God sets down specific laws regarding sexual relationships and marriage. He does NOT want His people following after their neighbor’s examples.
The first thing God addresses is the close family marriages. In the beginning and after the flood there were no other options. EVERYONE was a close family member. But as the earth’s population grew so did the distance between each individual line. When Abraham was called out though those lines became narrowed again. Sari was Abram’s sister. They shared a father. Also Abraham and Isaac both had their sons marry within their close family tree.
Without diversity in the gene pool genetic abnormalities begin to crop up. God protected His chosen line until it was strong enough to require diversity. We are meant to have a family tree not a family walking stick. The diversity is what keeps the tree healthy as well as giving it character.
God called for this diversity within the confines of the Jewish people. Jacob, Leah, Rachel, Bilhah, Zilpah were the basic building blocks of that nation. His twelve sons had at least one wife each from outside the family. This introduced the beginnings of the diversity for this nation. Five hundred years in Egypt finished filling out the family tree. Marrying within their own tribe was not a problem and marrying within the nation posed no threat to a stable gene pool.
The original beginnings broke even more of God’s new laws; especially the one about not marrying sister rival wives. Leah and Rachel were constant rivals for Jacob’s affections. But God hadn’t set down this law yet and Jacob was tricked into this position. I wonder what he would have done if God had put down this law already. Would he have kept only one wife? Would “something” have happened to Leah? Would he have divorced Leah in order to marry Rachel?
As we get further into God’s laws we come up against something that is dividing our world today. It is the issue of “man laying with man as he would woman”; homosexuality. One thing people say to justify their choices is “The heart wants what the heart wants.” And our world today is bent on following its “heart” to meet its OWN desires. Men laying with men, women laying with women, men and women laying with persons of BOTH sexes. These are just the tip of the iceberg in how our world has changed! I could go on forever on the changes people are calling acceptable today.
NO, we are no longer under the Law, but Jesus said He embodied the law. He loved the woman caught in the act of adultery and forgave her. But He also said “Go and sin no more.” He didn’t forgive her to have her return to the same lifestyle she had been living. He also didn’t tell her that what she was doing wasn’t sin. He STILL holds a line against sin, including sexual relations outside of marriage.
I am guilty of sin in this area myself and have brought it to Him. I am grateful for His forgiveness and grace. I’m also VERY grateful for His conviction in my heart to make things right with Him.
So let’s look at “The heart wants what the heart wants” attitudes. First and foremost is that there are two types of hearts. The heart that has Satan for its father and the heart that has been made new and has the Lord for its Father. Both hearts have strong desires. The “unregenerated” heart longs after the things of this world and with pleasing itself. It takes no thought of who it hurts on its way to its own fulfillment. Yes, there are some hearts who are gentler than others but without a NEW heart from Jesus death is all that awaits. At some point the heart following its own desires will run out of ground to walk upon and fall to the earth like Wile E Coyote.
The heart that has been made new still struggles with worldly desires. Make no mistake about it; there are those who turn to God who have followed their heart’s desire that is contrary to God’s ideals. Some may still be walking that road while holding onto the Father’s robes. But it all comes down to “What the heart wants.” Does the heart WANT a relationship with Him ABOVE ALL ELSE? Or does the heart want to keep following after the sinful things in this world?
God allows more latitude in the beginning of our walk than in the later stages. Paul made the analogy of Spiritual milk and Spiritual meat. Also if in doubt, look at Abraham’s life. He made MANY mistakes in his early years with God. Passing his wife off as his sister, not once but twice is a prime example. But as his relationship with His God grew so did his behavior. It began to line up with God’s will. It lined up so perfectly that he was willing to put his only son on the altar and offer him to God BECAUSE GOD ASKED HIM TO. NO other reason. God asked; Abraham obeyed. He TRULY followed his heart. His heart was a heart after God.
So my question is then, what does the heart TRULY want? If it is a child of God, the heart WILL want to follow Him. It may not be easy and it may take a while to turn loose of what the flesh heart wants but it will happen WHEN you surrender to Him. And believe it or not, HE can change the desires of your heart.
Something else that struck me when reading our text today is the response of the “land” to the depravity of the people. It “vomited them up” for their behaviors. Our world seems to be doing that with us. Climate changes, earthquakes, hurricanes, you name it we are experiencing it. We are also experiencing a rise in diseases. Sexually transmitted diseases are taking an enormous toll on our world. The fact that in some countries “sex with a virgin” is touted as a “cure” for Aids is sickening! INFANTS are being raped as a result of this WAY OFF belief. Those that somehow survive such horrors will have to face the possibility of contracting this disease too. WHEN IS OUR WORLD GOING TO VOMIT US UP!? It is WAY past time in my book.
Father God, watching all that is going on in the world today is heart breaking! I wish there was something I could do about it. I wish that sin would get punished RIGHT NOW at times. Or at least when I’m walking the right road. But I KNOW You have a reason for delaying. There is someone somewhere that You are waiting on. You won’t call us until it is time. Help me have patience in the waiting. Help me to also use the time You have given me in service to You.
I’m going to leave ALL the judging in Your hands Father. YOU know where You have drawn the lines. I trust YOUR judgements. For me, I want to love each person regardless of where they are. I want to LOVE them into Your kingdom instead of chasing them with a burning hot poker. Thank You for speaking to my heart on this matter. I pray I shared exactly what YOU would have me to. Nothing more and nothing less.