Sermons

Summary: God appears to be highly indifferent to the matter of race or color in marriage. There is no biblical evidence against interracial marriage, but much that would show it to be perfectly normal and honorable.

A boy in Harvard College, many years back, got his father in Maine to

come to Cambridge and see the football game between Yale and Harvard. As

they sat down, the boy slapped his father on the back and said, "Dad, for

three dollars you are going to see more fight than you ever saw before." The

old man smiled and replied, "I'm not so sure about that Son, that's what I

paid for my marriage license." Marriage is like football in several ways. It

covers a lot of ground, and their are many obstacles to overcome. Whoever is

not prepared to face obstacles had better not plan to play football, or get

married.

The football player faces two kinds of obstacles. There are those built into

the game, and which must be accepted to give the game meaning. Then there

are the illegal, or unjust, obstacles, which we call dirty playing. Sometimes the

dirty player is penalized, and sometimes he gets by with it, and the innocent

player suffers unjustly. Those who enter into marriage face obstacles they

know to be part of the game. There are natural and normal trials, struggles,

and adjustments. Marriage partners also face the obstacles of dirty play also.

They face the opposition of the ignorant, the cruel, the prejudiced, the jealous,

and those with numerous other evil motives.

Moses had to face this kind of dirty play when he chose to marry across the

race line. He chose an Ethiopian, who was a descendant of Ham, to be his

wife. His sister and brother were offended by this union, and they made it

known publicly. They sought to degrade Moses because of it. Hastings

Dictionary of the Bible says concerning the Ethiopian, "It is likely that a

black slave girl is meant and that the fault found by Miriam and Aaron was

with the indignity of such a union." Most are convinced she was black, or at

least dark, but their is a possibility that she was no darker that Moses himself.

She could have been a part of the Cushites who were of Arabian stock, and

less dark that the Ethiopians. This is really irrelevant since the major fact is

that it was an interracial marriage.

The text indicates that Miriam did not approve of the union, but it does not

give the slightest hint as to why. It could have that it had nothing to do with

her race at all, even though this is assumed by almost everyone. It is possible

that she was jealous of the woman. There is an ancient translation that reads,

"Because of the beautiful woman he had married, for he had married a

beautiful woman." Jealousy could have been the problem, and not racism, for

it was thought to be a disgrace at this early stage for a Jew to marry a

Gentile.

Many find a typology here. Moses is like Christ marrying a Gentile, who

represents the church. Miriam and Aaron are the angry Jews who oppose this

union. All of this is historically true, but we have no basis for reading it back

into this text as a prophetic type. We cannot read race hatred and prejudice

back into the hearts of Miriam and Aaron. All we can say is that we have here

an instance of interracial marriage by one who is a great man of God, and

that he was upheld by God, and the opposition was judged. Moses was not

lowered in his dignity before God, or the people, but is exalted as being a

servant of God. His marriage across race lines did not reduce his role in the

least. God appears to be highly indifferent to the matter of race or color in

marriage. There is not biblical evidence against interracial marriage, but

much that would show it to be perfectly normal and honorable. But why

would anyone marry a person from another race? Why do you

suppose Moses married an Ethiopian when there were all kinds of Jewish

girls he could choose from as the leader of his nation? Solomon, no doubt, had

dozens, if not hundreds of dark skinned wives, or concubines. Many were

gifts from foreign governments. Moses, however, freely chose to marry one

outside of his own race. The reason is likely the same as the one that accounts

for interracial marriages all over the Western Hemisphere. He fell in love

with her. It is a human fact that where any two races are in frequent contact,

there will be intermarriage. People will fall in love with people of any race if

they are in contact.

A little known fact is that when Israel was delivered from Egypt a great

many people of mixed races also went out with them. In the 400 years of

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