Let me offer a word of advice. It is illustrated by an account of a battle described in the book of Joshua that occurred more than three thousand years ago. Joshua led a portion of his troops in a frontal assault of the Canaanite city of Ai. The Ai defenders came out in force to meet the Israelites, but they had been lured into a trap. The remainder of Israel’s forces slipped in behind the enemy army and attacked the now-defenseless city. Ai’s warriors looked back in shock and disbelief as they saw smoke rising from their burning homes.
Let’s not let that happen with our own marriages and families. While we’re out on the front lines engaging the enemies of traditional values, let’s not allow our own homes, our own marriages, to go neglected or undefended. What good will it do to fight the foes of marriage in the city square while our own homes and families are collapsing from within?
The battle begins today, right now, under your own roof. If you have children, if you are married, or if you hope to marry, then while you are defending the cultural institutions of marriage and family, don’t forget to defend and nurture your own marriage and family. Even if you are among those who do not have children and plan to spend the rest of your life as a single adult, it is in your own best interest to encourage and support families around you for the sake of your nation and its future generations.
We’re sometimes tempted to believe that the battle at home is against our spouses and kids, but we must remember that we are charged with the responsibility to battle for them—for their protection, their moral character, their ability to engage the world around them, and their preparation to raise the next generation.
For all the strategies we have discussed for preserving marriage and the American family, perhaps our first and best defense of these cherished and vital institutions is to model healthy marriages and families for all the world to see.
Cultural conflicts such as this one require our attention, but we will lose the war if we lose the battle at home.
The Battle Belongs to the Lord
I will leave you with another story told in 2 Chronicles 32. There we read about King Hezekiah, who had served God wholeheartedly during his reign. However, he eventually faced a terrible crisis when Sennacherib, king of Assyria, invaded Judah with 185,000 well-armed and well-trained warriors. They wiped out the defenders of every city that lay in their path. Then they laid siege to Jerusalem and demanded that Hezekiah surrender or be destroyed.
These are the irreverent words shouted by Sennacherib to Hezekiah and his defenders, who were standing on the wall:
“Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of the other lands? Were the gods of those nations ever able to deliver their land from my hand? Who of all the gods of these nations that my fathers destroyed has been able to save his people from me? How then can your god deliver you from my hand? Now do not let Hezekiah deceive you and mislead you like this. Do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand or the hand of my fathers. How much less will your god deliver you from my hand!” (2 Chronicles 32:13–15)
Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah did what you and I would have done under those distressing circumstances: They cried out to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for deliverance.
Hezekiah also encouraged his countrymen with these inspired words: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the King of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles” (2 Chronicles 32:7–8).
And indeed the Lord did intervene as a result of the prayers of His people, delivering them from the hands of their enemies. That story should be of great encouragement to every believer who faces overwhelming odds at a time of great distress. We must go on our knees in concerted prayer, knowing that the God of Joshua and Hezekiah still hears and answers the petitions of His people. Ultimately, the battle belongs to Him and we are only His soldiers. He will defend the family, His great gift to mankind.
Let me emphasize that Family Talk will not waver during this time of national urgency. By working with other pro-family organizations and committed churches throughout the nation, we will strive to defend the principles that matter most. In so doing, we will likely be attacked, misquoted, and maligned by the liberal media and by those whose views on marriage and sexuality are radically different from our own. We covet your prayers during this time of intense debate. No matter what the odds, we are determined to stay the course. And may our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, bless us as we do.