October 30, 2015
Your House, Your Choice
By Skip Heitzig
The family affects absolutely everything and everyone. I think it's important for us as Christians to frequently revisit and recommit to God's pattern for marriage and family, because as the family goes, so goes the nation, so goes everything. Let's look at what Joshua, Moses' successor, said about family in Joshua 24:14-15. There are three things I want to highlight: Joshua as the chairman of the nation of Israel, Joshua's challenge to his nation, and the choice Joshua made for himself and his family.
First, Joshua was the chairman of Israel. Now, he didn't really give this speech as the leader of a nation, but as the leader of his family and home. He said in verse 15, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." The Hebrew word for house here simply means a household family. Joshua declared this priority for himself and his family because he realized the power of a godly, cohesive family and what that can do for a nation. A marriage, a family, and, consequently, a nation—since a nation is just made up of lots of families—is weakened when our priorities aren't right. I applaud the moms and dads who have to work two or more jobs to pay the bills, but make sure that the bulk of your labor is spent on relationships—the core basis of life.
Now let's look at the challenge Joshua gave his people: "Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord!" (v. 14). Read back through verses 1-13, because what Joshua did is brilliant: he quickly went over Israel's history and then told the people, "Now therefore, fear the Lord" (v. 14). In other words, the commitment he demanded from them was the logical response to all that God had done.
Now, what choice are we to make? First of all, Joshua said, "Fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth" (v. 14). That's where the family begins—with a personal commitment to your Lord, the author and maker of all families. Psalm 127:1 says, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it." You cannot pull off this assignment—the assignment of a marriage and a family—alone. You can't do it by your own rules or by worldly philosophies. Unless the Lord builds the house, it's for nothing.
Another part of the choice Joshua called Israel to make was separation. Notice he said to them, "Put away the gods which your fathers served" (v. 14). We need to stop emulating the world when it comes to family and marriage relationships. Over the last several decades, marriage and family in our culture has changed dramatically; the family is really up for grabs. So who is going to shape your ideas of what a family, a wife, a husband ought to be? The popular press—or God?
Look at the choice Joshua made: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (v. 15). It was a personal commitment as well as a corporate commitment. This principle is found throughout Scripture: God's pattern for a family is for you to first be personally committed to Him and His principles, then pass that on to your children so they're equipped to replicate that cycle when they're adults.
And this world needs the kind of children that only you can produce: Christian kids who are surrounded by loving, godly parents. Not only that, but your kids need to see that your commitment to the Lord is more than a family Bible on the coffee table. They need to see a life-lived commitment. So this is a call to fathers, mothers, and future parents to lead and to be committed to God and relationships. Your culture has abandoned moral absolutes—don't you do it. Your culture has reconfigured and is redefining the family—don't you do it. Be strong, be firm, be committed—just like Joshua.
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