May 30, 2008

Marriage in the Bible: What can we learn from these past relationships?

Marriage in the Bible                              [Main Story]
What can we learn from these past relationships?

Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10)
Remember this couple? They kept part of the profits from the sale of property, lying to the apostle Peter. Upon being faced with their mendacity, both dropped dead. Here’s a word of advice: even if your spouse is for it, you should not go along with something you know is wrong. Let God be your conscience and your guide. And don’t let greed get in the way: it has destructive and sometimes permanently negative results.
Abraham and Sarah (Gen. 17:15-21)
I could go a lot of places with these two—theirs is a storied past! Probably the best-known episode in their married life, however, is the Hagar-Ishmael debacle. Abram and Sarai disbelieved God’s promise that they’d have a child together, so they got maid Hagar to procreate with Abram. Sarai turned jealous, bitter, and once she conceived and bore Isaac, it’s clear there wasn’t room for the two mommies. Hagar left with her son, Ishmael. If Abram and Sarai had trusted God to truly make them parents of “a great nation” they would have prevented a great deal of strife. Also, jealousy never has a place in marriage. Relationships between husband and wife, and sometimes between friends and coworkers, can be inextricably damaged.
Jochebed and Amram (Ex. 2:1-10)
As Moses’ parents, you’d expect these two to be top-notch people. You will not be disappointed. Amram trusted Jochebed enough to let her follow through on what many would see as a hairbrained idea of hiding an infant—setting him afloat in a basket on the Nile. Not Amram. He likely had faith that God was leading his wife; Jochebed in turn trusted that God would deliver Moses (a mother’s intuition?). God did, of course, and Moses later delivered the Israelites from Egypt. What trust! We can learn a lot from this duo on “blindly” following God.
Mary and Joseph (Matt. 1–2; Luke 1:26-56; 2:1-52)
Both God-fearing and God-loving people, Mary and Joseph had the awesome responsibility of raising God’s incarnate Son. They both, I’m sure, taught Him valuable lessons—Joseph in his carpentry shop and Mary in her daily domestic engineering responsibilities. It’s clear they were the protective sort (Matt. 2:12) as well as a twosome who would follow the Lord’s leading. One of the biggest responsibilities for a couple is that of raising children. A close reading of Jesus’ birth and formative years recorded in the Gospels will shed light on some of the important nuances of growing up His little ones.

Kimberly Luste Maran is an assistant editor of Adventist Review.