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Avoid Spiritual Adultery, of Being Unfaithful to God

Jeremiah Compares the People’s Relationship with God to a Cheating Spouse

The prophet Jeremiah, along with many other writers in the Bible, accuse God’s people of spiritual adultery. They are unfaithful to their Lord. They cheat on him. They run around with other, lesser gods.

Marital Adultery

Cheating on a spouse is a situation most people readily comprehend, having experienced it, witnessed it in others, or faced that temptation themselves. The result of adultery is a damaged or destroyed marriage, broken hearts, and scars that last a lifetime.

In a marriage relationship, adultery—being unfaithful to your spouse—stands as a critical mistake, a potentially relationship-ruining act of selfishness. The same is true of God when we cheat on him. How our duplicity must break his heart.

Cheating on God

But how, you ask, do we cheat on God? We are unfaithful to our Creator when we put other pursuits before him, when we no longer allow him to be number one in our life.

Though in the Old Testament this means chasing after other gods, that practice isn’t so widespread today—at least not in a literal sense. But we do serve other gods in a figurative manner.

From a spiritual standpoint this is a potentially relationship-ruining act of selfishness.

Spiritual Adultery Examples

These acts of spiritual adultery may take many forms. This includes pursuing pleasure, recreation, and even idleness.

For many there are other gods that exist too. One is materialism: earning more money, buying more things, and accumulating more wealth. This unsatiated desire for more becomes the God that we worship because it displaces our Lord from his rightful place as being number one in our life.

Human relationships—though important—also threaten our right relationship with God. Anything that distracts us from him rages as a temptation to be unfaithful.

These adulterous pursuits disrespect God just as adultery disrespects a person’s spouse.

The Bride of Christ

Metaphorically speaking, as Jesus’s followers, we will collectively become his bride—the bride of Christ. John’s epic vision recorded in the book of Revelation captures this well. In the end of this age we—Jesus’s church—will prepare ourselves for our Savior, made ready and beautifully dressed for our betrothed. (Revelation 19:7 and Revelation 21:2).

Then we will unite with Jesus and live with him forever.

Even more important than being faithful to our spouse is being faithful to God—both now and forever. Click To Tweet

Faithfulness Matters

Even more important than being faithful to our spouse is being faithful to God—both now and forever.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Jeremiah 1-3 and today’s post is on Jeremiah 3:20.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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How to Confront Someone: Lead with a Story

Nathan takes a wise approach when confronting David about his sins

King David, a man after God’s own heart, is far from perfect. After the Bathsheba affair and the subsequent murder of her husband at the hand of scheming David, God wants to deal with David and restore him to right relationship. This story provides an example of how to confront someone.

The Prophet Nathan Confronts David

God sends his prophet Nathan to confront David. This is not an assignment I would want: to go tell the king, who as the power to summarily kill me, that he’s a filthy sinner.

Nathan could have marched up to David’s throne, pointed an accusatory finger, and yelled, “You’re a sinner, and you’re going to hell.” I don’t think this would have gone over well.

Instead Nathan takes an indirect approach. He tells David a story. If this tactic sounds familiar, Jesus does the same thing, teaching the people through parables, which give folks an identifiable tale with an underlying spiritual truth.

Nathan’s story begins with “There were two men…” One is rich and one is poor. One is greedy and one is righteous. The greedy one steels from the poor one and…

King David Responds

King David can’t contain himself. He pronounces judgement, void of mercy, on the wealthy, greedy man.

Then Nathan drives his point to the heart of David. “You are that man.”

David feels conviction. He simply says, “I have sinned.”

His road to restoration begins. But David’s repentance doesn’t absolve him of the consequences. He will still face punishment. Though God is merciful, he is also just. The two go together. 

Though God is merciful, he is also just. Ask King David. Click To Tweet

Though the child of his adultery dies, David and Bathsheba later have another son. His name is Solomon and he succeeds David as king.

I wonder how events might have unfolded had Nathan not began his meeting with David by sharing a story.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is 2 Samuel 10-12, and today’s post is on 2 Samuel 12:1-8, 11-12.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Beware the Adulteress

The book of Proverbs contains the majority of the Bible’s mentions of the word “adulteress” (seven times in Proverbs compared to five times in the rest of the Bible).

It refers to a woman who commits adultery, that is, she has sex with someone other than her husband. In today’s language, that is referred to as “cheating.”

Solomon warns his son—and all men—to stay away from the adulteress.

The Law of Moses notes that both the adulterer (the male participant) and the adulteress (the female participant) should be put to death (Leviticus 20:10). That is how serious God views the breaking of marriage vows.

Although the majority of modern society takes a much more casual perspective on lifelong monogamy, God’s staunch opposition to adultery hasn’t changed. Fortunately, his response has.

In the Old Testament (as mentioned above), the prescribed response to adultery is judgment. However, in the New Testament, Jesus—God’s son—demonstrates a kinder, gentler response: mercy (John 8:1-11).

However, remember that even though Jesus will give both the adulterer and adulteress mercy and forgiveness, the offended spouse may not likely be so understanding.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Leviticus 19-21, and today’s post is on Leviticus 20:10.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Recurring Words from Proverbs

There are several words that appear with disproportionate frequency in the book of Proverbs—and with minimal representation in the rest of the Bible. They are:

  • Sluggard occurs 14 times in Proverbs and nowhere else in the Bible.
  • Prudent occurs 10 times in Proverbs and only twice elsewhere.
  • Simple is found 14 times in Proverbs and only six other times in the entire Bible.
  • Folly occurs 23 times in Proverbs and 16 times in the rest of the Bible.
  • Quarrelsome occurs 6 times in Proverbs and only one other time in the rest of the Bible.
  • Adulteress is mentioned 7 times in Proverbs and only 5 times elsewhere in the Bible.

Plus, there are some additional words that appear with surprising regularity in Proverbs:

  • Wisdom occurs 54 times in proverbs.
  • Path and paths are mentioned 29 times in Proverbs.

In upcoming posts, we will look at each of these words.

[The 1984 NIV version of the Bible was used in determining the number of occurrences.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.