Culture and GodI shared the concern many of you mentioned about the treatment of women with my wife and Becky (part of our church planting team lives with us while they look for work and a house of their own). They expressed no great consternation. Both of them replied similarly: “I’ve always seen that as the culture of the day.” Jenn went further to point out that it wasn’t till Exodus that God started laying down societal laws, several of which are intended to protect women.
My thoughts (for what it’s worth): God meets us where we’re at. He deals with us on our level and slowly, oh so patiently draws us closer to Him. Had He spoken to Sarai, and told her to leave her family, take Abram with her etc., given the culture it is entirely probable that no one would have listened to her (at best). I’m not going to excuse Abram’s actions, or those of his son, repeating the mistakes of the father.
With the patriarchs, we see God creating a people group. There are few commands. God deals with them slowly. I think of it like the initial moves of a master chess player. God is setting things in motion, but it’s hard to see what His strategy is. In Exodus, we will see Him begin to form a Nation. Now He will create laws of holiness. Now we learn the enormity of sin and that everything (our interaction with man, the earth and God) is intertwined.
Yea, the Patriarch weren’t what we’d consider model fathers and husbands. As several have pointed out, God still used them. That has more to say, I think, about God’s grace and redemptive work than about any persons “goodness.”