[forthright] The Devastation of Adultery (2)

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2007 14:07:08 -0300
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross



COLUMN: Square One

The Devastation of Adultery (2)
by Richard Mansel

NOTE: Read the first segment of this article here:
http://www.forthright.net/square_one/the_devastation_of_adultery_1_1.html

Adultery is dangerous because it destroys lives.
It is an aggressively selfish act that cares
nothing for anyone else. Prince Charles said, "Do
you seriously expect me to be the first Prince of
Wales in history not to have a mistress?"/1

Pleasure is adultery's goal, certainly not
commitment and responsibility. Someone has said
that "No adultery is bloodless."/2 It always
brings terrible scars. But, adulterers think the
reward negates the risk.

Scripture uses adultery to refer to the physical,
sexual act and also to spiritual adultery.
Interestingly, the Old Testament has many
instances of adultery being used in a sexual
context to refer to spiritual adultery. Thus,
adultery as a sexual term is reinforced.

In Jeremiah, we read of Israel being unfaithful to
God. They went up on "every high mountain and
under every green tree, and there played the
harlot" (Jeremiah 3:6, NKJV). By bowing to idols
they had, "committed adultery with stones and
trees" (Jeremiah 3:9). Their adultery is portrayed
as "assembl[ing] themselves by troops in the
harlots' houses. They were like well-fed lusty
stallions; [e]veryone neighed after his neighbor's
wife" (Jeremiah 5:7-8).

Here in these passages, God is portraying himself
as a betrayed spouse (Jeremiah 3:1-2). He says
that Israel and Judah had "dealt very
treacherously" with Him (Jeremiah 5:11). He asks,
"And shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as
this?" (Jeremiah 5:9).

The question begs to be asked, "If the sexual
nature of adultery must be removed from the
figurative nature of spiritual adultery then why
the persistent use of the image of harlotry?" Keil
and Delitzsch call their actions "spiritual
whoredom."

God's rage is poured out over his people's
participation in the idolatry of the Canaanite
nation. The King James Version says in Ezekiel
16:25 says, "thou hast built thy high place at
every head of the way, and has made thy beauty to
be abhorred, and hast opened thy feet to every one
that passed by, and multiplied your whoredoms."
Then the prophet ties harlotry to adultery in a
most expressive manner in 16:31-34.

Hosea, who at God's behest, married a harlot,
wrote of God's unfaithful people. "Let her put
away her harlotries from her sight, and her
adulteries from between her breasts" (2:2).

God is using a concept we understand to portray
the pain he feels when his disciples are
unfaithful to him. His heart is broken, just as we
are when our spouse opens their body to another.

One man describes his infidelity as a plane crash.
Reading his words, we can imagine them about a
destroyed marriage or a ravaged Christian life.
Both bring devastation. He writes,

   "The carcass of the plane lay strewn
   across the ground, gnarled sections spread
   around like a jigsaw puzzle. This scene
   played through my mind as I thought about
   the destruction that I had perpetrated
   upon my own family by my unfaithfulness. I
   tried to imagine the daunting task of
   putting the pieces of my marriage back
   together in the wake of the affair. Like
   the shattered plane, some pieces have been
   put back into place. However, sin comes
   with a price, and our marriage is forever
   changed."/3

Possibly, like Humpty Dumpty, the pieces cannot be
put together again. The wreckage is too mangled.
Yet, forgiveness is a powerful thing, if the
innocent chooses to use it (Matthew 19:9).

Next, we shall examine what we can do to prevent
spiritual and physical adultery.

1/ http://www.worldofquotes.com/search.php
2/ Ibid.
3/ http://www.pbcc.org/sermons/bucko/1484.html
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