There’s Adultery Among Us

Our small group had a discussion about idolatry a while back.

We are studying a great book about Revelation: Discipleship on the Edge by Darrell W. Johnson. Johnson points out how the book of Revelation reflects the Biblical theme that the church is the bride of Christ. Our group discussed Johnson’s point that every time we sin, we commit adultery. We choose the favors of another lover over the beauty of the Lord.

[Note: this is a repost of a previous post with the aim of continuing the discussion on my last post:  The Root of All Evil].

We talked about why Israel (in the Old Testament) continued to turn to other lovers — the Baals, the Ashteroths, the Chemoths.

They turned when times were bad. If God won’t meet our needs, maybe we can persuade (i.e., control) one of these other gods to. For some reason, we can’t get the God of the universe to give us rain when we want it, so let’s try these other gods, see what they can do for us. Maybe they aren’t as unyielding as Jehovah is. Sacrifice enough children and maybe it will rain and we’ll have good crops.

They turned away from God when times were good. Who needs God when things are going well? It must have been our efforts or strength or beauty or talent or money, anyway.

They turned away from God when they couldn’t see Him. He accompanied them through the desert as a pillar of fire by night and of smoke by day. Once in the Promised Land, He spent His time in the Holy of Holies, not visible to the people. They couldn’t see Him, so they created gods they could see.

They turned away from God when they got mixed up with the cultures around them. “Hey, that’s a good idea: let’s do it. They seem to be getting what they want. They seem to have a neat sacrificial system. Let’s do what the neighbors are doing. Let’s worship their gods.”

They turned away from God when they forgot. God often reminded them to remember: “Remember when I took you out of Egypt. Remember when I saved you.” But they forgot that He cared enough to save and had the power to do it.

They turned away from God for the same reasons. He doesn’t deliver what we want, so we turn away in anger. He gives us what we want and we thank ourselves, instead. We can’t see Him, so He doesn’t seem real. We look elsewhere to worship. We convince ourselves that the prevailing culture is wiser than what the Bible has to say.

And we forget. We forget the Cross. We forget that He shed His blood to purchase for Himself a wife. He loves us that much. We somehow get Christ confused with Santa and think He is here to make us happy. He IS here to make us happy, not with the things He gives us, but with Himself.

How thrilled is the wealthy man when he discovers his wife married him for the money, not for himself? How cherished does the beautiful woman feel when she realizes her husband married her for her looks, not for who she is?

We are betrothed to God. And we turn from Him when we are in it for the blessings, not the blessor. When we remember the Cross, we remember the beauty of our husband, the price He paid for us, and we turn from our adulterous ways.

At least that’s the theory.

Oh, Lord. I am a sinner. Help me to see your beauty. Help me to know that You are my true happiness. Give me a broken heart over my many harlotries. Amen.

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5 thoughts on “There’s Adultery Among Us

  1. On praying like an adulteress:

    “If we seek from the world the pleasures we should seek in God, we are unfaithful to our marriage vows. And, what’s worse, when we go to our heavenly Husband and actually pray for the resources with which to commit adultery with the world, it is a very wicked thing. It is as though we would ask our husband for money to hire male prostitutes to provide the pleasure we don’t find in him!”

    -John Piper, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist

    I just came across it and it reminded me of your post!

  2. Though it’s searingly convicting, I love this image. I love the image of Christ the Bridegroom and the Church as His bride. It’s beautiful. It’s eternal. It does two things for me:

    It brings home the weight of sin. Prostituting myself out to all my neighbors while my husband isn’t home would be horrendous. So, too, is every sin I commit against God. There are so many descriptions of Israel displaying her harlotries outdoors with her lovers. When I think about how that would shatter my husband’s heart, it makes me realize how it does shatter my Husband’s heart.

    Further, it reminds me that the covenant marriage relationship is about so much more than our earthly commitment. It’s a deep mystery, as Paul stated, and it is meant to point others to our relationship with Christ. It’s not a contract or agreement to be thrown away when one or both parties becomes “unhappy.” It’s a life-long covenant that reflects the eternity of the Covenant.

    Beautiful, crushing, challenging, inspiring.

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