Icebreaker: Let’s play ‘Rose, Rose, Thorn, Bud’
RECAP: Review of ‘Marriage & The Family Part 1’
Moving on to Marriage Rivals & Deviations…
There are two types of deviations/rivals to marriage that we will focus on in this talk:
The first instance we see this is in Gen 4:19 where a man named Lamech marries two women.
Next in Genesis 16, Sarai suggests that her husband Abram takes her handmaiden (Hagar) as a ‘secondary wife’
“Thinking it impossible that a child should be given her in her old age, Sarah suggested, as a plan by which the divine purpose might be fulfilled, that one of her handmaidens should be taken by Abraham as a secondary wife. Polygamy had become so widespread that it had ceased to be regarded as a sin, but it was no less a violation of the law of God, and was fatal to the sacredness and peace of the family relation. Abraham’s marriage with Hagar resulted in evil, not only to his own household, but to future generations….”Daughters Of God, 27.1
The first mention of the word ‘concubine’ (as found in many Bible versions) was in Gen 22:24: Nahor (Abraham’s brother) had a concubine named Reumah whom he had children with.
The word ‘concubine’ appears 37 times in the KJV Bible. In the Strong’s KJV Concordance, in Hebrew, the word is pee-leh’-ghesh and it’s of uncertain derivation; but it also says a paramour.
In the Merriam Webster dictionary the word paramour is from the French words ‘par’ and ‘amour’, so it means ‘by love’ and it is an illicit, secret lover or a mistress. Let’s look at a few examples of men who had multiple wives and concubines in the Bible:
- Abram (Abraham) whom we have already mentioned had two wives – Gen 16.
- Isaac only had one wife, but both his sons (Jacob & Esau) had multiple wives:
- Esau had three wives: Adah, Aholibamah and Bashemath (Gen 36:2-3).
- Jacob (Israel) had two wives and two concubines: Leah & Rachel, Bilhah & Zilpah (Gen 29 & 30).
- By the time we get to King David, the Bible doesn’t mentioned how many wives and concubines he had; in 2 Sam 3:1-5, it seemed to imply he had 6 wives, but by 2 Sam 5:13, The Holy Word said he took more wives and concubines later.
- When we get to 1 Kings 11:1-5, we read some of the saddest scriptures of all. King Solomon had “seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines”
- Next, we see Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, had 18 wives and 60 concubines! (2 Chron 11:21).
In these and other references, we never see a happy home where there are multiple spouses and/or concubines! [Questions? Comments?]
Challenges To Courtship & Marriage
A) Culture: Sometimes culture and other family members get in the way of courtship & marriage. Some parents/guardians may only want their children to court (intentionally date) people of the same culture or ethnicity. (To the unmarried listening), have you ever heard some of these statements?
- “Do not bring home any ______!”
- “Don’t marry a _______“
- “You must marry a ______“
- “Don’t disgrace the family by bringing home a _____”
This could be a sneer of the enemy. These could be done subconsciously (implicit bias may abound as well) but sometimes consciously. [Questions? Comments?]
B) Arranged Marriages: This is still practiced in different ways around the world. It does mean different things to different people; for some it is forced/child marriages, for others, the parents/family members select the bride and groom. Some examples in the Bible: Isaac and Rebekah (by Eleazer), Jacob and Leah (by Laban), and Michal and David (by Saul). [Questions? Comments?]
Now going back and looking at different type of relationships…
A well-known pastor said “friendship is the better part of marriage” and we totally agree. We also want believe that friendship is the better part of any relationship.
What Does The Bible Say About Friendship?
Here are just a few text on the topic (we encourage you to look up these verses for yourself):
- Amos 3:3
- Prov 17:17
- Prov 18:24
- Prov 27:17
- Isa 41:8 (see also James 2:23)
- John 3:29
What Does EGW Say About Friendship?
Here are just two references from the Prophetic Writings:
Source of True Human Affection—Our affection for one another springs from our common relation to God. We are one family, we love one another as He loved us. When compared with this true, sanctified, disciplined affection, the shallow courtesy of the world, the meaningless expression of effusive friendship, are as chaff to the wheat.Letter 63, 1896 (Songs and Daughters of God, 101) & Mind, Character & Personality, Vol 1, 211.1
At the home of Lazarus, Jesus often found rest. The Saviour had no home of His own. When weary, thirsting for human fellowship, He had been glad to escape to this peaceful household. Here He found a sincere welcome and pure, holy friendship.From Heaven With Love, 350.2
What does the Bible say about courtship/marriage? We don’t see anything about courting or dating in the Bible, but we do have one verse we wanted to mention here that shows that your beloved spouse can (and should) also be your friend:
Song 5:16 His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.
What does the Prophetic Writings say about courtship?
In every way encourage each other in fighting the battles of life. Study to advance the happiness of each other. Let there be mutual love, mutual forbearance. Then marriage, instead of being the end of love, will be as it were the very beginning of love. The warmth of true friendship, the love that binds heart to heart, is a foretaste of the joys of heaven.Adventist Home 106.1
Boundaries In Courtship
There should be boundaries in all relationships, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that there should be boundaries when you are in a courting relationship as well.
Boundaries are need to maintain purity. We now want to look at boundaries in light of the Sanctuary:
There are three primary compartments in The Sanctuary: The Outer Court, The Holy Place, and The Most Holy Place.
There were restrictions in every compartment. In The Outer Court, you could only enter with a sacrifice. You were not permitted to just walk in and chat with Priest Eleazer (even if he was your friend). It was a sanctified area. The Holy place was only for the priests to access and the Most Holy Place was only visited by the High Priest one time a year on a special day (Lev 16).
In Exod 19:12, before Moses went up the mountain for his appointment with the Lord, physical bounds were set so that the people wouldn’t touch the mount. [They had barriers too]. In like manner, there are a few boundaries we would like to mention as it relates to courtship:
1. Keeping Late Hours
Satan’s angels are keeping watch with those who devote a large share of the night to courting. Could they have their eyes opened, they would see an angel making a record of their words and acts. The laws of health and modesty are violated. It would be more appropriate to let some of the hours of courtship before marriage run through the married life. But as a general thing, marriage ends all the devotion manifested during the days of courtship.Adventist Home 56.2
The Bible says in Col 3:2 “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth”
Gird up the loins of your mind, says the apostle; then control your thoughts, not allowing them to have full scope. The thoughts may be guarded and controlled by your own determined efforts. Think right thoughts, and you will perform right actions. You have, then, to guard the affections, not letting them go out and fasten upon improper objects. Jesus has purchased you with His own life; you belong to Him; therefore He is to be consulted in all things, as to how the powers of your mind and the affections of your heart shall be employed.Adventist Home 54.2
There is a quote which talks about the progression of holding hands to hugs to kissing and so on. We as carnal folk, guided by wrong interpretations and representations of courtship, always want to push the envelope and see what we can get away with (in regards to getting physical in relationships). The best thing to do is to be guarded and hold off on this type of behavior to keep the courtship pure (there will be plenty of time for it after the ceremony).
[Mention a testimony about our courtship here]
A Note Of Caution: On a similar note, we could be chaste and pure with sincere and honest intentions, but our significant others could very well be masking devious intentions and also, unbeknownst to them, moving by impulses of the enemy. And those impulses could be strengthened by the same force. There are numerous accounts of that being the case (both in and out of the Bible) where the children of God are led into questionable circumstances, not without warning though, end up having their faith shipwrecked because of slight concessions in relationships.
[Mention Spiritual Intimacy and E-lationships here]
Final Note: So be sober, be guarded and pray without ceasing over your courtships and familial relationships. In regards to these items we have mention, we invite you to read Letters To Young Lovers and Adventist Home (this one was already mentioned in Part 1 of this Presentation). [Questions? Comments?]