Abraham’s Wives: The “Rest” Of The Story
It is written,
“And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:”
Abraham was not only the natural father of the of Israel, but through his faith he became the father of all those who believe. Therefore, no matter what our origin, natural or spiritual, if we have faith in God, we are the seed of Abraham.
Here is a truth,
“Abraham was a man aproved of by God”
Abraham, as it were, was perfect in his generation and God picked him to be the father of a holy nation. He was a man of incredible faith and through that faith brought forth the promised son, Isaac, in whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed.
What I want to speak about today is how we often assume we know a man of God but do not realize the full story of who He really is. Sometimes we “read” into a persons life only the parts that make sense to us and forget about or ignore the rest. However, here is the “rest” of the story about Abraham.
To begin with, Abraham married his half sister.
“And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.”
Yes, the father of our faith married the daughter of one of his fathers wives. Evidently, the gene pool was not degraded to a point where God felt he had to prohibit such marriages (Leviticus 18:9)
Next, we all know the story of Sara and Hagar. Sara could not initially bear children and so, according to the custom of the day, gave Abraham Hagar (Sara’s handmaiden) to bear a child for her husband.
What many do not know is that, after Sara passed away, Abraham married yet another lady named Keturah. It is written,
“Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.”
Therefore, besides Ishmael and Isaac Abraham had 6 more children.
But wait, there’s more.
“But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.”
Therefore, there we at least two more children from at least two concubines bringing the total of Abraham’s offspring to ten or more. I have often wondered if the decedents of Abraham’s concubines were in fact the origin of three kings that brought gifts to the newborn Christ.
He is a truth,
“When we read scripture, unless we pay close attention, opening our hearts and minds to what God is really saying, we tend to see only what we want to see.”
Abraham, the father of our faith, in reality had at least 5 wives during his lifetime and many of them concurrently. This part of Abraham’s life is hardly ever examined carefully because it does not fit our preconceived notions of what a man of God is.
Doubtless, should Abraham or someone like Abraham come to our churches today we would shun him as a sinner because of his multiple wives. Yet, when we hypocritically pick and choose what we like and ignore the “whole” man we laud them as a great example of faith.
This is even true of Jesus. If you look at movies about his life (with the possible exception of “The Passion” by Mel Gibson) Jesus is portrayed as a blue eye man with a British accent. Sometimes Jesus appears to be Catholic and other times appears to be non-denominational. We tend to want to create God in our own image rather than understand who and what He is in reality.
In the coming years it will be very important to humble ourselves and get to know God in actuality and not just in theory. We must come to terms with who He is and not just who we want Him to be. The Holy Spirit must be allowed to pierce our ethnocentric ideas so that we align ourselves with God rather that trying to force God to align Himself with us. Here is an uncomfortable truth,
“Abraham was a polygamist, plain and simple. Abraham married his half sister, plain and simple. Abraham’s father was a polygamist, plain and simple. Yet, as much as these things may offend our present day sensibilities Abraham was a friend of God and the father of our faith.“
It is written,
“And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”
Will we accept what God does in the way that God does it? Or will we reject God and try to explain away the parts that don’t make sense to our natural minds? Will we continue to preach and teach only the portions of the scriptures that make sense to us so as not to offend religious and social norms? Or will we dare to tell the truth not matter how unpopular it may be?
It is written,
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;”
2 Timothy 4:3
What exactly is sound doctrine? It is merely what your particular church teaches or is it something more? In its most elemental form sound doctrine is simply a correct understanding of God’s word as taught by His Spirit. Here is a truth,
“A great deal of what is thought to be “sound doctrine” is simply man’s reasoning sprinkled with a liberal portion of natural minded thinking topped off by fear of what other people will say.”
We are currently living in a time when people do not accept sound doctrine. However, sound doctrine is not the dogma that the churches teach but rather it is the truth of the scriptures that “ministers” fear to speak to this generation. The sad fact is that many will not preach and teach the whole truth of God and even worse yet, call what is actually of God, heresy.
In conclusion, have a the guts to preach the truth or have the decency to put down the word of God and step away from the pulpit. Do not fool yourself that the people cannot “handle” the truth.” Do not deceive yourself into believing that you are keeping back the the whole word of God for their snakes. If you are not willing to declare God as He truly is then do everyone a favor and stop making graven images for yourself and others to worship. Nothing of any value was ever done in God’s kingdom by those who would not risk everything to know Him. If Abraham is our father in the faith then let us own him in every detail and champion the real man instead of a sanitized caricature of someone we find more acceptable.
Finally, accept those that God accepts. Do not give lip service to the mighty men of faith in the Bible while you reject present day people who are of the same ilk. These are the very people God is raising up in your midst to do the works of faith that will be talked about for a thousand years. Know this, if you resist these modern day saints you, like Korah and Dathan, will be remembered too, but for all the wrong reasons.