Summary: Human wisdom fails to understand the importance of God'y Fathers.
MODERN FAMILY GOD’S WAY 4 - HUSBANDS
Text: Ephesians 5:22-33
1. One of the great passages on Marriage and the role of the husband is Ephesians 5:22 – 33.
2. The wisdom of God shared in this passage was like nothing ever conceived by men and women before it was delivered by God.
3. No one reading this passage in the twentieth century can fully realize how great it is.
4. Throughout the years the Christian view of marriage has come to be widely accepted. It still is recognized as the ideal by the majority even in these permissive days. Even where practice has fallen short of that ideal, it has always been in the minds and hearts of men who live in a Christian situation. Marriage is regarded as the perfect union of body, mind and spirit between a man and a woman. But things were very different when Paul wrote. In this passage Paul is setting forth an ideal which shone with a radiant purity in an immoral world.
I. Let us look briefly at the situation against which Paul wrote this passage.
A. The Jews had a low view of women.
1. n his morning prayer there was a sentence in which a Jewish man gave thanks that God had not made him "a Gentile, a slave or a woman."
2. In Jewish law a woman was not a person, but a thing. She had no legal rights whatsoever; she was absolutely her husband's possession to do with as he willed.
3. In theory the Jew had the highest ideal of marriage. The Rabbis had their sayings. "Every Jew must surrender his life rather than commit idolatry, murder or adultery." "The very altar sheds tears when a man divorces the wife of his youth."
4. But the fact was that by Paul's day, divorce had become tragically easy.
5. The law of divorce is summarized in
Deuteronomy 24:1 1 “When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house,
6. Deut 24:1. "When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favour
7. Obviously everything turns on the interpretation of some indecency.
8. The stricter Rabbis, headed by the famous Shammai, held that the phrase meant adultery and adultery alone, and declared that even if a wife was as mischievous as Jezebel a husband might not divorce her except for adultery.
9. The more liberal Rabbis, headed by the equally famous Hillel, interpreted the phrase in the widest possible way. They said that it meant that a man might divorce his wife if she spoiled his dinner by putting too much salt in his food, if she walked in public with her head uncovered, if she talked with men in the streets, if she spoke disrespectfully of her husband's parents in her husband's hearing, if she was a brawling woman, if she was troublesome or quarrelsome. A certain Rabbi Akiba interpreted the phrase if she finds no favour in his eyes to mean that a husband might divorce his wife if he found a woman whom he considered more attractive. It is easy to see which school of thought would predominate.
10. Two facts in Jewish law made the matter worse. First, the wife had no rights of divorce at all, unless her husband became a leper or an apostate or engaged in a disgusting trade. Broadly speaking, a husband, under Jewish law, could divorce his wife for any cause; a wife could divorce her husband for no cause.
11. Second, the process of divorce was disastrously easy. The Mosaic law said that a man who wished a divorce had to hand his wife a bill of divorcement which said, "Let this be from me thy writ of divorce and letter of dismissal and deed of liberation, that thou mayest marry whatsoever man thou wilt." All a man had to do was to hand that bill of divorcement, correctly written out by a Rabbi, to his wife in the presence of two witnesses and the divorce was complete. The only other condition was that the woman's dowry must be returned.
12. At the time of Christ's coming the marriage bond was in peril even among the Jews, so much so that the very institution of marriage was threatened since Jewish girls were refusing to marry because their position as wife was so uncertain.
B. The Greek respectable woman was brought up in such a way that companionship and fellowship in marriage was impossible.
1. Socrates said:
"Is there anyone to whom you entrust more serious matters than to your wife--and is there anyone to whom you talk less?"