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Family Influence

Key References: Genesis 7:1-13; Patriarchs and Prophets, chap. 7, pp. 97-104; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 1, pp. 105-112; Our Beliefs nos. 23, 11, 22

Power Text

“The Lord then said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation’ ” (Genesis 7:1).

Power Point

God uses us to influence members of our family positively.

Debbie’s parents divorced when she was 6. All her life she’d gone to church—sometimes with her mom, sometimes with her dad, because they had different faiths. Most of the time, however, her mom just didn’t go to church. After a few years both her parents remarried. So when Debbie was at her dad’s house, she went to church with him. Little by little Debbie had to choose what her own set of beliefs and values would be. And little by little she decided that Jesus was a friend she could count on, no matter what. Once she decided that, she had some decisions to make about how to live her life. So she studied the Bible, asking God to guide her to choose a church where He would be glorified and His Word would be honored. When Debbie was baptized, she had no idea of the incredible witness she was to become to her family.

Noah did all that God commanded him in building the ark. He followed God’s directions exactly. He warned his friends and neighbors continually. But the most important job Noah had was being a husband and a dad. God was his best friend, and his earthly best friends were Mrs. Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. He loved them dearly! Spending time with his boys was his heart’s delight. But the things that the neighbors around them did for entertainment were not fitting to Noah’s family. They were busy. Whether they were poring over blueprints or hunting up the best lumber, you could count on the family of Noah to be together. Wherever they were, Noah was encouraging them, and teaching them God’s ways.

Shem, Ham, and Japheth grew up in a world a lot like ours. Violence was everywhere. People would try anything for pleasure. They didn’t respect God or His law, and selfishness ruled. Wrong seemed right, and right seemed, well . . . weird! Weird because people had given themselves over to Satan so much that they truly wanted no part of God’s way. These three young men had decisions to make, just as you and I do. They weren’t “automatically” saved from the Flood just because of who their dad was! Every person, no matter who, no matter where, has to decide whose side to be on: either on God’s side or on Satan’s side. There are no other options.

There might have been moments in their lives when Shem, Ham, or Japheth thought their dad might be taking things a little too far. Yet his love for them and his guidance of them was such a powerful witness of God’s love that they could see the wisdom of following God’s way, and His way was their ultimate choice too.

Remember Debbie? Debbie married a Christian man. Her sister, Jodi, would come during the summer and spend time with them. Later, when she was old enough, Jodi moved close to where Debbie lived.

One day, to Debbie’s great delight, Jodi asked to study the Bible with them. Debbie didn’t know it, but Jodi was talking on the phone to their mom about the studies, and eventually Debbie’s mom began to take Bible studies too! One exciting summer Sabbath, Jodi and her mother were baptized together. They praise God for His love and saving power, and for the witness of Debbie in their family. It took many years for Debbie’s witness to result in the miracles that happened. Jodi says, “There was always a kind of peace Debbie had that I knew I wanted. I gave my heart to Jesus, and now I have that peace too!”

How about you? What kind of witness are you in your family? Whatever kind of situation you are in, you are a witness for or against God every day in your family. A family can be a more difficult place to witness for God by your life than anywhere else on earth! All families see each other at their best and at their worst. All families have good times and bad times. Sometimes people take their frustrations and irritations out on their family members. And unfortunately, we sometimes talk to our family members in ways that we would never dream of talking to someone else.

So how can your life be a positive witness in your family? Every day, say something such as: “Thank You, Jesus, for my family. I want to reflect You today to them, but I can’t do it by myself! Please give me the power to be like You, whatever comes my way in my family today.”