15.5 Beliefs About the Family at Home

Beliefs and the Social Order, part 3 (see Part 1 and Part 2)

The Family of Home

  Before there were governments, institutions, or even places of worship, God ordained the family as the foundation of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood, or adoption.

     According to the Baptist Faith and Message, which is a description of what our convention has agreed on that most of our denomination believes, it says the following: 

Christians and the Bible define marriage as the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. It is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race.
The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. The marriage relationship models the way God relates to His people. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. 

     In the Scriptures of old and in society today, there are sadly few examples as role models for the ideal family of the home. Jesus described God’s ideal for the family in Matthew 19 after a question was brought up about the home and marriage.

Read Matthew 19:4-14*

Even the disciples often found Jesus' comments are hard to accept and practice. Do you see grace in the words of Jesus when He says,  “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given....The one who can accept this should accept it.” ?

How does Jesus' acceptance of children show His value and God's value of children in the home?

    Jesus referred back to the beginning as God’s ideal. But early on, marriages and families had dysfunctions and problems. 

     As early as Genesis 4:19, marriages had degenerated to include polygamy (more than one wife) in the family of Lamech, who was a descendant of godless line of Cain, who murdered his brother Able. 

     Lamech himself also murdered a man and self-proclaimed that no one was to avenge his wicked deeds. Within seven generations from Adam, the Bible records two murders and a departure from God’s ideal family of one husband and one wife for life. 

     As one person said, the Bible shows people as they are, warts and all.

What can we glean from the fact that the Bible does not record perfect people nor perfect families?

     Abraham, Jacob, David and Solomon all failed in various ways and not just in their home lives. Their failures are accurately descriptive but they are in no way prescriptive! They do give us hope that God uses imperfect people to accomplish His perfect plans.

    Although there are few examples in the Bible of godliness in the home, the Scriptures give us instructions for a godly home. Two short but powerful back-to-back chapters in Psalms speaks to the family of the home.

Read Psalms 127 and 128**

How does Psalm 127 put into proper perspective the balance God seeks in our time at work (verse 2a), home (verse 1) and rest (verse 2b).

What messages and insights can be seen for parents, husbands, wives, children and even grandparents and grandchildren in Psalm 128?

     By the time of the close of the Old Testament in 400 B.C., the people of God’s choosing, the nation of Israel, had almost come full circle in their families. Divorce, polygamy, marriages to spouses of pagan faiths, disobedient parents and children alike are all depicted in the pages of the first testament of the Scriptures.

    The final chapter of Ezra (Chapter 10) explained that the priests and people had married women of other faiths, thus diluting a godly heritage for future offspring. What’s worse, they tried to make two wrongs equal a right by prescribing divorce to “correct” the sin of pagan marriage! 

     In the final book before the New Testament, Malachi the prophet rebukes the priests and people alike for their deviant ways. Malachi, who was a contemporary of Ezra, calls God’s people back to God’s holiness and His plan for the home. He rebukes the priests, the people, and the pagan marriages. 

     Malachi chapter 2 reminds the people that the home is a partnership for life (verse 14), and parenting is for the protection for the children (verses 15-16).

Read Malachi chapter 2***

Have you ever heard the phrase "Mist in the pulpit will lead to fog in the pew"? How does that relate to the need for holiness in the spiritual leadership of the people? 

What do you find significant about the question "Why?" in Malachi 2:14? Perhaps the most significant thing is not the answer but that God allows us to ask questions of Himself and even gives us the question through the prophet! 

Read Malachi 2:16 in various translations. How does God separate the sin from the sinner without separating His love for His people?

*Matthew 19:4-14
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.”
11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”
13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.
14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

**Psalms 127 and 128 
1 Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. 2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.
3 Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. 4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. 5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.
Psalm 127
1 Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him.2 You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. 4 Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the LORD. 5 May the LORD bless you from Zion; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.
6 May you live to see your children’s children— peace be on Israel.
Psalm 128

*** Malachi 2:1-17
1 “And now, you priests, this warning is for you. 2 If you do not listen, and if you do not resolve to honor my name,” says the LORD Almighty, “I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not resolved to honor me.
3 “Because of you I will rebuke your descendants; I will smear on your faces the dung from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it. 4 And you will know that I have sent you this warning so that my covenant with Levi may continue,” says the LORD Almighty. 5 “My covenant was with him, a covenant of life and peace, and I gave them to him; this called for reverence and he revered me and stood in awe of my name. 6 True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and turned many from sin.
7 “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge, because he is the messenger of the LORD Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth. 8 But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi,” says the LORD Almighty. 9 “So I have caused you to be despised and humiliated before all the people, because you have not followed my ways but have shown partiality in matters of the law.”
10 Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another?
11 Judah has been unfaithful. A detestable thing has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the LORD loves by marrying women who worship a foreign god. 12 As for the man who does this, whoever he may be, may the LORD remove him from the tents of Jacob—even though he brings an offering to the LORD Almighty.
13 Another thing you do: You flood the LORD’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer looks with favor on your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. 14You ask, “Why?” It is because the LORD is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.
15 Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.
16 “The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the LORD Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.
17 You have wearied the LORD with your words. “How have we wearied him?” you ask. By saying, “All who do evil are good in the eyes of the LORD, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?”        




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