The family unit is the cornerstone of God’s plan for mankind, the mechanism whereby generation after generation is conceived, nurtured and discipled. We know this because … the Bible tells us so.
Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the Lord your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the Lord your God has given you. And rejoice before the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites in your towns, and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows living among you. (Deuteronomy 16:9-11)
Afterward, Joshua read all the words of the law—the blessings and the curses—just as it is written in the Book of the Law. There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to the whole assembly of Israel, including the women and children, and the foreigners who lived among them. (Joshua 8:34-35)
And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away. (Nehemiah 12:43)
Whole families, including women, children but also servants, foreigners, the fatherless and widows, all rejoicing, learning and worshipping together. This was community in its truest sense.
It continued in New Testament times, too. We read this passage earlier:
Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honour your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:1-4)
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. (Colossians 3:20-21)
For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:11)
For Paul, relationships within the family are so important that he includes them in the job specification for overseers:
He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) (1 Timothy 3:4)
A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. (1 Timothy 3:12)
In Ephesians Paul states:
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (Ephesians 5:22-28)
This shows us the importance of the bedrock of the family, the relationship between the father and mother, spiritually tied up with the relationship between Christ and his Church. This is important and a cornerstone for everything, which helps us to understand what a sustained attack we are currently under in our society, with the basic structures of the family unit being targeted like never before.
This is an extract from the book, Livin’ the Life, available for £10 at https://www.sppublishing.com/livin-the-life-151-p.asp
What is a family?
Written by: Miriam Emenike
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