Old Testament Passages Good for Everyone to Know
Doug Jacoby did a series on some Old Testament passages that I thought were very good, so I thought I would share them with you. Doug is an Evangelist, scholar, teacher, and above all a faithful Christian. Enjoy!
Old Testament Passages Good for Every Christian to Know, Part 1
Our inaugural passage comes from Genesis 2, and it's v.24: That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
The man has met his life partner—a very good arrangement. What is the Lord showing us here?
• Both Jesus and Paul explicitly relate this passage to marriage (Mark 10:8; Matt 19:5; Eph 5:22-31). "One flesh" means marriage—not a sexual tryst between unmarried persons.
• It's the norm that men and women marry. Celibacy is also good, provided one has the gift (Matt 19:12; 1 Cor 7:7).
• Monogamy is the standard. Although polygamy may be found throughout the O.T., beginning with the wealthy men of Genesis, it is nowhere commended—let alone part of God's plan. Rather, the Bible depicts the heartache that comes with polygamy. Yet even then, when we deviate from God's plan, he still works with us, ready to forgive and help us move forward.
• Marriage is heterosexual—between one man and a one woman. A succinct and punchy adage is "One man, one wife, for life." Indeed, as one commentator notes: "In Eden homosexuality, incest and adultery were all demographically impossible."
• Although after marriage we continue to honor and respect our parents, there is a separation that takes place at marriage. Before, parents are our top familial priority. Now, it's our spouse. Something entirely new is beginning: another family.
• Sex (between a man and his wife) is honorable, not shameful. Not only do we find a naked couple on page 1 or 2 of Scripture (Gen 2:25), but later on we find an entire book on marital sex (Song of Songs).
These are all valuable points / great reasons for us to know where this text is and what it says.
Several more passages in Genesis treat the same subject—God's plan for sexuality. Let's consider two:
• Sexual integrity: Gen 39 spotlights Joseph's refusal to compromise sexually, despite the repeated efforts of a married woman to seduce him. Unjustly accused (and spending a few years in prison), he maintains his faith and integrity all the way until his death in the final chapter of Genesis.
• True love waits: Gen 29 and 34 form a powerful mini-study on sexual propriety. In Gen 29:14-30—esp. v.20—Jacob honors his future wife, and God's plan for marital sex. ("So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.") Compare Jacob's righteous approach with that of impatient and godless (Canaanite) Shechem (Gen 34). Yet even Shechem knows having sex doesn't make a couple "married" (34:4). Although he loves (v.3—Greek ēgápēsen—from agápē; Hebrew ye'ehav) Dinah, Jacob's daughter, he fails to control himself. His lust defiles her. The results are disastrous.
• A video sermon, "Sex: Wait for It"—from the iFaith series.
My hope is that this material will prove useful to you in your ministry. If we Christians don't speak clearly on the topic of sexuality—and with the authority of the Scriptures behind us—then church members (including the next generation) will almost certainly end up taking their cues from the world. Gen 2:24 is not only powerful, but also useful—a passage all of us can use in teaching, training, counseling, and outreach.
Next week: Genesis 22, "Sacrifice your children?"