Read His Words Before Ours!
The email started with a simple question,
“Did you attend Marquette University in the early to mid 80s?”
The name sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place it. Then I realized it was an old flame from college. I wasn’t sure what he wanted, but thought he might be working through a twelve-step program, so I confirmed my identity.
The next email started with compliments and ended with the real question.
“I know you’re married, and so am I, but is it possible for us to talk?”
I’m not going to lie. I was tempted for a moment. But in the end, I responded, “No, it would be disrespectful to both our spouses.” And that was that.
Events easily could have taken a different path.
Because I value my relationship with God, there was no alternate ending.
Exodus 20:14 is a command straight from God,
“Do not commit adultery.”
It’s from a set of ten God gave to the Israelites through Moses. But they weren’t just rules to act like bumpers on a bowling lane. They weren’t meant to be an “am I holy?” checklist.
Because, you see, we cannot keep the commandments.
We’re not righteous enough to live a perfect life.
So why did God give us commandments we are doomed to break, you might ask?
Quite simply, because He loves us.
1 John 4:10 explains, “Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
He wasn’t acting on a mean-spirited desire to set us up for failure. Since Adam and Eve’s first sin, He had been separated from His precious children, and He was heartbroken.
So He planned to sacrifice His very self to give us a way back into relationship with Him . . . but this way back is dependent upon our recognition of our sin, repentance, and embrace of Jesus as our Savior.
By giving us ten commandments simultaneously reflecting His holy character and highlighting our sin,
He was helping us understand our need for a Savior.
Next, let’s explore what God reveals about His character by identifying adultery as a sin.
First, He is faithful.
Avoiding adultery means to remain faithful.
And what is God, if not faithful?
Psalm 136 repeats “His faithful love endures forever” twenty-six times as it recounts God’s wondrous creation and His consistent protection of, and provision for, His people, despite their repeated disobedience, failures, and abandonment of their Creator and Rescuer.
In fact, Judges and 1 and 2 Kings tell a dismal story of the countless times the Israelites disobeyed God or chased other gods. Yet God always saved them, because of His faithfulness and in spite of their unfaithfulness.
Marriage is a covenant promise. By asking us to keep our promise to another human being, God was demonstrating that He is a promise-keeper. (See for yourself! Check out Joshua 21:45, Number 23:19, and Ezekiel 12:28)
God wants the world to know He is a faithful, loving, promise-keeping God; therefore, He instructs us to reflect His character in our relationships by abhorring adultery.
It’s important for believers to adhere to this command,
because if we won’t honor the relationship with our spouse, whom we can see and touch,
how well will we honor our relationships with God, Whom we cannot see or touch?
When we do follow His command, our marriages become a reflection of Who God is and how He wants to love the world. We become a shining light in a world dark with sexual sin and broken promises. Matthew 5:16 says when our light shines, the world sees and gives glory to God. What an honor!
Are you familiar with the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39? She was doing all she could to commit adultery. But Joseph would not oblige her.
In recounting all Potiphar had given him, Joseph asked, “So how could I do this immense evil, and how could I sin against God?”. (Genesis 39:9) Joseph understood that to commit sexual sin was to hurt the heart of God.
And he was right. When we honor God, and express our love for Him by following His commands, our actions speak louder than any words we could say.
So, let’s change our perspective on the commandments as a whole, and the command regarding adultery in particular. Let’s shift our focus from ourselves to leading lives that honor God, in order to share His character, His love, and His sacrifice with the world.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!