As Christians, our obedience to God’s covenant always affects those around us, especially those in our households. This can be a wonderful blessing (Isa. 65:23) or a painful source of suffering (Ex. 20:5). Either way, it’s a compelling reason for us to live in faithful obedience to God.
Have you ever noticed that Luke traced Jesus’ genealogy all the way to “Adam, the son of God” (Luke 3:38)? If we’re familiar with the Lord’s Prayer, we know that God is our Father (Matt. 6:9). However, we don’t normally think of ourselves as God’s descendants. But if Jesus traced His human ancestry through Adam to God, then ours traces there, too. In a very real sense, the entire human race is one family descended from God (Acts 17:28–29).
When there weren’t that many people, it was easier to conceive of humanity as a single family. Genesis 4–5 summarizes all humanity under the lineages of the brothers Cain and Seth. Genesis 6–11 provides a similar summary by explaining that all humanity descends from Noah’s sons. In Abraham’s day, God promised to redeem the world through Abraham’s family (Gen. 17:4–6; 22:17–18; see also Rom. 4:13) by making Abraham the “father of a multitude of nations” (Gen. 17:4). This broad concept of family is foundational not only to God’s dealings with all humanity but also to His expectations and requirements for our more immediate families.
One common way that the Bible connects the broader and narrower concepts of family is through the idea of covenant. God normally governs His relationships with human beings through covenants that bind those whom He identifies as the covenant heads (such as Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David), as well as their households and descendants (Gen. 6:18; 9:9; 17:7; 2 Sam. 7:12; Rom. 5:12–14).