Family Matters

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, June 7, 2016 0 comments

by Bill Seng

The breakdown of family is the breakdown of civilization. The family is the most basic unit of government and the structure given to us by God through which we can learn to build relationships with other people. Ultimately, family remains family no matter what. Even when a family disowns someone, that person will never be separated from the lasting bond that God has built into the family structure. In a positive sense, I would typically use the relationship between Jacob and Esau to describe this aspect of family. But today we speak of the tragedy that occurs when we defy God’s rules for building and maintaining a family, through the example of the Midianites.

So many people, Christians and Christian sects included, have debated about the legality of polygamy inside of the law of God. I will start off by saying that there are commands that make it clear that polygamy is not the ideal for God-honoring relationships. Having said that, Abraham, after his wife Sarah died, became a polygamist. He had children by multiple women and these offspring would further populate the Middle East.

How can Christians make the case that polygamy is wrong when the one who is arguably the founder of the faith was, indeed, a polygamist? For the longest time a particular sect of Christianity claimed that polygamy was practically a pathway to deification because of its ability to allow for the cultivation of families, the size of which would be impossible to attain had it not been for the allowance of polygamy. Those who try to justify polygamy can be easily discredited once it is pointed out what the consequences of polygamy are.

The Midianites are the people who descended from Midian, the son of Keturah, the second wife to Abraham after Sarah died. This information can be found in Genesis 25, which lists his descendants through Keturah but also makes mention that Abraham had concubines who had borne him children. In verses 5 and 6 it mentions that all that he had went to Isaac, but he gifted his other children throughout his life and eventually sent them away (Genesis 25:5-6). Observe closely the families in the Bible that were begotten through polygamous relationships. Their futures don’t end well.

The Midianites became wicked and idolatrous. As with the other groups we have discussed, they became a thorn in Israel’s side. They oppressed the nation of Israel for a long time until they met the sword of Gideon and his 300 fighting men. The Lord made it known through this small dispatch that it was his judgment that was falling upon the people of that region, namely the Midianites (Judges 7:24-25).

There is a reason why God created one man married to one woman to fill the earth and build a great family. It is only inside of that context that both parents can properly tend to the needs of all of their children and raise them up with the knowledge and love of the Lord. Yes, Abraham became a polygamous man and, yes, God did permit this for that time. It, however, was not ideal and resulted in tragedy as his later children would be crushed by his children of promise.

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