As with so many topics addressed in the Bible, significant revelation is presented in the simplest of terms. The same is true with the institution of marriage and family. And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” … And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:18-24 NKJV)

This simple recipe of a man and a woman, joined as one flesh, is the institution of marriage. The arrival of offspring extends the family unit. Eve recognized her children as blessings from God. Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the LORD.” (Genesis 4:1 NKJV) Her awareness of this blessing was intensified by the loss of Abel. And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.” (Genesis 4:25 NKJV) Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate. (Psalms 127:3-5 NKJV)

God’s expectation is for husband and wife to procreate. From Sarah to Rachel to Hannah, the inability to bear children was almost unbearable. Barrenness greatly impacted relationships, carried a social stigma and brought deep heartache and distress to the ones afflicted. Sarah and Abraham engineered a “solution” that split Abraham’s family and impacts mankind to the present day (Genesis 16:1-16; 21:9-21; ). Rachel and Leah indulged in a long sibling rivalry (Genesis 29:31; 30:1-34). Godly Hannah was held in derision. Eli even accused her of drunkenness seeing her earnest, but silent petition for a child. When that petition was granted, Hannah sacrificed the raising of her son so that Samuel could be dedicated to the Lord (1 Samuel 1). These early families understood the importance of God’s design. However, except for Hannah, their attempts to remedy barrenness were not always admirable. 

Our Creator set a standard of mutual love and respect for God and for each other in the family unit. He later demonstrated that standard with His love and sacrificial service for the church. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. (Ephesians 5:28-29 NKJV) Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. (Ephesians 5:33 NKJV) Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:1-4 NKJV)

A family focused on God is a family that will thrive as God intended. Each person must dedicate himself to God. Even then our earthly families are not perfect. Whether or not our earthly family functions as designed, God provides a suitable family to ensure we are all loved the way He intends. So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, “who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time–houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions–and in the age to come, eternal life. (Mark 10:29-30 NKJV)

Love, honor and serve each other. Embrace your earthly and your spiritual families.

KEN FLEEMAN (11/15/2020)

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