Most of us that watched television during the 1970’s remember the comedy sitcom, “All In The Family“. Archie (the bigot) Bunker and his wife, Edith. I think it might have given a lot of us the wrong idea of what family was about, but we laughed at the episodes anyway. Dianne and I use to sing along with “Those Were The Days” every time it came on TV. Do you remember the words? Here are a few of the lyrics:
“Those Were The Days”
by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse
“… Didn’t need no welfare state. Everybody pulled his weight. Gee, our old La Salle [car] ran great. Those were the days.”
“… People seemed to be content. Fifty dollars paid the rent. Freeks were in a circus tent. Those were the days.”
Wow, in today’s economy, “no welfare state”, “everybody pulled their weight”, “people seemed to be content”, and fifty dollars paid the rent; we all would like to say, “Those Were The Days”.
What God has said, Family is…
What Archie Bunker said family was, and what your definitions might be about your family, based on experiences; what does God then say about, “what family is and isn’t?” Whether it is in marriage, in parenting, or in the church; it begins by giving support to the term of “relationship” and its true definition.
Genesis 1:27-28 “So God created man in His own image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it [using all its vast resources in the service of God and man]: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves upon the earth.”
God had introduced “a force” (man and woman) into the world to do good on earth. And because God had said to them “subdue” (as a force) everything living on earth, and failure to follow instructions would lead to disaster. A “force” can arrange and re-arrange things and the covenant given by God is based on promises. God made a covenant or a promise within the first relationship He had created and is still creating on this world we live in. The covenant will cause love to be born; and COVENANT comes from the word “convene” or “call together, rally, assemble, muster, bring together (summons, assemblage).” The New Roget’s Thesaurus in Dictionary Form. Genesis 15:1-18 spells out the details of the Covenant Relationship. It defines COVENANT as a pledge or vow for the terms of an agreement. Here’s the way the covenant relationship came about in the “Good Old Days”.
“Opposites Attract” In Covenant Relationships
You have a warrior clan of people living in the mountains. They are known to all their surrounding neighbors as a fierce group who would show no mercy to their surrounding enemies. There only problem in life was that they couldn’t farm or raise food for themselves to survive. They all pillaged the food that was found after a battle. Now in the valley there was a people who were all farmers. They grew grain as “high as an elephant’s eye” and had enough leftover at harvest to store in silo like structures. Their only problem was, they couldn’t protect themselves against marauding tribes and thus would lose their stored harvest. So the leaders of each group of people came together to talk; a lengthy conversation, to make a vow or “covenant”. It was used to eliminate weaknesses; the warriors would defend the farmers and the farmers were to grow and provide all the food. An agreement was made to get rid of each others weaknesses. The did this by sacrificing “a three-year old heifer, a she-goat three years old, a ram three years old…”, then splitting the carcasses in half and placing them opposite each other, each group of people would walk in a blood path, coming from opposite directions. As they passed one another and met in the middle, they would make vows to one another.
After the vows were exchanged, they then exchange their coats or outer garment. This demonstrated the weakness and an exchange of authority; giving away your rights, not taking away rights. They would also in many cases, exchange one’s family name for another. My wife’s maiden name was “Pagan” and my last name is Thompson; she legally changed her name to Thompson after exchanging the marriage vows 47-years ago. In the new relational exchange of coats in Old Testament Days, you were bound by your words; “Those Were The Days“. With the divorce rate in this country at over fifty percent, have we as a people forgotten the true meaning of Covenant Relationship?
What God Says Family is… “About Supportive Roles in Marriage” we will look into next in The WORD Detective blog.