Loose Threads – Marriage According to the Bible cont’d


Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, laughing. So she said to Abraham,

10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.

Genesis 21:10King James Version (KJV)

Abraham was displeased with Sarah’s response (Genesis 21:11). He cared about Sarah but he did not share her view that Hagar  and Ishmael should be sent away. After all, Ishmael was his own son. Then God spoke to Abraham on this issue:

12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.

Abraham obeyed the Lord.  14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. As far as we know, Abraham did not see Ishmael again, Ishmael appears later at Abraham’s burial (Genesis 25:9).

– Genesis 21:12-13King James Version (KJV)

Sending away Hagar and Ishmael may seem cruel from our perspective, but the Bible records both Abraham’s concern and God’s command. Abraham expressed compassion for his son, but he also demonstrated obedience when God required something different from what Abraham personally desired. In doing so, Abraham Abraham models a humility that applies still still today.

God calls us to obedience and that requires that we be willing to give up personal desires in order to follow Him. Those who love the Lord know that the Lord’s will is what matters most. Abraham obeyed God and was known as a friend of God(James 2:23). His faith followed God’s will, even in difficult times.

There is one last point we need not overlook:

12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

The word hearken means to obey. Abraham was to “hearken” or “obey” Sarah because her words in this instance were God’s words. That is all that mattered. The sex of the individual did not matter. The only important thing was who was speaking God’s will. Ultimately, the first command of God in submission throughout Ephesians 5 is “submit…in reverence or fear of the Lord.”

– Genesis 21:12King James Version (KJV)


When two people live together night and day for 52 years, even when they are in love with each other and try to live their lives wholly devoted to their God, somehow, try as they might, their humanity still has a tendency to creep in. Or, to put it in simple terms, their flesh shows its ugly face. In still simpler terms, they get tempted to sin. That is the reason why our merciful Father gave us the greatest gift of His Son.

After confessing my sins to my blessed Savior, I find that I have to retreat immediately to the Bible. You all already realize how I feel about my wonderful husband 💞. However, many years ago I felt that he was being a bit of a grump at times  (I will use the word “surly” and it will become apparent why shortly). During those times I also felt put upon and taken advantage of ( I will use the term “household servant” and it will become apparent why shortly). Having enough wisdom – thank you Lord – to know that the only person in this duet that I could ask the Lord to change wasn’t him, but me,  I prayed and asked the Lord to direct me to Scripture. In His faithful – and slightly humorous way – I found myself reading the following:

18 [You who are] household servants, be submissive to your masters with all [proper] respect, not only to those who are kind and considerate and reasonable, but also to those who are surly (overbearing, unjust, and crooked).

19 For one is regarded favorably (is approved, acceptable, and thankworthy) if, as in the sight of God, he endures the pain of unjust suffering.

20 [After all] what kind of glory [is there in it] if, when you do wrong and are punished for it, you take it patiently? But if you bear patiently with suffering [which results] when you do right and that is undeserved, it is acceptable and pleasing to God.

21 For even to this were you called [it is inseparable from your vocation]. For Christ also suffered for you, leaving you [His personal] example, so that you should follow in His footsteps.

22 He was guilty of no sin, neither was deceit (guile) ever found on His lips.

 23 When He was reviled and insulted, He did not revile or offer insult in return; [when] He was abused and suffered, He made no threats [of vengeance]; but he trusted [Himself and everything] to Him Who judges fairly.

– 1 Peter 2:18-23Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

Perfect! That’s me, the household servant, who is not being submissive like I’m supposed to be by being respectful. Sure, I’m loving and kind when my husband is kind, considerate and reasonable, but when he’s surly that’s a different story! Uh oh, but it’s not supposed to be a different story according to the verses before me. Look at v. 20 because it will thrust a knife in your heart – at least, it did to me the first time I saw it and every time I’ve looked at it since. If I bear patiently with my husband when he is surly, then that patient and pleasant attitude pleases God. In fact, I am called to this kind of attitude! Take a deep breath because the reason for this will take all the selfishness, temper and anger right out of your whole body. “For Christ also suffered for you, leaving you [His personal] example, so that you should follow in His footsteps.” Can you bear to go back to verses 22-23 and let them truly sink into you? Can you ask God to “imprint them on your mind and engrave them in your heart” (Hebrews 8:10) so that they become a part of you? And to that little part inside you that still won’t be quiet and keeps saying “it’s not fair”, how come I have to be nice and quiet and pleasant when he’s being so surly, look at v.23. God has already answered that “it’s not fair” voice with His own voice by telling you to trust everything to Him Who judges fairly. Ah, peace returns again. God is so wonderfully good!


Our marriage is made up of a wife who can get anxious and fearful at times and who talks a lot and of a husband who talks very little and is very calm. At times when his wife is getting overwhelmed by things (characterized by her “running around like a chicken without a head” routine), said husband will actually have the audacity to sit there even quieter and watch this whole performance and still stay calm! What is the matter with him – doesn’t he know that the sky is falling and that we are a millimeter away from the fiscal cliff!!!!! He’s supposed to be taking charge of all these things and acting in a commanding, “male headship” macho kind of way and all he’s doing is sitting there in that chair, not saying a word. May I refer you to the story in Mk4: 37-39? Meet the harried wives masquerading as disciples as they hit yet one more storm in their already harried lives. Battered by the waves and the winds, they are going to drown. And what is that Guy (capital letter for Jesus, but lower case for husband) doing while all this chaos is going on??? Look at him back there, sitting, my gosh, he’s even sleeping. He hasn’t heard a word I’ve said. DOESN’T HE CARE??? Uh-oh. That Guy is Jesus, but that guy (lower case) is also your husband. Sure he’s been listening to you going off the deep end loud and clear. But remember, he doesn’t act like that. That’s why you married him. He “fulfills you, he completes you, you and he are one flesh” and he’s about to show you how that works. In Jesus’ case, He will quietly and gently get up, go to the head of the boat and gently tell the waves – He’ll probably only have to whisper – Be still (maybe even just a little shush) and that will take care of everything. In your husband’s case, he’ll get up from his chair, come over and hold you and reassure you in his calm quiet manner that you don’t have to worry and be afraid because you’re both in this together and you’re going through this whole thing with him at your side. That takes all the fear away. Sarah called Abraham lord and she was not afraid. We don’t need Hercules or Superman or Iron Man as husbands. We need the ones who are like Jesus – our Hiding Place, our Refuge, our Strong Tower, our Safe Refuge. All those things are quiet and peaceful. Women thrive in a state of peace.

So all this prompted me to go look at 1Pe3:7 in the Barnes Commentary just to see if they had anything to add to my stormy scenario. And I found this:

The reason here assigned for the honour that was to be shown to the wife is, that she is “the weaker vessel.” By this it is not necessarily meant that she is of feebler capacity, or inferior mental endowments, but that she is more tender and delicate; more subject to infirmities and weaknesses; less capable of enduring fatigue and toil; less adapted to the rough and stormy scenes of life. As such, she should be regarded and treated with special kindness and attention. This is a reason, the force of which all can see and appreciate. So we feel toward a sister; so we feel toward a beloved child, if he is of feeble frame and delicate constitution; and so every man should feel in relation to his wife. She may have mental endowments equal to his own; she may have moral qualities in every way superior to his; but the God of nature has made her with a more delicate frame, a more fragile structure, and with a body subject to many infirmities to which the more hardy frame of man is a stranger.

And as being heirs together of the grace of life. The grace that is connected with eternal life; that is, as fellow-Christians. They were equal heirs of the everlasting inheritance, called in the Scripture “life;” and the same “grace” connected with that inheritance had been conferred on both. This passage contains a very important truth in regard to the female sex. Under every other system of religion but the Christian system, woman has been regarded as in every way inferior to man. Christianity teaches that, in respect to her highest interests, the interests of religion, she is every way his equal. She is entitled to all the hopes and promises which religion imparts. She is redeemed as he is, she is addressed in the same language of tender invitation. She has the same privileges and comforts which religion imparts here, and she will be elevated to the same rank and privileges in heaven. This single truth would raise the female sex everywhere from degradation, and check at once half the social evils of the race. Make her the equal of man in the hope of heaven, and at once she rises to her appropriate place. Home is made what it should be, a place of intelligence and pure friendship; and a world of suffering and sadness smiles under the benefactions of Christian woman…(and too, the man must remember, that if done this way) That your prayers be not hindered (Barnes. Studylight.org)


There is one final, very personal, point I want to end this report on: the idea of a husband praying for his wife. I wear a pain pump because my rib cage is deteriorating. While it works about 85% of the time, I still have flare-ups of intense pain. James 5:14-15 advises me to go to the elders of the church to pray for me. When I read that in conjunction with the many verses of a husband’s role toward his wife, I feel it is perfectly in keeping with God’s Word to ask my husband to pray for me. When he does, peace, comfort and healing come to my body. It strengthens our love. More than anything it strengthens the bonds of our marriage before the Lord because it brings us even closer together. May I encourage you all to consider this practice before the Lord?

Life Application

Reading through even these brief passages have you noticed that there are no hard and fast rules for the marriage relationship? Each situation has to be taken to the Lord and be directed by His Word. Have you ordered your marriage by His Word or by your emotions? Are you ready to take a good, hard look? (I still have to even after all these years, every day).

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I would like to thank my fellow consultants for all their assistance in getting this blog published:  Hannah Hall, Michelle Arrington, Ariel Mcgarry, Carol White, J.P.Wilhelm, and Tracy Yoder. Their encouragement and patience have been invaluable to me.

Works Cited:

Barnes, Albert. “Commentary on 1 Peter 3:7”. “Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament”. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-peter-3.html. 1870.

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