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If a man has two wives, one loved and the other unloved …  and if the firstborn son is of her who is unloved, then it shall be, on the day he bequeaths his possessions to his sons, that he must not bestow firstborn status on the son of the loved wife in preference to the son of the unloved, the true firstborn. (Deuteronomy 21:15-16)

In the previous devotion I made the statement that, sometimes, God gives us what we want to teach us it is not what we need. Such is the case with some Biblical marriages where great men of faith had multiple wives, a common practice of the day and culture that the Bible records. Yet, the Bible also records the issues that arose from these situations — issues like jealousy, strife and hatred. So in understanding the carnal nature of man, God addressed what would certainly happen in such a scenario — one wife would be preferred over the other and, consequently, the children of the preferred wife would be given preference as well. So in a manner of speaking, God made it clear that if you’re going to do something that is not recommended, you will have to be just and honorable when dealing with the situations that arise from it.

Personally, I feel that God was making a statement — multiple wives is not a good idea.  Actually, Cain’s descendants are the people who introduced this practice to the world, at least as far as the Biblical record goes (Genesis 4). Of course, it is true that the nation of Israel came to be through Jacob, Rachel and Leah but, again, look at the issues that arose. One rabbi writes: “Human experience shows that, in every bigamous marriage, one wife is always more loved than the other.” Another rabbinical commentary suggests that the firstborn WILL be born to the less preferred wife, as was the case where Jacob’s sons were concerned: Reuben was born to Leah (Gen. 29:32). Again, it is as if God was making a statement to discourage this practice.

So what is the point for us in all of this considering that polygamy isn’t an issue we run into every day. Let’s start with, in the beginning, God gave one wife to Adam, thus establishing the ideal for marriage — one man, one woman. Furthermore, Paul instructed believers that leaders in the Body of Messiah should be “the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well” (1 Timothy 3:12). Apparently, he felt that having multiple wives would undermine a man’s ability to lead the people of God. Frankly, being married to multiple wives always created problems that didn’t have to be.

That being said, the most relevant point in all of this is marriage, as God intended it, should teach us the importance of being committed exclusively to one person — til death do us part. In turn, that lifelong commitment points us to how it should be where our Heavenly Bridegroom is concerned and why we should not give our heart to another. As it is written, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul and strength.” To help us understand just how sacred — and sometimes hard — that is, He ordained that marriage should and forever be between one man and one woman.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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