Thursday, October 15, 2009

God and Sex: Dt 22:13-30

"If any man takes a wife and goes in to her..." (Deuteronomy 22:13)
At various times, both society and the church has looked upon sex as something carnal, dirty, base, and only one step away from sin. At other times, sex has been viewed as something rather casual and almost recreational. However, neither of these views has been God's perspective on sex. God both created and blessed sex. In the very beginning He ordained that couples should be joined together and become one though the act of sex. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." (Genesis 2:24) The Hebrew literally says that the man and wife should "cleave" to one another. Paul further helps us to understand exactly what God meant by this command. "Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, 'The two shall become one flesh.'" (1 Corinthians 6:16) God created, and created us for, sex. However, God has designed that sex should only be enjoyed in the confines of the covenant of marriage. In this passage, God reveals some of His wisdom, design, and purpose for sex. Here are but a few.

Virginity is a gift given only once. "I took this woman, but when I came near her, I did not find her a virgin." (Deuteronomy 22:14) In some part of society today, virginity is seen as something odd and an indication that something might be wrong with someone. We often see in the entertainment media where those who are virgins are mocked and those whom exploit others sexually are venerated, but our virginity is precious to God. God even speaks of "My virgins." (Lamentations 1:18) One of the greatest gifts we can give to each other in marriage is our virginity, but it is a gift that can only be given once. The world may not highly value our virginity, but God does, and He wants us to see it as something precious, something worth keeping, protecting, and saving for the one with whom we will live "till death do us part."

Sex is never casual. "The men of her city shall stone her to death because she has committed an act of folly in Israel by playing the harlot in her father's house." (Deuteronomy 22:21) The Hebrew word for folly means "stupid, vile, foolish, and folly". It speaks of the behavior that does not befit the wise, prudent, and righteous. Sex is serious and important to God. He did not create us to engage casually in sex; partaking in sex with nondescript partners for the mere purpose of satisfying a physical desire or need. To live in such a way is pure folly. Sex is special, and as such, God has committed it to the confines of marriage; to be enjoyed by those who, in a covenant of marriage, are committed to the mutual pleasure and satisfaction of one another.

Sex is exclusive. "If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die." (Deuteronomy 22:22) What makes sex so powerful is, in part, that it is exclusive and is done in secret. Intimacy grows out of shared secrets and one's secret sex life with their spouse is one such shared secret that causes two to become one. When others are let into this secret place, oneness in a marriage is destroyed. That same force that brought oneness will divide when the relationship is no longer exclusive. This is why Paul commands, "Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge." (Hebrews 13:3)

Sex carries responsibility. "Then the man who lay with her shall give to the girl's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall become his wife." (Deuteronomy 22:29) Part of what makes sex so special is the covenant out of which it grows. When sex is motivated by a selfish heart, then it seeks only its own desires and pleasures. Sex becomes something we do for ourselves and not for our partner; it becomes self-serving and degrades our partner to a mere object. However, when sex is the result of each others love for one another, a love that seeks to give and serve the needs and desires of another, then sex becomes a mutual expression of love; something we do for each other. The beauty of sex extends beyond the actual physical act of love, it encompasses all we do and say, and is enhanced by even the smallest acts of kindness shown to one another. Sex blooms out of the care, protection, and provision we demonstrate one to another. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her." (Ephesians 5:25)

David Robison

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