By Clifford and Sally Denton.
If we read the Bible carefully, this truth is not difficult to see. Yet if we consider the priorities of mankind in the world today, it is a truth that is barely perceived. If we consider the spiritual battle of today, the spiritual enemies of God are rampant to destroy what God holds so highly in esteem. Family breakdown is at the foundation of the escalating breakdown of the order in society, especially in the West. This results in a high cost, financially as well as in many other ways, to even begin to compensate for the damage to individuals and society in general. A cursory consideration of the daily news shows this, if we have eyes to see.
But let us also use our eyes to look into God’s Creation and thereby gain a measure of what we are considering. Look into the infinite sky by day or by night. Consider the sun moon and stars, all in their place, so magnificent that their grandeur has defied the greatest scientists of all time to explain their working beyond the basic laws that we learn in our school science lessons. Scientists have not, and never will, discover all the truths behind God’s created order. “Where we you when I created the universe?”, God asked Job and by implication all the rest of us as well. The writer of Psalm 19 tells us to consider the Heavens, the working of God’s hands, and seek understanding of His character. Yet grand as the universe is, one day it will be folded up: it will have achieved its purpose. It is not God’s highest priority.
Consider the birds, the fish and the animals. With ever better scientific apparatus, we can look at the amazing detail in God’s design of multitudes of varieties of living creatures and marvel at what we see in all their beauty and magnificence. Consider the plants that God has created, arrayed, as Jesus said, more wonderfully than even the great King Solomon. Yet, God gave Noah, and every human being afterwards, permission to take the lives of living creatures as food. Wonderful as these things of God’s Creation may be they are not His highest priority.
Read the account of all these things in God’s Creation and realise that the creation of mankind is His the most important thing. The first man was not to be alone. God did not just bring about a companion for him in the same way as for the animals. To emphasise the unity of man and woman He took the woman from the flesh of the man. The first family was brought into being and they became a model for every married couple thereafter. God’s priority was then to build up the worldwide community, of those who sought to know Him and walk with Him forever, on the foundation and principle of family – more important that the stars which He cares for, and more important than all other living things in all their wonder and beauty. Husbands, wives and children -the families of mankind – were and are God’s precious priority in all creation.
Family is the central theme running through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Integrated into the study of God’s family based community are some special highlights like Proverbs 31, the Song of Solomon and many of the Psalms. When family is strong, a nation is strong. When family breaks down in a nation, such as is shown in the Book of Malachi, relationships with God is also breaking down and the prosperity and security of society is fragile. Malachi ends with a prophetic picture of the end times when it is a priority for family relationships to be restored.
Family life is intended to be the place where we learn about the family of God. Relationships we learn together are the foundation for secure relationships with God Himself as our Father and with Jesus His Son, likened to the Husband preparing His Bride for eternity. Paul teaches this powerfully in the Book of Ephesians, calling on God’s people to live by the order God has designed for family life. He also warns of the powerful challenge that satan will bring to destroy this order.
These days, with all the challenges coming to even the strongest of our families and Christian communities, we would do well to reconsider the wonder of God’s highest priority in all Creation and seek Him afresh so that we might each assess whether we are outworking His priority as our priority.