This is the last of the Ten Commandments fleshed out. God has already expounded on the other nine. Now “Thou shalt not commit adultery” takes center stage.
This is not the first time God has addressed sexual laws in our reading. Chapter 18 of this book is filled with such laws. But here God deals with the consequences for such behavior. God’s in-depth discussion of the other nine commandments is sandwiched in between His address of sexual sins.
Paul tells us that sexual sin is the only sin that is NOT outside the body. Our bodies are the very instrument of this sin. Maybe that is why God addresses it twice in such detail.
In the majority of the examples God gives, the punishment for both parties is to be put to death. Having relations with a mother and her daughter carries a special penalty of being burned by fire. God wants NO sexual sin among His people.
God’s stand against sexual sin doesn’t soften but His punishment does later on. I was trying to discern a pattern as to why the consequences were less severe but I can’t find one. For relations with a half-sister and a woman during her cycle the punishment is being cut off from their people. Is this first one because Abraham and Sarah were half siblings?
The final punishment given by God is for relations with and uncle’s wife or a brother’s wife. Both these sins result in the couple being childless. I’m curious about the last example. I’m assuming that the brother is still living, as with Herod and Herodias. In other places in the bible the wife of a deceased brother who had no children is to be given to the surviving brother to raise up a child in the first brother’s name.
Our world today is rife with sexual sin! There is not a corner of the globe it does not touch in some form. And in today’s culture MANY of those sins are now termed “alternative lifestyle” and deemed acceptable. I know we are no longer under the law but what does God say about those sins today? I do NOT believe He is on board with our world’s views.
Something that came to my mind when considering this was when the Pharisees asked Jesus about divorce. They asked if divorce was acceptable under certain circumstances. Jesus said that God NEVER intended divorce. That when two people were joined God viewed it as a permanent union, but because of the people’s hearts He put provisions into law for those eventualities. Man perverted what God created.
I believe this is why He made sexual laws. When God created man and woman, He created them from one being with the expectation that they would come together and complete one another. This was through sexual intimacy. It was a beautiful thing He made. But with sin, even that beauty was perverted. He put limitations on sexual relations in order to keep it as close to the original as possible. Instead of the completing of one another in the singular unions God intended, competition and corruption have replaced His design. I would ALMOST go so far as to say that NO ONE in this present world is free of sexual sin in their lives at some point or another. That includes lusting after another person, which Jesus said was the same as committing the act of sexual relations itself.
THANK GOD He made a way for forgiveness for us, even in this area! But I believe that forgiveness also includes turning away from that sin and in many cases that is more than we are willing to do. So what does that mean for our world? It puts it squarely in the “dead because of it” or “cut off because of it” categories. NEITHER place we want to occupy!
Father God, THANK YOU for forgiving me for my sexual sins and for helping me stand up and stop those sins. You worked on both my heart and my husband’s hearts before we married on this issue. Thank You for speaking to him on my behalf so that when I did confront my sin he was ready to confront and correct ours together.
For my oldest son, I have nowhere to turn to except to You to confront him on his issues. I know his lifestyle doesn’t line up with Your word. I know he is running from You and Your truth too. I, once again, place him in Your capable hands. I love him no matter what but my GREATEST desire for him is to return to You in full and to bring his children with him. You know this already. I look forward to the day they all turn to You.
For my other children too Lord, bring them back into Your arms! Remind them of Your love for them. I WANT to say “Do whatever it takes” but I’m afraid of what that will look like. Help me to know when to step back and let Your lessons work and when to be the mother that helps with all the hurts. Have Your way in ALL our lives.