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According to the Bible, God promised Abraham that through his descendants, “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3, NKJV). Scripture shows us that God is pro-family, primarily because He is pro-humanity, pro-people, and pro-us. The health of individuals, churches, schools, communities, states, governments, and even nations is directly related to the strength and stability of the individual families composing each segment of society.

In a nutshell, God’s goal for “all the families of the earth” is that they “be blessed,” which comes from accepting His plan for our salvation and from doing His will. The Ten Commandments also affirm the importance of the family:

  • In the second commandment, God speaks of “fathers” and “children” (Exodus 20:6, NKJV).
  • In His fourth commandment, God addresses a person’s “son” an “daughter” (verse 10).
  • The fifth commandment tells children to honor their father and their mother (verse 12).
  • The seventh commandment safeguards marriage by telling husbands and wives, “You shall not commit adultery” (verse 14).
  • The tenth commandment speaks to each man’s heart by commanding him not to “covet” his “neighbor’s wife” (verse 17).

Thus, the Ten Commandments provide specific details about husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, and children. Why? Again, because God is pro-family. He wants to protect families and their members from the disastrous consequences of departing from His will—which the Bible calls “sin” (see 1 John 3:4). Turning from His instruction inevitably brings remorse, guilt, and heartache. “Husbands, love your wives,” “wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands,” “children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right,” the New Testament says, “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth” (Ephesians 5:25, 22; 6:1, 3).

God’s desire is that “it may be well” with us.

He loves us and wants what is best for our lives.

social confusion

It is no secret that the traditional family is under attack today—like never before. Yet, in the midst of this widespread social confusion, God’s Word still speaks plainly. In the Garden of Eden, the Lord created Eve to be a helper for Adam, and the Bible says “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24, NKJV).

This sacred passage describes a traditional marriage. “A man” (a son of his parents) “shall leave his father and mother” so he can “be joined to his wife,” and then (and only then) should they “become one flesh.” This joining should only occur on one’s wedding night, honeymoon, and beyond, not before.

To be blunt, Genesis 2:24 doesn’t say this union should take place between a man and his girlfriend, or his boyfriend, or between a girl or woman and her boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner, or between a man and his fiancé, or between two strangers, but only between “a man” and “his wife.”

They alone should “become one flesh.”

In this context, children can then be born to two loving parents (one male and one female) committed to each other and to birthing, loving, nurturing, and raising their children to be secure, balanced, and useful members of society.

Unfortunately, today, almost anything goes.

Nearly everywhere we look, we see fewer traditional families, fewer happy families, and increasing confusion, brokenness, and suffering. God’s promise to those who keep the fifth commandment, “that it may be well with you,” is being experienced by fewer and fewer human beings living in our increasingly immoral, mixed-up world. Instead, the Bible’s prediction is now being fulfilled on all sides: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1–5, NKJV).

But even in this environment, there is hope for us all!

my story

I grew up in a fractured home in Southern California. When I turned 16, my parents divorced. Without the security of living with two parents committed to each other and without any real moral guidance from either my father or my mother, I drifted steadily into immorality.

Then, when I was 20, God moved unexpectedly to rescue me. It’s a long story, but in a dormitory room at Cal State University of Northridge, I finally sank to my knees for the first time in my life and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. He lifted my guilt, graciously sent His Spirit into my heart, and began His powerful work of changing me from the inside out! Trusting Jesus was undoubtedly the most important decision I ever made.

The second most important decision I made was nearly 20 years later when, inside a Seventh-day Adventist church in Sacramento, California, I said, “I do!” which resulted in Kristin Renee Demarest becoming my wife.

Kids? Me? I’m not ready. It took a while, but nearly four years after our marriage, a third event of seismic significance occurred.

I will never forget that incredible moment. The date was July 21, 2004. Before a large crowd in scenic Soquel, California, I was giving a public talk about the fulfillment of ancient biblical prophecies when suddenly the words, “Labor Now! Labor Now!” unexpectedly flashed on a TV monitor in front of me. I knew that Kristin, who was in her third trimester carrying our son Seth, was being monitored in a hospital two hours away, yet her due date wasn’t for three weeks.

“Er . . . ah . . .” I stumbled, “I’ve got to go!” Rushing to my car, I quickly drove two hours to the hospital in Templeton, California, where I discovered that Kristin was having complications with her pregnancy. Within a short time, a physician decided it was time for baby Seth to enter the world, ready or not.

I spent that night on a hospital bed. Thursday evening at about seven o’clock, I joined Kristin in the operating room. “One, two, three,” Dr. Thomas finally instructed his nurse, “push!” The next thing I knew, a baby was born—and was he ever screaming!

He looks normal, I thought to myself. Ten fingers, 10 toes. So far, so good! A nurse laid his tiny body on a table beside me. What happened next once again changed my life. Above his wildly wiggling body, I uttered, “Seth, Seth, it’s your daddy.” Instantly, he stopped crying and started looking around for Daddy.

He recognized my voice!

At that moment, I fell in love with our little boy.

Approximately three years later, our second child, Abigail Rose Wohlberg, took her first breath at a hospital in Fresno, California. When I first saw our tiny little girl nestled in my wife’s arms, I could hardly believe how beautiful she looked.

Today—nearly 16 years later—I’m still a husband and father, and Kristin and I now have two precious teenage children. Seth is 19, and Abby just turned 16. To be clear, we aren’t a trouble-free family, and we daily need mega-help from God, but our home is still intact, committed, and together.

Based on my personal background of growing up in the Hollywood Hills, I can say that, truly, my present home life is a miracle of God’s love, mercy, and grace. And in the midst of this increasingly godless and broken world, the Ten Commandments remain the standard of our home. “That it may be well with you,” the Bible says about the results of keeping God’s law. These days, as a famous Christian hymn declares, I am thankful to report that “it is well with my soul.”*

tools for defending your family

“I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed,” a good friend of mine has a habit of saying. Neither am I. Yet, in the space that remains in this article, I want to share ten “tools”—principles I have learned that hopefully can help you meet the challenges of our increasingly godless, anti-family world.

  1. If you don’t live in a traditional family, don’t despair. God loves you just as you are, just like He loved me in my lostness in the Hollywood Hills. There is hope for all of us.
  2. No matter what society says, determine to accept God’s original plan for men, women, husbands, wives, and children as revealed in His Holy Word and in the Ten Commandments.
  3. Realize that no earthly family is faultless. Just take a candid look in the Bible at the families of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Abraham lied twice about his wife Sarah being his sister (Genesis 12:13, 19; 20:2). Sarah made a terrible recommendation that her husband sleep with her servant Hagar (Genesis 16:1, 2). Isaac favored his older son, Esau, above Jacob (Genesis 25:28). Then Jacob married more than one wife (Genesis 29:30)—a common practice in those days that God permitted but was not His plan. Yet, in all of those instances, God still worked patiently on behalf of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their families.
  4. Determine to put God first in your life and marriage, and teach this to your children. “As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). In our home, to this day, our family still gathers together nearly every morning and evening to read a short story, recite a Bible verse, and pray.
  5. Focus more on changing yourself than on changing your family members (2 Corinthians 13:5).
  6. Be “patient” and “kind” to one another (1 Corinthians 13:4; Ephesians 4:32).
  7. Don’t judge one another (Matthew 7:1; 1 Corinthians 4:5).
  8. Be a good example (1 Corinthians 11:1).
  9. Determine that you will draw your family members to God, not drive them away from Him (see John 12:32).
  10. Accept Jesus as your Savior, pray a lot, and trust God’s promises (John 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; 2 Peter 1:4; Isaiah 49:25).

“In you,” God promised Abraham, “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3, NKJV). God longs to bless our families. He longs to bless you. God’s blessing flows to those who follow His Word, obey His law, and rely on His grace.

“Seth, Seth, it’s your daddy!” I told my screaming son the day of his birth. He immediately stopped crying because he recognized my voice. In the midst of this increasingly mixed-up, fractured, sinful world, it is my sincere hope that you will hear your heavenly Father’s voice.

“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7, NKJV).

Pastor Steve Wohlberg is the speaker and director of White Horse Media.

* Horatio Gates Spafford, “When Peace, Like a River” (1873).

Defending the Traditional Family

by Steve Wohlberg
From the June 2024 Signs