I love attending Sunday School. I have been attending for over 45 years now, so I’ve heard what I thought was just about every lesson there is to hear. But a few Sundays ago, I sat in a Sunday school class that just blew my socks off.
We are studying the Old Testament this year and we were reading in the book of Judges. Many times, thinking about reading the book of Judges creates that glassy-eyed look in most people, but the way it was presented in class was a wonderful lesson to remember.
From four different stories taken from Judges, chapters 2, 4, 6 to 7, and 13 to 16 we can learn how to keep a balance in family life. Like a young tree in a hurricane, using these four suggestions can be used as stakes to ground your life.
1. Strength in Righteous Parents: From the story of Judges, chapter 2, we learn that the righteous generation after Joshua passed away did not remain in righteousness. They had been taught by righteous parents but the next generation chose to follow the false gods of Baal and Ashtaroth. After that, the Israelites were “delivered into the hands of spoilers.” In other words their enemies won battle over them. They did not hearken unto the Judges or the Lord. As a pattern for our modern society, we must not forsake the righteous example and truths taught to us by our parents. The Israelites teach us this.
2. Strength of a Righteous Friend: We can all use the positive encouragement from a good friend and the story in Judges is not different. Deborah was a prophetess who also sat as a judge in Israel at this time. Deborah was asked by Barak, who was commanded by the Lord to take 20,000 of the children of Israel to fight against the enemy army. Barak would not go unless Deborah went too, even though Barak knew it was commanded of the Lord. Without question, Deborah went and they were successful against their enemy.
How many of us would be successful in all our endeavors with a righteous friend by our side to help us? True friends inspire us to keep the commandments in the face of difficult challenges. By the same token, we can be true friends in helping to inspire others to make righteous choices.
3. Strength in Faith in God: How strong is our faith in God? We have the example of Gideon who was asked by the Lord to save Israel against the hand of the Midianites. Being from a poor family and not well educated, Gideon felt apprehensive in taking on this task. But with his faith, he went forth and won the battle against the great army of Midianites.
Sometimes, it takes a leap of faith to accomplish a task we know we must do. Sometimes it takes the faith of the whole family to accomplish something difficult we know we must do. We strengthen each other when we show our faith in God.
4. Strength in Keeping Covenants: Samson was born to a covenant keeping mother. He was raised to be righteous and keep himself separate from those who weren’t which gave him great physical strength as well as spiritual strength. Unfortunately, Samson broke those covenants in marrying outside his religion and doing immoral acts with a harlot. He lost his physical strength and became a slave to the enemy in these poor choices.
We too must remember to keep the covenants we made in marriage and taking on the name of Jesus Christ. These covenants are a source of strength, guidance and commitment in our life and we can overcome the temptations of the evil one.
With these four strengths in our lives, we can have a balance in our family. These four strengths will keep us on the straight and narrow.
Valerie Steimle has been writing as a family advocate for over 25 years. As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she promotes Christian living in her writings and is the mother of nine children and grandmother to twelve. Mrs. Steimle authored six books and is a contributing writer to several online websites. To her, time is the most precious commodity we have and knows we should spend it wisely. To read more of Valerie's work, visit her at her website, The Blessings of Family Life.