n the first book of the Bible that bears his name, the prophet Samuel becomes invisible during the middle years of his life. Summing up Samuels status in the latter stage of his youth we are told, And the word of Samuel came to all Israel (1 Samuel 4:1).
For over three chapters, Israel experiences a series of spiritual and military disasters, the most important of which is taking the ark of the covenant into battle with the hope that it will work like a magic charm. Disaster, of course, strikes because Israel relied upon the things of God rather than God Himself.
Over 20 years pass before Samuel is heard from again. The nation languishes in spiritual confusion and sin, and Samuels prophetic voice is simply missing.
One might think that Samuel was faithfully preaching throughout the nation during this period, but there is stark, sad evidence to the contrary. At the beginning of I Samuel 8, we are told that the elders of Israel had to confront Samuel because his sons, to whom he had delegated certain judicial functions, were corrupt and had not followed in their fathers ways.
It is reasonable to infer that Samuel was in a general spiritual silence during his middle years of life since Scripture fails to report that he taught Israel, while it does report his failure to teach his own sons. Samuels silent period kept a nation from confronting its need for a return to God and cost him dearly in his own family.
Here is the point for us: If one mans silence affected both his own family and his nation, I believe we can have a reasonable expectation that our faithfulness with our own families will redound to the ultimate benefit of our nation.
It is impossible to fathom how far we have fallen. We must now fear that if our children watch television news or read the front page of the newspaper about the President of the United States, they will be accosted with inappropriate and salacious details of illicit sexual behavior.
If we could find a newspaper which detailed the life of Israel during Samuels silent period, we would read pretty much the same thingsfinancial and sexual misconduct at the highest levels.
Our nation needs a prophetic voice. A voice that calls it to return to God and to moral government.
Our nation also needs God-centered homes where children learn to walk in the ways of God by walking in their parents footsteps.
Some in the Christian culture argue that what we need is more political activism. Others argue that we need more faithful fathers and mothers providing spiritual guidance for their children.
Samuels story shows us that we need both.
For well over 20 years I have been in the middle of the Christian political movement. And for over 15 years I have been in the middle of the home schooling movement.
I have seen far more political success for home schooling issues than on any other front of American politics. A tiny minority has succeeded in beating back the biggest lobbying giant of our daythe National Education Associationand its mammoth brothers in the education establishment.
Significantly larger groups of Christians have been unsuccessful in political battles over pro-life issues, homosexual rights, and pornographyjust to name a few of the more important issues.
One need not have his family in order to be a pro-life advocate or stand for the family against homosexual rights. But to be a home schooler, by definition, we must spend time training our own children.
As we observe this milestone in the life of HSLDA and the home schooling movement, let us remember what has brought us success through the blessing of God in the past fifteen years. We have been granted great freedom when we stand before leaders because of our faithfulness when we sit with our children.
May God show us and our children in the years ahead how we can use His formula for blessing to bring about a widespread return to Gods principles in our nation.
THE FARRIS FAMILY (L-R):
Jessica, Christy, Jayme, Katie, Angie,
Mike, Emily, Michael, Vickie,
Joseph, Jonathan, and Peter