Friday, March 27, 2015

Study Starter: The Case for Marriage



Study Starters: The Case for Marriage
By: Christopher Wiles
Since I primarily preach expository instead of topical there are some topics of interest that may not make its way frequently into sermons.  Polygamy (taking multiple spouses) came along in one of my recent daily morning readings and some church members have recently asked about it. 
                In Deuteronomy Moses is offering Israel much needed guidance just before they enter the promised land.  The Lord inspires him and Moses realizes they might say “I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me.” (17:14) How right Moses would be a few hundred years later.  He gives this further instruction “He (Israel’s King) shall not have multiple wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away.” (17:17)
I think the clearest evidence that monogamy (have only one spouse) is God’s ideal is that Christ taught on marriage in Matthew 19:3-6.  In that He quoted from the Genesis creation account, in particular Genesis 1:27 & 2:24 saying “the two will become one flesh.”  Yet I have read where some contemporaries say, “King David had multiple wives and he was a man after God’s own heart.”  On top of Jesus’ teachings, Moses’ offering in my morning reading of Deuteronomy really highlights God’s desire for our marriages. 
About 400 years before David, Moses told people not to have a king with multiple wives.  He knew it would cause problems, and he was right.  Take a look at what happened to David’s son, Solomon, “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods.” – 1 Kings 11:4a.  God knew this would be a problem for kings and told them not to do it in advance.  David’s problems arose when he took Bathsheba for another wife and things got even worse when sibling rivalry and incest took place between half-brothers and half-sisters in his messy family tree. (2 Samuel 13) The narrative of David in 2 Samuel only offers three positive chapters of David’s kingship (8-10) as opposed to 10 negative chapters (11-20).  I was also thinking as I was looking through timelines, David was either a "young'un" or possibly not born when the "after His own heart" verse was written in 1 Samuel 13:14.  David didn't kill Goliath until three chapters later in 1 Samuel 17. 
God was right, a man with multiple wives would spell trouble.  Oh but wait, so would having a human as king (1 Samuel 8).   My morning reading in Deuteronomy 17:14-17 further solidifies the view that God intended marriage to be between one man and one woman.  What does that reading do for you?