Sunday School Notes: What Does the Bible Really Say About Sex? pt 2

We ended the last post asking the question, are there any examples in the Bible to justify the “wait for THE ONE” doctrine being taught throughout churches today.

Not only can I not find a biblical model for that teaching, but the majority of the accounts in the Bible are quite the opposite. Here is an example of what is often cited for verses related to praying for a mate. 

Notice that none of the verses are specific about praying for a spouse?

The Song of Songs tells of an encounter between King Solomon and a servant girl he saw while inspecting his vineyards. Nowhere can I find an example of anyone in the Bible who prayed for a mate. The closest I can find is the story of Isaac in Genesis 24. How did Isaac find his wife? Abraham sent a servant back to their homeland to find a girl and buy her from her family. The servant prayed that God would show him the right girl and he did. Isaac married a woman he had never even met.

Was I destined to marry my wife? Perhaps. I know that I pursued her because God told me to. But what should I have been doing in the years before she came into my life? I should have been learning how to conduct myself in relationships. Instead, I spent those years in bone crushing loneliness because I was afraid to date.

The sacredness of marriage.

This is one of those points where my questions are so far outside the norm that I’m mostly going to keep them to myself on the basis that I am not apt to change anyone’s mind and all it would do is cause strife.

My premise for this discussion is that God does not change. Cultures and social norms might change, but God does not. That is a central and absolutely necessary truth of the Bible. The relevance of that statement is that God’s truth and God’s intent must be consistent across all times and cultures.

So, with that in mind, why were most of the early Bible figures polygamist?

If the whole, “two shall become one flesh” is so vitally important, why were these men not destroyed as adulterers for having multiple wives? Weren’t they cheating on their first wives? And more so with each subsequent wife?

Take for instance, the story of Jacob (Genesis ch 28). He flees to live with his uncle Laban and meets his beautiful cousin Rachel. He asks for her hand in marriage, works seven years for Laban and on his wedding night get presented with the older sister, Leah. When he confronts Laban, he tells him tough luck, she was the older and she has to marry first.

Oh no! I’ve married the wrong person! As a follower of God, what should I do? That question plays out daily in the lives of Christians today. They are advised to tough it out, make it work, pray for God to help you find peace in your circumstance. Just don’t follow the biblical model and do what Jacob did…marry them both.

Now, one of the things I love about the Old Testament is that it points out the flaws of the people in the stories. It doesn’t white wash their failures and make them out to be perfect. It would be just fine if it said, “And Jacob sinned against the Lord by dishonoring his wife, Leah.”

But it doesn’t say that. Instead, it goes into this long sordid scenario where Rachel (who was barren at this point) and Leah get into a pissing match trying to get pregnant and give him sons. Rachel tells Jacob to sleep with her maidservant who gets pregnant. Apparently, she is allowed to claim the child as her own in this situation. If you are reading along we are in Genesis 30:5. What was Rachel’s response when the maidservant gets pregnant? “God has vindicated me.”

Now wait a damn minute. Jacob knocking up the hired help was considered a blessing from God? Where is the sacredness in that?

But it gets worse. The maidservant has a second son. Leah, the first wife, has stopped producing at three and she’s afraid her sister will catch up with her. So she sends her maidservant to sleep with him and that girl ends up pregnant twice.

In the mean time, Rachel sells Leah a night with Jacob in return for some mandrake plants, whatever the hell that is, and it says, “God listened to Leah”. (Gen 30:17)

Then, just a couple of verses later, we read, “God remembered Rachel” and she has another son, Joseph. (Gen 30:22)

Joseph, who becomes the savior of the budding Israelite race when they have to go to Egypt during the famine.

If God doesn’t change, how do we reconcile all of this with the actions taken, and condoned by God, in the early years of the Bible?

My intention here is not question God. My intention here is to question man. I’m not condoning polygamy, I can barely handle putting up with one woman’s shit. Just kidding dear, I’d gladly take a couple more of you. It would make that threesome idea a much easier sell.

One more example of where I think we’ve gone a wee bit legalistic on what we think God actually expects from us.

The Song of Songs is presented to us as a wonderful portrait of husband and wife. Solomon the king happens upon a lowly, beautiful servant girl working in his vineyards and takes her as his lovely bride. My Bible’s commentary states, “Through the dialogue, sex and marriage are put in their proper, God given perspective.”

That sounds nice.

Here’s the problem. The best I can tell, this wasn’t his first marriage. From 1 Kings 3, his first listed wife was the daughter of Pharaoh. So, this wonderful representation of marriage was wife number…..who knows. Which means Solomon was definitely not a virgin on their wedding night.

I’m running long again, so I’m going to stop here and try to wrap it up next time with part 3.


3 thoughts on “Sunday School Notes: What Does the Bible Really Say About Sex? pt 2

  1. I was waiting in anticipation for part two and now part three is on it’s way! I find myself chuckling at the some of the absurdity in the early Bible teachings you summarized and quoted. I would like to thank you for writing about this. I have been thinking about my own blogs lately and how descriptive I get about sex. I do consider myself Christian and I have never understood why some, not all, devote or dabbling Christians balk at sex conversations and the like.

    Here’s to us who understand the value of the most intimate act between two people and who aren’t afraid to blog about it! After all, God did make us of flesh. Praise Him! Amen brother!

    • I’m humbled to hear that you were looking forward to the rest. I hope I won’t disappoint.

      I want to be clear that I don’t necessarily blame the individuals in the stories for their actions. We can be just as messed up in our modern world. My focus is on the amazing extent of God’s grace and his ability to use us regardless of our capacity for screwing things up.

      Part 3 is going to focus on the fact that God is very much aware of how f’d up we all can be. And even on our worst day, he’s still there working in our lives and loving us.

      • Absolutely He is! Recently I was at a Christian concert where MercyMe was and Bart was giving his sermon as he always does. He said directly to me, (ok so maybe to the rest of the crowd of 10,000 too, but it felt personal, lol) “quit trying to please God! He is already pleased with you. You can’t do any better than you already are”! From that moment on, I stopped apologizing to my Father and just try to do better in His eyes. He is forgiveness and always grants me mercy and grace…

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