the palace during the reign of king Ahab, the most wicked king mentioned in the Bible. We aren't given the name of his mother, but he must have had a godly one because 1 Kings 18:12 tells us that he "feared the Lord from his youth." She raised him to walk in integrity and courageously stand for righteousness. When Ahab's wife Jezebel decided to kill all of God's prophets, he risked his own life by hiding 100 of God's prophets from her and feeding them during a time of famine. Obadiah's mother had raised him for greatness!!
When Nancy Campbell's six children were younger, she wrote on the walls of their bathroom, "The whole world waits to see what will come out of 18 Wellby Street." (where they lived at the time). She wanted her children to understand that they were destined for greatness! They were to be powerful arrows for God in an evil world! She talks about how her children have gone into nations that she has never been, and how she realizes that her influence affects people in places she has never even been! Amazing! She reminds us that Abraham Lincoln, one of America's greatest presidents of all time, came from a poor log cabin in the woods with dirt floors. In her words, "God has a purpose and plan for each one of your children! Out of your home will come children who fear the Lord greatly and are polished and sharpened arrows to affect the world for God! Pray that they will be mighty for God in the land and that God will pour out His spirit on them!"
FAR-REACHING means more than just physically all over the world, but also into the future. The imagery of a valley is one that is green, fertile, fruitful. The Greek word used there is literally "water coursing over the mountain" and the imagery is one of a mighty river flowing through a fertile valley. Just as a family tree enlarges as offspring are added, so the "family river" becomes bigger and stronger and more powerful and vibrant with each new life. Zephaniah 1:1 shows us that Zephaniah, a prophet of the Lord, was the fifth generation from Hezekiah- the one who "clinged to the Lord" despite an evil father. He changed the course of his family tree to the fifth generation of men who affected the world for God! Actually, his mother's influence reached for six generations! Nancy urges mothers to "RAISE YOUR VISION PAST TODAY! Pray for your great-great-grandchildren to fear the Lord!" Pray Psalm 102:18, "that a people not yet created may praise the Lord." I love this vision of thinking beyond today and just "getting by" for another day, but remembering that what you do today will affect many nations and generations to come.
Stay tuned for Part 2. . .