(Genesis 1:27, 2:24, 4:19; Deuteronomy 17:17; 1 Kings 11:3; 1 Timothy
When you read
God's Word, you read about great men of faith, men who lived their lives for
God like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Solomon. These men did great things for
God and are used as examples of how to live a Godly life. These men were
also richly blessed by God. However, they all had one glaring issue that
cannot be ignored. They all had multiple wives! This fact often confuses
people who are curious how these great men of God could be so blessed but
living in blatant rebellion to God in this area of their life. The reality
is, they forfeited many of the blessings they should have had because of
this sin in their life.
The Bible is perfectly clear about God's Holy Institution of Marriage. It
is one man, with one woman, for one lifetime. God created Adam and Eve, not
Adam and Eve and Julie. Or Adam and Eve, Julie, Cathy, and Susan. God's
plan for marriage was one man and one woman. In Genesis 2:24 God's
intention is clearly presented when He says, "They shall be one flesh." In
giving the qualifications for a king in Deuteronomy Chapter 17, Verse 17,
God clearly states that the king was not to have multiple wives. In giving
the qualifications for those who lead the church in 1 Timothy 3:2 and 12 and
in Titus 1:6, the Bible states that these men are to have only one wife.
This passage in the Greek is not only speaking of someone who has not been
divorced, but makes it clear that having multiple wives disqualified someone
to be in a leadership position.
You actually don't have to get very far into human history to see God's plan
for marriage perverted. The first Biblical account of men taking multiple
wives is recorded in Genesis 4:19 where a man named Lamech took two wives.
Having multiple wives throughout history has always been a mark of nations,
people groups, who lived their lives in rebellion to the God of the Bible.
Sadly, some have tried to justify polygamy by pointing to men of God in the
Bible like Abraham and others who had multiple wives. They are 100% wrong
and there is NO WAY to justify polygamy by using the Bible.
Let me make sure you understand something perfectly clear. God never
permitted at any time for men to have multiple wives. When we read about
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Solomon, and others taking multiple wives, we also
read about the consequences of this sin in their life. Don't forget what I
tell you often. Our obedience to God and His Word brings blessings, our
rebellion to God and His Word brings consequences! There will ALWAYS be
consequences when you choose to live in rebellion to God. Even great men of
God like Abraham, like Solomon, were not immune to the consequences when
they chose to sin against God.
One of the things I love about God's Word is that it does not try to hide
the failings of men who did great things for God in their life. Look at
David. His sin with Bathsheba could have been omitted, but God allowed his
sin to be exposed to all of the generations through His Word. The
consequences of Abraham's sin in taking another wife are still being felt in
the world today since the Jewish people are directly linked back to his son
with Sarah, Isaac, and the Arab people directly linked back to his son with
Hagar, Ishmael. When you read about Abraham having to send Hagar and her
son away due to the conflict with Sara and Isaac, I am not sure we can begin
to fully comprehend the human emotions of such a tragic event.
Then you have Solomon. As I have shared with you in the past in speaking of
Solomon and his summation of what this life is about in Ecclesiastes 12:13,
I have carefully studied his life. Solomon is a very complex individual and
a classic study of someone who gets so caught up in the success and allure
of this world they forsake God. Solomon followed God since his youth,
became the King of Israel, finished building the Temple of God in Jerusalem
started by his father David. He is probably best known for his incredible
wisdom. As you read about the life of Solomon you can see the hand and
blessings of God upon him.
Despite having God's favor and blessings, Solomon allowed the temporal
things of this world to take priority over his commitment to God. Being
allowed by God to gain victory over the enemies of Israel, Solomon took part
in a custom of that day where the conquering king, Solomon, was given the
daughter of the defeated king to be his wife. So Solomon not only began
taking multiple wives (against God's admonition in Deuteronomy 17:17), these
were women from heathen nations that did not know or honor the God of Israel
and brought their false gods with them into the marriage. Over time,
Solomon ended up with 700 wives and 300 concubines. (Personal observation:
It is clear that by this time in his life, Solomon used up all of his
wisdom, since having one wife is a full time commitment. 700? The thought
makes my head hurt.)
One reason God says in His Word in 2 Corinthians 6:14 "do not be yoked
together with unbelievers" is because of the negative influence your
unbelieving spouse will have on your faith. Solomon was a great example of
a man who knew, followed, and served God, but became influenced by the false
gods and idols of his foreign wives. This is exactly why God told the
children of Israel to not take "strange wives," or wives from nations that
worshipped false gods. At a time in his life when Solomon should have been
enjoying the blessings of God, instead he was dealing with the consequences
of his rebellion to God from having multiple and foreign wives. His life
actually ends with little fanfare and rather sadly due to his sin. SIN
ALWAYS COSTS, AND ALWAYS COSTS MORE THAN WE EXPECT TO PAY!
I love you and care about you so much. Not only is polygamy against the law
in the United States, it has never been a practice of most in our culture.
However, there are those who advocate having multiple wives, and there are
other nations around the world in which it is an acceptable practice. Due
to the fact we have some of the great men of God in the Bible who took
multiple wives, I thought it was important to deal with this issue and
insure you understood that this was never God's plan for marriage and those
who take multiple wives are clearly in rebellion to God and His Word.
I will be praying for you today. I want to specifically pray for those who
are married today. Marriage is God's Holy Institution. It is a wonderful
gift from God and his plan for most people's lives. It is one of the most
difficult things in the world for two people to become one. But with the
Lord at the center of your lives together, it can be the most incredible and
special thing in your life other than your relationship with Christ. For
those who are going through a problem in your marriage today, I will be
praying for God to bring healing and restoration to your marriage. For
those who are not having problems, I will pray that you continue to be
richly blessed in your marriage each day.