Read Psalm 68:6
6 God places the lonely in families;
he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land. (NLT)
We use the word ‘family’ in all sorts of ways. Often the word has pleasant connotations, as in our text today. Families are an expression of our need for companionship: we are not meant to be entirely solitary. Many find refuge, solace, and delight in their families.
Yet it isn’t always the case. Some families are places of fear and terror. Much abuse happens within families. So we dare not throw around the word ‘family’ assuming it has wonderful associations for others. We dare not wax lyrical about ‘family values’ and assume all know what we mean.
And we further misuse the word when we assume ‘family’ means mum, dad, the kids and a pet labrador in the backyard. Many families are single-parent families. Some adults have no children. Some are single and yet may have extended families. Interestingly, we regularly hear of churches employing ‘family’ workers or ministers. Again, the assumption seems to be that such people work with the mum, dad and kids model.
Families come in all shapes and sizes. Let’s not unthinkingly use the word in a way that somehow limits ‘family’ to one model. All sorts of families fulfil all sorts of needs. All sorts of families have their identities shaped by good and bad circumstances.
Above all, let’s be thankful that all who belong to God through Jesus are part of his forever family.