1 Kings 16:34
In Ahab’s time, Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho. He laid its foundations at the cost of his firstborn son Abiram, and he set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, in accordance with the word of the Lord spoken by Joshua son of Nun.
In this day and age we seem to be prone to do the same as Hiel. We don't do it as obviously, but we most certainly sacrifice our families for the work we do.
Parents work long hours, sending their kids to day care for someone else to look after. Mothers literally kill (abort) their babies because of the inconvenience of having to give up work. Fathers work hard all day and come home to do their own thing, not to spend time with their kids.
What impact does this have on our culture? It seems to me that it raises kids to be angry teenagers who don't know or understand their place in the world and have no one to rely on. It raises adults who don't know how best to build their own families. More importantly: it raises up people who don't know the Lord, because their parents either didn't know him themselves or never bothered to teach their kids what it means to be Christians.
But it's s easy just to point the finger. The truth is, I do it too. From the opposite side of the spectrum. This year has been crazy. As my last year of school there have been heaps of work to do, massive assessments and stressful tests. The result? I've spent much less time with my family and my friends then I should have, and the time spent with them has often been spent as a stressed and grumpy teenager.
How are we living? What are we putting first in our lives? What impact does that have on those around us?
But Hiel was doing something more than just sacrificing his family, wasn't he?
He was rejecting God. He was openly disobeying the God who had pronounced a curse on the man who rebuilds Jericho through Joshua:
At that time Joshua pronounced this solemn oath: "Cursed before the LORD is the one who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho: "At the cost of his firstborn son he will lay its foundations; at the cost of his youngest he will set up its gates." (Joshua 6:26)What is even more important than leading and building your family? Serving God. God is the only way that we can be saved form our sins, he has provided salvation through Jesus and calls us to repent and believe in him.
We all stuff up. The first and biggest thing we need to do to get ourselves right is to turn to God, because nothing we can do can help us. We need God to change us from the inside out. Only then can we truly live how he wants.