Our church family is reading through the first five books of the Bible together in ninety days. We invite you to join us as we believe this will be a time that will change our lives.
Abram and Sarai arrive at a radically stupid idea. When Sarai doesn’t become pregnant, the two felt they had to “assist” God with his promise that they would be parents of a big family. So, Sarai tells Abram to lay with her servant, Hagar. In short order, Hagar gives birth to Ishmael and the world has not been the same. Nor were Abram’s personal and family life the same.
God’s instructions on marriage were clear: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Within six generations (shortly after Adam’s death), Lamech took two wives (Genesis 4:19).
In ancient times, a custom came about where a man who desired a regular sex partner outside of marriage, could take a low-status woman as a concubine. He could enjoy her company as long as it pleased him, and he could dismiss her at any time. The man made no promises and signed no contract; consequently, the concubine had few legal protections. Any children that she bore would have an inferior legal status.
The Early Church (shortly after the New Testament was completed) fought long and hard against this practice. The church insisted that such a sexual relationship, without the permanent and total commitment expressed in marriage vows, was immoral and unjust. Over the course of a thousand years, this practice retreated into the shadows of social disapproval. The book of Genesis radically critiques the institution of polygamy, even though it was the accepted cultural practice of the time, by vividly depicting the misery and havoc it plays in family relationships, and the pain it caused, especially for women.
Today, marriage laws in the United States are in flux again. History tells us that women will be the losers, even when such changes are thought to be progressive.
Friday, January 15 – Catch Up Day
Saturday, January 16 – Catch Up Day