Numbers 5:11-31 (Part 4) – A Sad Commentary on America: When A Virgin is Considered A Freak

Posted: July 14, 2016 in Book of Numbers
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Numbers 5:11-31 (Part 4)

Protecting Marital Faithfulness

Yesterday, in the league of bloggers that are out there, we occasionally are impressed enough by what one of our fellow bloggers has written that we may hit the button that we like what we have read as a form of encouragement to the blogger. Yesterday, one of the people that follow my blogs is a fellow blogger herself. I happen to read one of her blogs about the struggles of being committed to saving herself sexually for the man whom she will marry. The blog was about the struggles of being single and being a virgin in the 21st century. It is a mighty struggle in this day and age to reserve the sanctity of sex for marriage and marriage only. She wrote the blog after waking up one morning crying her eyes out for the choice she has made but yet wanting to remain committed to it. You could feel her pain with every word that she wrote. I was moved by the raw honesty of her blog so much so that I left her a comment giving her encouragement. I do not know this woman as she desires anonymity by not revealing her name anywhere in her blog, but I do respect that there are actually some people out there that have committed themselves to virginity until they are married. We should be applauding and encouraging them. It is almost unheard of these days, particularly if you are somewhere in your twenties or thirties as I suspect that this woman is. Sure there might be some who are virgins that rush to get married when there are in their late teens or early 20s but being a virgin in your late 20s or into your 30s boggles the modern mind.

 

We have so institutionalized and accepted that sex is no longer just for married people that we are shocked when someone saves themselves for marriage. Having sex outside of wedlock is commonplace. I read somewhere of a survey taken in 2013 that 47% of high school students (typically ages 14-18) are sexually active. And by the time our children reach their senior year in high school, that statistic jumps to 62%. As I sit here on the precipice of becoming a grandparent to my granddaughter who is supposed to make her appearance in this world, if all goes according to the doctor’s projections, on Tuesday of next week, I reflect back on the world that I lived that are completely in contrast to the desires that I have for my granddaughter’s future.

 

I was a statistic. I was sexually active beginning at age 14 with a girl who was 16. This woman, Lisa, would eventually become my first wife and who would bear my two daughters (the oldest of which who is now about to make me a grand!). I was sexually active with several women after that marriage ended but eventually exclusive with the woman who would become my second wife. After that marriage ended, I was sexually active again with multiple partners until I met my third, and now final, wife. We were sexually active before our marriage and we even lived together for six months before we got married. As I have really began maturing in my Christian walk in these last 7 years since Elena and I met some profound people in our lives (Luke and Felisha), I look back on my sexual diary since age 14 and I am ashamed. I used to look at my list of conquests with pride but now it fills me with shame. I do not want to ever be that guy again. That guy who is ruled by sexual identity. That guy who measures his self-worth through sex and access to it. That is not the world that I want for my granddaughter, especially. There have been so many pains and heartaches in my life that I can trace back to being ruled by access to sexual relations. That was the thing that I think I did not learn until the circumstances of my relationship with Elena, my third and final wife. After the first month of deciding to see each other exclusively, my career took me first an hour and half away from her and then across the country from her. With our relationship ending up bi-coastal, sex was generally off the table except when we flew cross country to be with one another. It was a game changer for us. It was a game changer for me. We actually became friends without benefits as we went long stretches without seeing each other. She finally moved to be with me and we co-habitated for six months and then were married. When I look back now on my sexual past, it was sex that ruled my life and led to my first two marriages. Sex was the driving force not the reward. Until recently in the last 7 years, I was the statistic. We, Americans, think of sex as our measuring stick and our definition of happiness. We think of sex as recreation. We think of sex as a party game. To be a virgin today after middle school age, you are considered weird and a freak. To be a virgin to your wedding is wacked out according to modern sensibilities. Do what feels good! The sexual revolution was to free us from the bonds of biblical restriction. Heck, why not make it OK for people of the same sex to be glorified for having sex with each other and make it mainstream too. Right? If it feels good to you then its OK, right? Sex is no longer what God intended it for. It is a game to be played. Scorecards are kept and you get patted on the back for the number of conquests you have. Marriages are thrown away for more enticing sexual partners. Sex drives our society like no other time in history. This is the world I lived but not the world I want for my granddaughter. We have disconnected sex from the beautiful thing that it was intended to be in the marriage bedroom. It is simply a game now. What has it gained us?

 

In an sermon by Robert Rayburn of Faith Presbyterian Church in Tacoma, WA, posted at that church’s  website (www.faithtacoma.org), he laments as follows:

 

What has this disconnection produced in our culture: misery of every kind. There are estimated to be some 65 million people living in America today with a viral STD. One in four American teens will contract an STD in any given year. Billions are spent on the medical treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. Some STDs, as we know, have permanent and incurable effects. More than half of Americans will have an STD at some point in their life. And it is estimated that eventually 80% of American women will have acquired the HPV infection. Some estimates place the number of Americans living with genital herpes at 25%. In the language of Numbers 5 in the NIV, we have become a people with swollen abdomens and wasting thighs. In the member with which we sinned we have received the punishment.

 

Divorce rates are, of course, at unprecedented levels, and the emotional and spiritual harm to children and ruin that they will carry into their adulthood is revealed with dismal regularity as one study after another confirms the obvious: children are not better off when their world is torn apart. Fewer young adults are marrying for fear of repeating their parents’ failure and the pain that went with it. More are co-habiting though the trend is old enough for us to know now as a society that co-habitation is a sure way to guarantee the precise fate one is attempting thereby to avoid: unstable relationships that cause unbearable pain for both the individuals and their children.

 

Man, when you look back at your life in this perspective and not avoiding what the Bible has to say on the subject, I am ashamed. I applaud women such as the blogger I told you about and men out there who are doing the same. They are God’s normal but man’s abnormal. We think of them as weird but they are living the life that God intended. They are above the soup that is our sexual mess that we have brought upon ourselves. The blogger spoke of how some men jettison themselves from her immediately when they find out that she will not have sex with them unless she is married to them. Sure, the blogger has some temporary pains associated with that. But, she may have saved herself greater pain, a lifetime of pain, associated with relationships that are built on sex first and everything else second. I can attest to building relationships on sex first are doomed and will fail. Relationships where friendships develop, love develops, caring develops, forgiveness develops first are the ones that last. Those are the ones that carry us to the finish line. Those are the relationships that God wants us to have. These are the relationships that I want for my granddaughter.

 

These were the things that I thought about today when I read through this passage for the third consecutive day. Let’s re-read it again together here:

 

 

11 Then the Lord said to Moses, 12 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him 13 so that another man has sexual relations with her, and this is hidden from her husband and her impurity is undetected (since there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act), 14 and if feelings of jealousy come over her husband and he suspects his wife and she is impure—or if he is jealous and suspects her even though she is not impure— 15 then he is to take his wife to the priest. He must also take an offering of a tenth of an ephah[a] of barley flour on her behalf. He must not pour olive oil on it or put incense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a reminder-offering to draw attention to wrongdoing.

 

16 “‘The priest shall bring her and have her stand before the Lord. 17 Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water. 18 After the priest has had the woman stand before the Lord, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder-offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse. 19 Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has had sexual relations with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. 20 But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband”— 21 here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the Lord cause you to become a curse[b] among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell. 22 May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.”

 

“‘Then the woman is to say, “Amen. So be it.”

 

23 “‘The priest is to write these curses on a scroll and then wash them off into the bitter water. 24 He shall make the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and this water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering will enter her. 25 The priest is to take from her hands the grain offering for jealousy, wave it before the Lord and bring it to the altar. 26 The priest is then to take a handful of the grain offering as a memorial[c] offering and burn it on the altar; after that, he is to have the woman drink the water. 27 If she has made herself impure and been unfaithful to her husband, this will be the result: When she is made to drink the water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering, it will enter her, her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry, and she will become a curse. 28 If, however, the woman has not made herself impure, but is clean, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children.

 

29 “‘This, then, is the law of jealousy when a woman goes astray and makes herself impure while married to her husband, 30 or when feelings of jealousy come over a man because he suspects his wife. The priest is to have her stand before the Lord and is to apply this entire law to her. 31 The husband will be innocent of any wrongdoing, but the woman will bear the consequences of her sin.’”

 

We live in a world where we are dealing with the curses of our sexual promiscuity. We are living with the results. We are swallowing the bitter water. My life before maturing in Christ is a testament to the destruction and trail of tears caused by sexual promiscuity. I stand ashamed before the throne. I ignored God’s Word for most of my post-pubescent life. God’s restrictions are not meant to hold us back. They are meant to keep us from harm. They are meant to make us more holy. He wants sex to be a gift and a jewel that is sacred and shared in the intimacy of a relationship that was built on friendship and agape love before it is shared. What a different world that would be if we saved sex for the marriage bed? What a different world it would be if we were not so enamored with number of partners we have had in our lifetime and praised those who have saved themselves for that one person and that one person only that God intended for us. What if we waited. What a wonderfully different world that would be! That’s the world I want for my granddaughter! And to the blogger I wrote of, I say hang in there girl, the one that God has intended for you is getting here as fast as he can!

 

Amen and Amen.

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