A Network of Families
as a Community
God has designed for mankind to live as a community. So far we have seen His original creation of the first community develop from a community of: two parents and their offspring, to a number of communities made up of these offspring, to a development of a system of patriarchal communities (where the offspring would marry and then live within contact of each other and their parents).
Development of Community
We specifically looked at Noah and his family as an example of a community made up of parents living closely with their married children, who (as a community) share common resources. Because Noah, a man, was the head of the community, we refer to this style of community as a "Patriarchal Community". The next major patriarchal community that the Bible deals with was Abraham.
1. Abraham was a part of a patriarchal community, but God specifically told him to do something that meant he could no longer be a part of this community. What was it? (Gen. 12:1)
This would have been a big step. There is no record of Abraham ever going back to his original community. Although family members form the most logical part of the early community, we now see another development.
2. What was the factor that was to make the new community pioneered by Abraham so successful? (Gen. 12:2-3)
God introduced a concept through Abraham of a new community. This type was to be vastly different from any other. Not only were the members of this community going to be blood relations, but they were going to have a different leader than the usual patriarch. After just three generations from Abraham, this community had become a "nation". But this nation had no President or Prime Minister or King or Queen. It had no Palace or Parliament House.
3. Who was the leader of this new community? (Refer to 1Sam. 8:5-7)
4. In this design of a national community, every person was equal before God. When it was to come to the inevitable time of wanting a King, God gave the community of Israel some instructions that reinforced this aspect of equality. What are some of these guidelines mentioned in Deuteronomy 17:14-20?
Although the nation was made up of tribes, they were always to regard themselves as a part of the national community, not just a part of their micro-community.
5. How was this principle illustrated by the incident of Judges 22:10-12?
As a national community they shared a common God, a common vision, and were to be administered by godly leaders who were equal to everyone else in the community. They were bound by community laws to be taught by the Levites. There was no separation between their sacred and secular lives- God was a part of everything in their lives. They were to think of the national community interests, not just their own micro-community's. An example of this is when God raised up a judge. The judges were from various tribes of Israel but brought deliverance to the entire nation.
6. In the concept of "community" today, is the national community given priority over micro-community interests? What hampers or helps a sense of national community?
7. As Christians, how can we be a part of a national community?
Bible study index
© 2001 Andrew Corbett, Legana, Tasmania